For spontaneous napping on the go

I just saw a Twitter post about this very cool little portable kid-bed, and a seemingly was less cumbersome alternative to the Pack-N-Play.

It’s called the KidCo Peapod Portable Travel Bed. Very cool!

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Here’s a post on Boing Boing about it, and here is the product
page on Amazon.


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Scratch-proof DVDs?

Nope, no such thing. And I don’t know about you but my kid LOVES to get into her DVD collection and take every single disk out of the case. She thinks this is a great game. We’ve put all of our “non-kiddie” movies up out of reach but keep all of her movies easily accessible, which has proven to be a problem. And all of those CDs that just get stacked on top of each other instead of being put back in their cases? Scratched and unusable, save for a couple of tracks here and there. Well fear not – technology to the rescue!

You knew it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to repair old/scratched CDs and DVDs, and that time is now. Check out this article from Wired showcasing three prominent CD/DVD repair models. I can’t wait to get my hands on one and bring a giant stack of disks back from the dead.

<click here for full article>

Keeping up with the Jones’ kids

The latest and greatest toys and learning tools continue to amaze. Check out this article Tagfrom yesterday’s NYT.com technology section about a new learning Toy from Leapfrog. The Tag, officially called the Tag Reading System, works a lot like the LeapPad. Among other things, children can tap a word with it and the stylus reads the word, or its definition, aloud. They can tap on an image to hear a character’s voice come alive. How cool is that?
<Click here> to read the full article.

Geek in training…

The younger set continues to get more and more computer savvy, as more and more products continue to flood the market (and by younger set I mean toddlers!). Have we reached the point yet where the A/V club is also going to include a Sys Admin position? I hope so. I hope it reaches even earlier than that. I want my daughter to be wandering around her preschool class troubleshooting Fisher Price laptop issues (“…have you dropped it recently? try restarting your machine…”). Anyhow, here’s a great article a saw this morning in the Technology section of NYT.com. Enjoy:

By MATT RICHTEL and BRAD STONE
Published: November 29, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 28 — Cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and MP3 music players are among the hottest gift items this year. For preschoolers.

Toy makers and retailers are filling shelves with new tech devices for childrenClickStart ages 3 and up, and sometimes even down. They say they are catering to junior consumers who want to emulate their parents and are not satisfied with fake gadgets.

Consider the “hottest toys” list on Amazon.com , which includes the Easy Link Internet Launch Pad from Fisher-Price (to help children surf on “preschool-appropriate Web sites”) and the Smart Cycle, an exercise bike connected to a video game…

Of course there are sections of the article that express concern about the amount of technology available to children. The dangers and risks of developing a sedentary lifestyle or failing to develop the ability to think creatively. Once again though, as parents it is our responsibility to make sure that these toys are used in moderation. Set time for technology, set time for outside play and exercise. Come one people it’s not rocket science. But I digress. Back to our story…

Eric Jorgensen, a programmer at Microsoft, has invented PixelWhimsy, a computer program that allows toddlers to sit at a regular computer and bang away on the keys to create sounds and colors and shapes, but without damaging the computer.

Asmin Jalis, who also works at Microsoft and whose 2-year-old boy, Ibrahim, has been using PixelWhimsy, said his son liked it better than his toy computer. “We have a toy laptop for him, and he knows it’s a fake,” he said.

As soon as I’m finished with this post I’m going to check out PixelWhimsy, because my daughter LOVES banging on our computer keyboard (particularly while we’re using it) and this sounds like the perfect solution.

In the meantime, click here if you want to read the full NYT article.

Happy Holidays!

Stupidity…when parents are their own worst enemy

Can a company sue a parent for being stupid and improperly using their products? Not likely…and that is a shame.

Not long ago I wrote about a group of parents who tried to sue MySpace because their kids became involved in one way or another with a sex predator. My favorite quote in that story from MySpace amounted to “if the child had been contacted by the predator by phone, would you be suing the phone company?”

Then, this past weekend, one of my wife’s girlfriends forwarded an article from CNN about Bumbo recalling a million of their seats due to infants falling out and sustaining head injuries. After reading through the article I was disgusted to figure out that Bumbo was voluntarily recalling all of these seats because of user error. Ignorant parents were placing their kids in a Bumbo that was up on a counter or table-top (and then – I can only guess – leaving them unattended). To this I say, shame on the stupid parents and not shame on the product. Having purchased one and having used it like crazy, it is still one of my favorite products! I had my daughter in it all the time, and I too placed it on elevated surfaces (though I know for a fact that it is written on the box that you should not do this). The difference is that I was right next to her and/or watching over her every second she was in the Bumbo, and the moment it looked as though she was unstable or might fall over or out of the seat, I either took her out of it, or placed it back down on the floor.

If she HAD fallen out and gotten hurt, then double dumb-ass on me for not paying closer attention. In no way shape or form should Bumbo be held accountable for my ignorance. And yet here they are voluntarily recalling a million seats until they can more clearly mark the packaging and product itself with clear and explicit warnings about placing the Bumbo on elevated surfaces.

And do you know what? It won’t matter, because some dumbass is going to do it anyway, their kid is going to get hurt, and they’re going to sue Bumbo for their own ignorance, and they’ll probably win…

When oh when are people going to learn (probably never) that these types of products are not a substitute for actual parenting??? <link>

Child Safety: Sage advice from a t-shirt….TV chimes in too

Child safety. Everyone has an opinion and people you have never met in your life are quick to point out whatever it is you’re doing wrong with your child. For instance, My wife and I were walking through a department store, pushing along the stroller with baby. A woman looks at our daughter and immediately says, “you’d better cover those baby’s feetMr. Yuck up!”. Thank you safety Nazi! My daughter might have suffered frost bite if not for your alert and astute observation. And then there was this time in the library. My daughter went through this “upside down” phase. When cradling her in your arms, she loved to have her head hang out over the edge of my arms and just dangle there upside down. It was calming for her. So I’m holding her like that in the library one time when she had started to get “fussy” and I’m waiting for the elevator. Some strange dude makes it very clear to me that I’m supposed to support the baby’s head with my arms and not let her head dangle like that. Eureka! I’m so glad he was there to tell me that. I shutter to think what would have happened otherwise. But this is the best of all….A sticker, placed on thesafety first bottom of the lid of a large tupperware bin. A picture of a baby sitting inside the tupperware bin, with the lid being put on top sealing the baby in. And a big red circle with a line through it. You’re telling me DON’T store my baby in a tupperware bin? Holy shit! I’m so glad I saw that. I mean seriously, that sage advice saved me one uncomfortable conversation with the Charlotte PD. And so now that I possess this great wisdom, I feel it neccessary to spread the word the only way I know how…via a t-shirt. If this advice helps save even one baby, then it will all be worth it. Along those same lines, I was also blessed with another brilliant piece of advice, though at least this was in jest. I’m sure all you Scrubs fans out there know what I’m talking about. That’s right…Don’t Smother Your Kids.

Thank you Zach Braff!