If Your Baby Needs A Baby Helmet, Buy Your Baby A Baby Helmet

Illustration for article titled If Your Baby Needs A Baby Helmet, Buy Your Baby A Baby Helmet

I'm looking at the Amazon product reviews for the Thudguard Baby Safety Helmet, and as I do with most products, I'm focusing on the one-star reviews. What's the worst case? What are the satisfied customers overlooking?


This is what I hate about the whole politically correct brigade.as if a baby can crawl so fast that she or he is at risk of a head injury. If that was the case, then pampers/ huggies or whatever,would have to sell mini fire extinguishers in case sparks come shooting out as they round a corner.

But seriously, babies have been crawling for millions of years and These rubbish products have not been necessary. Also kids learn from injury and pain. My own toddler once trapped her hand in a toy and she has learnt not to stick her hand in that toy because it hurt. Lesson learnt.
Also this must be very uncomfortable for the poor baby who has this monstrosity trapped on its head.

So the downside to buying a baby helmet, from a consumer standpoint, is that some semi-literate British lady (reviewer handle: "NewlyGreenMum") will abuse you for doing it. Here's another helpful person reviewing a product she hasn't bought or used:

Seriously? A helmet for crawling? This is the stupidest thing I've seen in a very very long time. Use some common sense people!

Here's some common sense, ma'am: Go fuck yourself.

It's fun to be judgmental about how people handle their babies. I do it, too, lots. Lots of the time, though, what you're demonstrating when you mouth off is that you don't know very much about babies.


I don't believe I'm going to end up buying a Thudguard baby helmet for our baby. But I was looking at the product page because, unlike all the smarty-pants reviewers, I no longer think that a baby helmet is totally unreasonable, or that you'd have to be an overprotective freak to want one.


I used to think that, and then we went and had this particular baby. This baby is 10 months old, mobile, and bent on self- and other-destruction. Early one morning last week, he was wrestling with a square wire-mesh wastebasket, because he likes shoving furnishings around. Owing to its squareness, it flipped 90 degrees suddenly and hit him in the face, hard.

He started howling, and I scooped him up, and he buried his face against me. When he came up for air, there was a bloodstain spreading across the shoulder of my t-shirt. He was bleeding from the mouth. I blotted his cut lip with a towel till it stopped.


By now, with this baby, we're used to mopping up blood. Two hours later, after a nice breakfast, he was wrestling with the wastebasket again. The only unusual thing about this was that he'd taken an intermission. Most of the time, when he slams a finger in the cabinet or face-plants while pushing his high chair around, he bounces right back—even while screaming—and goes at it again.

Sorry, smug British Amazon person, but some babies learn from pain and some babies do not. And it's not about how well you train them or how great your genetic material happens to be. Different babies act different ways, and if you want to blame people for having impulsive or injury-prone babies, try having another baby or two and see if your great parenting skills stay so great. Actually, don't have another baby; there are enough babies being raised by smug assholes already.


This baby's older brother was a spectacularly wise and prudent baby. If anything hurt or startled him, he would stay away from it thereafter. This current baby, when he gets hurt or startled, thinks, "Huh! What was that about?" and tries to see if it will happen twice.

So we used to think the whole babyproofing industry was a little excessive. You could have handed our first baby a marble to play with, no problem, because he would never dream of putting anything in his mouth that wasn't food, and he could tell the difference. The other day, for comparison, the second baby picked up one of his brother's old toy balls, a plastic-coated foam-rubber one, and took a bite out if it, like it was an apple. Then he sat there chewing contentedly on the foam till someone fished it out of his mouth.


He's not stupid, really; at least, it's still early to say for sure that he's any more stupid than most babies are. What he is, for certain, is wired up completely unlike the last baby—physical, impulsive, and all but fearless. Probably the euphemism would be that he's a "kinesthetic learner." The day after all that mouth-smashing, he was shoving the same wastebasket around the room with complete control.


So his approach works, for him, sort of. But it means he's always smashing his head into things. If babyproofing seemed unnecessary before, now it seems futile. He doesn't need hazardous corners to harm himself on. He smashes his forehead into the bare wall, trying to cruise along it. He yanks on things till he pitches over backward and smashes the back of his head into the floor. He perpetually has a bruise or a knot showing somewhere on his dome.

Maybe that's OK. Maybe babies were really made to do that, even though all those prehistoric babies who wiped out were most likely wiping out on nice soft dirt or grass, not over and over on hardwood or concrete. A while ago, I read in the New York Times about one baby who kept bonking his head. He

had a head so large that he often fell over. He used to bang his head on the floor, making his mother worry that he might be mentally disabled.


And that little baby grew up to be ... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

So one way of looking at it is, it certainly didn't interfere with his ability to accomplish things. Even so, when you hear the skull smacking into the floor often enough, the baby helmet starts making sense.


If your baby doesn't conceivably need a baby helmet, that's great for you. Enjoy your baby, and mind your own damn business. But there are other kinds of babies than your safe kind of baby.

For instance, I'm sure there are plenty of babies who are even more reckless and impulsive than our own reckless and impulsive one. I wouldn't dream of telling anyone not to put a helmet on one of those babies. And when they get older and more mobile and start running out into the street, go ahead and put them on a leash, too. People who sneer at toddler leashes deserve to be hit by a car themselves.