Norfolk mum’s invention aims to save parents’ time

A Coltishall mum has won thousands of pounds thanks to her idea for a handy invention to keep babies germ-free in their buggies.

Lauren Smith, who has two young daughters, Emily and Kaitlyn, collected �2,000 for her Babybug harness protectors which received the Hotmail Ultimate Timesaver Competition people's choice award. The idea for the protectors is to save parents time cleaning and disinfecting a baby harness while helping protect the shoulders and chest of a baby when in a car seat or buggy.

The 22-year-old, of Ormesby Road, RAF Coltishall, said: 'I am delighted. It is 95pc of the money I need to get my Babybug business to the next level. I am hoping the money will help get all the professional development done, including getting my product patented. The next step is to try to get some more investment so I can launch the harness protectors in the middle of July.'

The Hotmail Timesaver Competition was launched to get people across Britain thinking about the ultimate time-saving device. Applicants submitted their ideas in design form on Facebook where the public could vote for which invention they felt would be the most useful.

Ideas submitted to the competition included a walk-in sun booth, a pet grooming station and The Instant Face On, which allows girls to apply their make-up in one go by smoothing a specially designed make-up sheet on their face. But with 1,165 Facebook votes the Babybug emerged as the resounding winner, beating the competition by 300 votes.

Mrs Smith, who was a care coordinator before taking maternity leave, continued: 'The idea came from spending yet another evening desperately trying to scrub blended up carrots out of my child's light blue highchair straps. Whilst you can get the food out, the stains are there forever. It was a light bulb moment – I just said to my other half 'there really should be a cover for this' and I just built it from there.'

Do you have a story about a Norwich inventor? If so, contact reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772439.