Local father and daughter develop safety products for children

By Lori Overmyer

Natalie Guenin Unger saw a need, determined a solution, and, working with her father, Mark Guenin, created 2B Shields to revolutionize a child’s travel experience giving children more protection and comfort.

In other words, Unger and Guenin have developed a product that keeps young children safer, physically and emotionally, and provides instant information to emergency providers in a crash situation.

Creating the shields began when Unger noticed the bulky car seat clasp in all the photos of her children, James and Cale, and she was concerned about keeping their clothes neat as they traveled; however, what she ended up creating is much more than a convenience item.

The shields are especially important for children with sensory or medical issues.

A mother of three, Kaitlyn Moss said, “A feature it has is this detachable plush toy on the front. They can play with it in the car. So, if you have a kid with sensory issues, which I do, the feature is huge.”

Sarah McClary, Board Certified Behavior Analyst with Hope Bridge in Fort Wayne, said, “The 2B Car Seat Shield is a great product that has multiple benefits for the special needs community. With a design that maximizes both safety and comfort while providing uncompromising functionality for any family with children whether they be neurotypical or on the spectrum.”

Guenin added that the 2B Shields help kids with acid reflux, epilepsy, and anxiety while traveling.

Another important tool is the provision of medical information to First Responders. Parents are able to put all information pertaining to their child on the back of the shield such as allergies and medications as well as the child’s name and other emergency contacts if the parent is incapacitated.

Wabash County Sheriff Ryan Baker said, “It would be beneficial to have emergency information when we respond to accidents. 2B Shields are a great resource for that information.

Ryan Leslie, a West Coast Fire Fighter said 2B Shields are a great product that could in an emergency situation make a huge difference for your child’s well-being. When you see the 2B logo, you know the info is there.” 

Unger approached her father with her idea for the shields, and together they developed this important product.
Guenin is quick to point out, “It was her idea.”

Together the father-daughter team began the journey of creating, testing, patenting, and marketing a new product. It was a long trip.

The patent process began with a trip to a patent attorney in Valparaiso, with the official application filed in May 2016. The process came full circle a year ago when the patent license was sent to Unger and Guenin.

It was important to Unger and Guenin to have a product that meets the Child Product Safety Standards as outlined in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. But the 2B Shields are so much more. The shields are lead free, don’t wrap around a child’s neck, have a removeable plush toy with each shield, there is a pocket for snacks, and the stitching is tight.

The name of the product reflects many aspects of Unger and Guenin’s goals for the shields. The 2 represents Unger’s two boys.

Guenin pointed out that the 2B part is good for marketing because it can be used to represent 2B snuggled, loved, safe, and snug.

Unger added, “The shields are like a weighted blanket for comfort as kids travel.”

Two additional benefits of the product are that they help set a routine as parents put their children in cars. Kids learn to be snug, clasped, and ready at the armpit. The shields also force the clasp on the carseat to be placed correctly. There’s no wiggle room.

Unger said, “I wanted it to be good for kids as a stakeholder in the process of getting ready for a road trip. I also wanted kids to be involved with the choice of the shields, so we offer a variety of themes.”

Themes for the shields are Flutter the Butterfly, Snap the Football, Sparkle the Unicorn, and Striker the Soccer Ball.

Guenin said he’d like to get sports teams behind the idea of putting their teams on the shields. “They could be part of the story.”

Unger and Guenin meet weekly to plan for the future and iron out any concerns.

“Being able to do this alongside my dad and my boys seeing the setbacks and hard work make this special,” Unger said.
Guenin added, “It takes confidence to put yourself out there. You have to be willing to accept rejections and setbacks.”

For Unger, 2B Shields is more than a product. “I want to be part of the solution when it comes to meeting the emotional/medical needs of a child during a crisis. I want to see our 2B sun logo nationwide because it is a symbol of love, comfort, aid and joy.”

Two B Shields can be purchased at the Wabash County Museum, C&J Raxx, Amazon, and the 2B Shields website

Posted on 2020 Nov 17