One-Way Nasal Aspirator

Safety 1st

Often, a difficult situation is the most ripe for innovation. Nasal aspirators are both widely used (many hospitals send them home with new parents as essential baby-care items) and extremely unpopular. Not only is the task itself unpleasant, but parents find typical aspirators hard to use and difficult to clean. Previous offerings from Safety 1st were plagued with bad reviews due to a non-intuitive design: parents were squeezing the bulb incorrectly, but didn’t realize it, causing malfunction. When Safety 1st wanted to refresh their line of infant health products, they looked to PI to uncover the roots of their customer’s frustrations and propose a solution that would satisfy parent’s needs and re-establish Safety 1st as a market leader.

PI conducted a detailed market evaluation along with user surveys and interviews to establish a feature hierarchy and gain an understanding of where existing products had fallen short. Through this research a key insight emerged; having to remove the aspirator from the child’s nose to reset the suction made dealing with a sick and squirming child all the more difficult.

The PI team devised a unique solution that utilizes valves to create a one-way flow of air. This innovation allows parents to leave the aspirator in place while continuously applying gentle pulses of suction until the child’s airway is clear. Eliminating repeated cycles of “remove-squeeze-insert” makes the job go much faster, benefiting both child and parent.

The form of the One-Way Aspirator is driven by an understanding of the ergonomic needs of both parent and child. The off-center tip makes it easier to position the aspirator close to the child’s face, while the over-molded finger recesses provide visual and tactile feedback reinforcing a proper grip and intuitive actuation of the bulb. The shallow ovoid shape fits comfortably in the hand and helps prevent the flexible bulb from sticking or inverting when pressed, a common problem with other bulb aspirators. All parts disassemble easily for thorough cleaning.

Launched in late 2012, the One-Way Nasal Aspirator is part of the Advanced Solutions family of infant health products developed by PI for Safety 1st. PI’s experience in medical device design was leveraged in developing the brand language for the Advanced Solutions line, which features geometric forms, high-contrast touch points, and a clean, professional aesthetic. PI’s involvement in developing the Advanced Solutions program allowed Safety 1st to successfully meet their goals to develop meaningful innovation that addresses consumer needs, add delight in the experience of even mundane tasks, and secure valuable intellectual property for the business.  The One-Way Nasal Aspirator was recognized with a 2014 Silver A’ Design Award.