Pointless Baby Products

The baby supply market has many totally pointless products. Here are some key ones:

Big honkin’ strollers: too much. We have one of those stroller systems where your kid’s car seat can snap into a monstrous SUV stroller. You can also put the kid directly into the stroller. The car seat feature is useful, but the monstrous features add so much bulk that it takes up most of the trunk of our car. We rarely use all its features. It sure would be nice to have a smaller unit. Maybe we could do without both cup holders!

Diaper wipe warmers: waste of electricity. My wife may disagree with me on this one, but I think they are pointless. In the winter the wipe gets cold by the time you get it on baby’s “cute widdle hiney.” But what’s the point of warming the wipes in the first place? Room temperature is too harsh for 21st century babies? I’ve read claims that some babies get upset with room temperature wipes. Maybe the baby would be used to room temperature wipes if Mommy and Daddy used them from the beginning. My kid gets heated wipes at home (yeah, I admit it), but he never screams when we use room temperature wipes on the road.

Bottle warmers: why? Get the baby used to room temperature liquids early and you won’t need a warmer. My kid has never objected to any reasonable temperature liquid: warm, room temperature, and refrigerator cold are just fine with him.

Car mirrors: hazardous. Baby car mirrors are irresponsible. You have to squint and roll your head around to line up the two mirrors just right to see the kid. But think about it: you can’t do anything if he is whining in the back seat, and the kid is not gonna die in the car seat! How safe is it to distract yourself while hurtling down the interstate or navigating congested side streets? Every time you stare at the goblin in the mirror you you increase the odds of a crash. Congratulations, becoming a dangerous driver is all you’ve accomplished with that baby mirror. Let the kid whine until you can safely pull off the road.

“Sanitizers” and “sterilizers”: dumb and dumber. Yes, there is a difference. “Sanitizers” just blow hot air across the toys. They don’t do anything useful. “Sterilizers” supposedly clean the germs and bacteria off the toys. But consider this: when your kid learns how to grab stuff, he is going to put every imaginable filthy object in his mouth. Think of how filthy baby’s hands are after he crawls around the floor. Guess what, Precious ain’t gonna die with his own filthy habits, so he won’t die just because Mommy or Daddy didn’t run his filthy toys through a stupid sterilizer. You should have learned that you have to use manual scrubbing to clean your hands, dishes, etc. Why then would you believe that throwing junk in a steam bath does the same? The only thing these things do is put a load on your house A/C system.

Some car toys: patently dangerous. Here’s a quick way to figure out if your car toy is safe: have a friend hurl the toy at your noggin. If it hurts, you are crazy to let your kid play with it in the car. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s safe. Some products marketed as car toys—whether directly or by implication (e.g., they fit on the car seat)—have hard plastics or just weigh too much. They have no place in a car. Hey, while you’re at it the same test is good for adult objects like umbrellas and bound maps.

SUVs: come on. Many parents buy SUVs just because they had a kid. Guess what? Your kid doesn’t need a freakin’ SUV! Great, mommy and daddy blow tens of thousands of dollars on a expensive to purchase, expensive to operate SUV in lieu of paying down debt, starting a family emergency fund, or, gasp, saving for college. (In other words, instead of doing the right thing many parents flimsily justify their own wants by making a huge donation to carmarker’s profit margins. Yeah, did you know that automakers are generally just breaking even on traditional cars? SUVs’ fat profit margins are their profit centers.) My family manages fine with two 2 door cars. Until I was 10 my family’s main car was a 2 door compact car by 1974 standards. (Oh, wait, that very car is still my car!) We manage just fine.

Enough rants for today. I expect the first comment to be a “dear idiot” note from my wife.

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