Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Please bubble wrap your baby at the door

Usually I start thinking about my possible blog entry around 4 p.m. At that point, the day is winding down and we're approaching dinner and the witching hour, so odds are anything that anyone is going to want to read about will have already happened, if it's going to at all. Today, I wasn't sure I'd have an entry, but then I remembered that the newest catalog from ParanoidMommy had come in the mail and I knew I was set.

Any parent out there knows ParanoidMommy (not the company's real name, of course). It has a web presence, and a retail presence at Babies R Us, and a catalog that comes out at least once a season, chock full of various safety and preventative devices you'd never know you needed if not for these good people, who are proud to tell you just how you're putting your child at risk each and every day. Right on the first page is a wood sling chair that they proudly announce "doesn't fold!" to prevent pinched fingers. Way to make storing that for the other nine months of the year a real bitch, ParanoidMommy. The chair? Is not for babies. It's for kids age three and up. My four year old can sit in a chair and not injure herself. "Hey kid. Don't put your hand there. It will hurt and you'll cry." She believes me about this. And then I can put it in the shed all folded up like a normal person in the fall.

Some of the stuff they carry is good. They've got a great line of swim suits, and I can't argue with them about the importance of SPF. There are braces for tall dresses and book cases, and you know what? That just makes good sense.

Other things, not so much. For instance, page 17 has this little plastic folding seat called a "fold up germ protector" that you're meant to put on a public toilet seat so Junior doesn't catch The Herp or whatever. Unlike the chair, this little device "folds for storage." Wow, so I can fold up some extra e. coli and stick that right in my diaper bag? Purse? When I was a kid, you put toilet paper on the seat, or you hovered, or, if you were really little, your mom held your naked butt about two inches off the seat (cause any kid can pee mid-air). Then, probably when I was in high school, they discovered that, in the realm of public bathrooms, the toilet seat is really the least of your worries germ-wise. But just in case you don't believe that, you can shell out $10 for your own fold-n-go pee shield and cart those bad boys around all day.

There are other gems in there. How about a plastic shield that goes around your kid's thumb so he stops sucking it? The ad doesn't say whether that's from the shield or the shame of walking around with a big plastic thing banded onto your hand for three weeks or until you hate the sight of your own digits. There is the "timeless teether" - $12.99 gets you two washcloths with knots in the ends. "Just wet and chill!" You want me to spend $6.50 on a washcloth? Thanks, I got stuff here I can throw in the sink and then the freezer. Like some of those 50 cent deals from Target.

But the worst, absolutely the worst, is something ParanoidMommy has been selling for years. I want to meet the parents who buy this item because I've never met anyone who has, but someone must be. For $50 (not a typo) you can buy your crawler/early walked a padded foam helmet to help prevent bumps.

A helmet. A voluntary helmet that serves no medical purpose. For your infant to 20-month-old. And now it has a little brim, so it's "sporty." It's not sporty. And no kid in the world with two hands and any amount of motor skill is going to keep that on for more than 10 seconds.

Maybe there are tons of kids getting seriously injured while crawling. But I'm failing to see how. They're just not that far from the floor. They tip, they fall pretty slowly, they bonk, they fuss, they do it again. But just in case that's not enough, you can go online and get accompanying knee and elbow pads to further protect your fragile child. (Yes, I know there are some kids who need helmets and such for other medical issues, but this is being specifically marketed as walking and crawling "protection.")

Maybe I'm missing something. I do know any tears my child might shed over a fall is nothing compared to the screaming I'd endure if I tried to keep them in elbow and knee pads, let alone a helmet. Lily's not eight months old and she won't keep a regular hat on. And I look at the present generation of parents and we seem, by and large, like intelligent (if willing to buy into the helicopter mom hysteria) individuals. We weren't damaged by crawl-falls. How did any of us survive the 70s and 80s without helmets?

Well, forget it. No kid of mine is going in a helmet that isn't medically indicated.

Besides, we've got that base covered already.

Let the games begin!

1 comment:

  1. so funny!! I just recieved my "paranoid Mommy" catalog last week, so this gave me some good chuckles :).