Some people wrestle alligators; others, bears. But for moms or dads who have changed a diaper on a smiling, squirming bundle of joy; bring on the alligator.
Former Berwyn resident Dana Fort may have answered the prayer of many diaper changers by coming up with a solution: the Poopoose.
Potty humor aside, Fort’s invention has more to do with safety than making it easier to change a diaper.
Fort, who has a dental practice in Hinsdale, was dressed for work and changing her six-month-old daughter before heading for the office one day.
“I had a real problem changing her diaper. She would squirm on the changing table and nothing seemed to work,” Fort said. “One day, she almost fell off the changing table, and I got covered in poo.”
She called her husband, Brian, an emergency room physician at Christ Hospital, and told him the story. Working in an emergency room, Brian Fort has seen injuries involving infants who have suffered a fall. The Fort’s agreed there had to be an easier and safer way.
“I tried Googling to see what I could do to make it safer,” Dana Fort said.
Dana Fort found the seed to an idea in a device in the medical field called a papoose board, which temporarily secures a patient and limits freedom of movement during a medical procedure. Using the idea, Fort created a prototype from the baby’s changing pad.
On the Poopoose website, the board is described as, “a firm foam insert surrounded by soft foam [that] provides gentle support for baby. Soft and adjustable swaddle straps securely hold baby to the firm insert and keep baby from squirming, rolling over, and falling off the changing table.”
Dana Fort showed her idea to her aunt, Nada, and uncle, Peter Bradbury. Both work for A.C. Nielsen, a market research firm.
“They said they thought I had a real good idea,” Dana Fort said. “But first it had to have a name. I was joking with my husband: ‘We should call it a Poopoose.’”
They patented Poopoose and found a Chicago manufacturer who saw the potential.
Dana Fort said 15 Poopooses have been pre-ordered, and the couple has ordered another 250 from the manufacturer.
Dana Fort said they hope to expand the line by offering covers for the Poopoose with various patterns.
On July 1, buyers can pick it up on Amazon, and two stores will carry it: Crib to College in Naperville and Fly Right Gifts Inc. in Berwyn. The cost is $49.99.
Laurie Richter, owner of Fly Right Gifts Inc., said she is waiting for her first order of the Poopoose.
“I’ve been telling people about it and it seems like this is going to revolutionize the changing of a squirming baby’s diaper,” Richter said.
Dana Fort, a customer of the store, approached Richter about carrying the item.
“It’s locally made, designed,” Richter said. “[Dana Fort] knows I like promoting local artists and businesses.”
Dana Fort said there has been positive response from those who have seen her design, and she’s excited that American Baby Magazine plans a feature on the Poopoose in a future issue.
“If it helps a busy mom and dad and makes their lives easier and their kids safer, then I’m happy,” she said.