Friday, 25 September 2009

The Hydrant hands-free water bottle

I know, I know, it's not very funky - but it is very functional ! And this is designed to be useful, not pretty.

As a breastfeeding mum, I found it really useful. You know those pictures they show you in the adverts, of a mummy snuggling her breastfeeding baby and smiling placidly down at him/her in an oasis of calm and contentment ? Well, snap back to reality and most of the time, I come racing in from the school run or the shops with hungry baby Pierre starting to cry, 4-year-old Juliette saying she's tired and thirsty and can she watch her DVD please Mummy ?, 8-year-old Sophie asking if I can check her homework before she goes out to play with her new Heely's and the phone ringing !!! And yes, I manage to deal with all of that simultaneously because mums are the masters (or should that be mistresses ?) of multitasking !!! ... but when I finally settle down and Pierre is feeding quietly, I suddenly realise how thirsty I am. Breastfeeding is really thirsty work, all that liquid has to come from somewhere !!

I even thought about getting one of those novelty baseball caps, with the beer cans on each side and a tube going down to your mouth, so that I wouldn't have to keep asking random members of the family to bring me a drink (and it's funny how everyone suddenly goes deaf at those particular moments !!) Well, the Hydrant is basically a sensible version of my wacky idea !

Designed principally for use by the elderly or the bed-bound, it clips easily on to hospital beds, but you can also clip it anywhere else you want, it works just as well around the home. The basic Hydrant contains 1 litre which is plenty to keep you going, even on the hottest days, and it's a bit like a human-sized water-bottle that you'd put in a rabbit's cage - you only need to change the water once a day and you'll have it at hand whenever you need it.

I'm being very flippant in this review but for the disabled or for people with reduced mobility, this could be a seriously useful piece of equipment. I remember a few years ago, dozens of elderly people in France died during a heatwave due to dehydration and something as simple as this bottle could probably have saved their lives. No need to get up to get a drink, no need to fumble with tricky bottle tops or manipulate glasses with shaky hands. The tube has a bite-valve on the end so it automatically seals after use and if it is placed above head height, the siphon action will make for easy drinking with no sucking required.

There are also smaller "Sports Hydrants" containing 500ml or 750ml that are great for when you're out and about. They are brilliant for clipping on to a pram and are a fabulous way of avoiding the leakages or spills that are invariably associated with toddlers wanting mid-walk drinks from juice cartons or classic sports bottles. For the athletic types, you can clip it to your bike handlebars or even to your clothes, with the clothes clip available in the online shop.

To really break into the home/leisure sector, I think the bottle will need a makeover because it does look like a piece of medical equipment that you probably stole from hospital !! But the Sports Hydrant doesn't look at all out of place in a non-medical situation. I might even sew a funky cloth cover for mine, to jazz it up a bit !

It's a very simple solution to what could be a seriously dangerous issue for some people. I really wish I'd had one during my hospital stay after the birth but even at home, it's very handy. For children who like to take a drink to bed with them, it's also a great way of avoiding knocked over glasses (but don't fill it up entirely or you'll end up with a bedwetting incident in the middle of the night for sure !!)

Available online at

Priced £12.95 for the Hydrant and £5.99 or £6.49 for the Sports Hydrants

star rating : 4/5

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