Insulated alligator clips make better bib clips

Amazon: SE Clip Test Lead Set (10 Piece) ACM's hackerish Radio Shack solution to the problem of expensive, low-quality bib clips:

Our 3-year-old is getting too long in the torso for our previously great bib at home (once it drags through the food, it becomes a hazard in itself!). I liked the notion of a bib clip, which theoretically converts any dish towel or restaurant napkin into a bib, however, a quick look at Amazon ratings tells you that most of the brands out there are cheap pieces of crap, and one hates to spend $10-15 on something that won't hold up or that barely works.

So, the hack: get a set of basic alligator-clip cables (12-18 inches) from the hardware store. They're a fraction of the price (here 10 for under $5) and so it's easy to have a few in likely locations — bag, kitchen, Grandma's.  if length is an issue, a bulldog clip or even a paper clip is fine for sizing. Voila!

Oh, yeah! One thing to note: that insulation looks pretty fun to chew. I'd therefore use this hack with older kids only.

Related: Use sheet holder "suspenders" as makeshift bib clips


  1. Becky C. says

    I don’t think I’d recommend this at all – typically the plastic coating on the wire is known to contain lead, which doesn’t really go with mealtime.

  2. sue says

    Like Becky C. – I too would not use these – many contain lead and other harmful substances that aren’t required to be listed on the product.

  3. says

    First, I put the kids in front of the TV. Nothing else keeps them in one spot like the television.

    Next, I turn on every room light. Once all the lights are on, I do a thorough room-by-room search for a stuff.

    When a room is clear, I turn out the light and close the door.

    Once all the lights are out and doors are closed, I know I’ve hit every space. Now, if something doesn’t make it home with us, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

    If your kids are old enough, I would add a step before the room-by-room inspection: have them pack their suitcases, or at least gather their stuff into a single corner. My motto: “always better when several brains work on a problem.”

    Do you have a system for packing up at the end of a vacation?

  4. Tammy Welch says

    We use dental bib clips and paper dental napkins as bibs (We call them shirt protectors) for our three messy boys. (Ages 7, 9, and 11) Their shirts stay clean and well protected during meals. I take the clips with us to restaurants as well. You can purchase the dental bibs on-line for a very reasonable cost. Much cheaper than replacing shirts or expensive dry cleaning. One spaghetti dinner more than justifies any cost involved.

  5. MarkW says

    We have our boys use bib clips during most meals. We simply attach the bib clps to a large paper napkin and secure them around their necks so that the paper napkin covers them from collar to waist. I was tired of my wife complaining about the clothing stains on their shirts, not to mention the cost to replace ruined shirts from ketchup, mustard, spaghetti sauce, bbq sauce. A definite money saving idea and the boys don’t have to worry about their mom yelling at them about their stained shirts. My wife keeps several sets of bib clips in her purse, so we always have them for use in restaurants as well. I got the idea during a recent trip to the dentist and I even had our family dentist order the bib clips for us.