It does surprise me though that there are so many areas in life where an app would be incredibly useful. But, one doesn't exist. Wowmum fills one of these holes. One of those enormous, honking great holes.
Wowmum is a handy map app for iPhones and Android phones that will show you all the baby and child friendly places in your area divided into three sections Eat, Play and Pamper.
Now that I've described this to you I bet you're thinking just what I thought - why on earth did no-one do this before? It seems so obvious. So indispensable to every busy mum's life that we had to get hold of the app (which is free) and try it out for ourselves.
Read on to find out more.
So far there are 12,000 WOWspots located across the UK. The app uses a range of easy to understand icons so parents can search efficiently and quickly for must-find facilities. Check for highchair availability, children’s menu, bottle warming facilities and lots more. It’s interactive too because if you discover a family friendly gem the app allows you to ‘add a WowSpot’, as well as share reviews and ratings.
While 12,000 sounds a lot, when you consider how bit the UK is this is just a very tiny drop in the bucket. It is worth remembering that this is a free app that can only work if all the users join in and add their own spots, and information.
So, a search on the area around my house totally missed three nearby playgrounds, and failed to tell me about the One O'Clock clubs. Nor are Children's Centre's listed.
I wanted to use it on a trip to Norwich, but this city (although sizable) doesn't seem to have been looked at yet. Unless it is particularly unfriendly to babies!
This will come in time though, and if everyone adds their own stuff to the app, it will vastly improve. In the meantime, it is well laid out, and very easy to use.
The icons are self explanatory, and make it easy to see at a glance the information you need. Plus, there are pull down menus showing you the same details in list format, and you can click on an option to see more about a venue.
Sometimes the icons can be too simplistic. For instance, the information for Dulwich Park indicates 'water play', which might make you think there is a paddling pool or similar there. It is in fact a boating lake, not so suitable for babies and toddlers. However, the comments and reviews sections should help here, as more people start to use it.
Another major plus is the way it works very much like Google Maps, so you really do feel instantly at home with the app.
I was able to find my way around, and look up all the features, without once having to look for a help file. As someone who hates having to learn new technology this was a major plus.
Pros: an emergency need to change baby now button! Plus, clear and easy to understand labels, good use of maps, it is free!
Cons: need more users to update the maps but hey, it is early days yet!
Overall verdict: 10/10