Because It’s So Nerve-racking Being 2 Whole Feet Away from Your Baby?

Readers — This note comes to us from Nathalie Delage up north, where “Canadian Tire” apparently sells paranoia, too! – L.

Dear Free Range Kids: Have you seen these baby carseat videocameras?  They stream live video from the backseat to a monitor you attach to your windshield like a GPS.  I wonder what exactly a parent needs to worry about while their child is 2 feet behind them? I especially love the tag line: ”Watch. Concentrate. Smile, you and the people around you are safe!”

This thing normally retails at $169.99, but can be yours this week at Canadian Tire for the great price of $99.99.  Wow!  I just watched the video testimonial from a mom. She actually says: “I can see her at all times.  And it’s so much safer.”

Really? Safer than what? The mirror they used previously that was just as unnecessary?

“It’s hard to keep track if she’s sleeping or if she’s playing with her toys.”

And you need to know this because…?

It truly is  insane that parents live by this new “Keep your eyes on your kids at ALL times” ideal.  I work in a doctor’s office and last week a mom came in with her newborn in his “bucket” seat.  After her appointment she asked me to come and watch him because she had to go to the front and get her boots.  That’s about 30 feet!  I could see her the whole way.  There was NOBODY else in the entire office except her, me and the doctor.  BUT inside our office there is a door that connects directly into the drugstore next door (very convenient for patients).  She couldn’t leave her sleeping baby there for 4 seconds because, as she said, “I know, but someone could come in from the drugstore and kidnap my baby.  You have to be careful nowadays, it happens.”

Can you imagine what the odds are that the planets could have aligned in almost every galaxy out there in order for that to happen?  A kidnapper/pedophile would have to be at that EXACT drugstore at that EXACT moment at the EXACT spot where the door is and stumble upon a baby unattended for 4 seconds, notice this, run in, grab the seat and run through a drugstore with said seat in hand to escape? To his waiting car? And get away?

Maybe I’ll invent a portable camera that you can attach to whatever the baby is in or on, with a monitor that goes around the parent’s waist so they can then feel safe to go to the closet and get their boots. Eureka, I’m rich! – Natalie


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98 Responses to Because It’s So Nerve-racking Being 2 Whole Feet Away from Your Baby?

  1. michael cardus April 15, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    this seems more dangerous because the parent is taking their eyes off the road, to stare a camera of their baby.
    It is safer to focus on the road, and other cars.
    Weird how this is being advertised as a safety product, while actually making babies and parents less safe.

  2. Beth April 15, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    I don’t understand this camera, much like I don’t understand why moms feel they have to sit in the back with their baby/child while Dad drives. This is definitely a thing where I live (maybe not in other areas?), and supposedly it has to do with comforting the baby if he/she gets upset, and “being there” in case of a crash…because a mom’s arm thrown across baby provides more protection that the industrial strength car seat?

    And maybe my kids are off-the-charts weird, but once they decided to cry/scream in the car, no amount of comforting made one tiny bit of difference.

  3. Meagan April 15, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    I would think a video camera system like that would be *less* safe. If the parent is distracted watching it, they aren’t watching the road. In the US, it would probably be illegal. I’m no legal expert, but isn’t distracted driving one of the reasons those entertainment systems in cars have to be mounted behind the front seat? I’d think similar issues would apply here.

  4. Sara April 15, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    I wonder how long it’ll be until people start causing accidents because they’re staring at the monitor…

  5. Cyn April 15, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Aside from the obvious “less safe” aspect of the driver looking at the camera’s display instead of the road…. what happens when Jr. cries or something else “tragic”? This kind of parent is going to IMMEDIATELY want to pull over and tend to their child. Which will create a road hazard as the distracted/distraught parent zips across several lanes to pull over. Then, the parent will be on the shoulder with traffic whizzing by — the same place many police cars that have FLASHING LIGHTS still get hit. Also, many places state that the shoulder is for EMERGENCIES ONLY. So, a police officer will see a car pulled over and stop to assist in the “emergency” only to find that the “emergency” is Jr.’s pacifier fell out. I’m sure they’ll be less than thrilled that they risked their own lives along the shoulder to help with that “tragedy.”

  6. Lola April 15, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    I think I’ve got it! People are just confused, thinking that babies are somehow like Tamagotchis. You have to carry them (o an on-line camera focusing on them) all day long in your pocket…
    It’s a pity you can’t feed, burp and change them just by pressing a button. Then we could all leave our babies locked up in the panic room, safe from the real world, and watch them thrive through our little pocket cameras.

  7. Earth.W April 15, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Now that the parents are watching the monitor and not the road, their children are now so much safer.

  8. Earth.W April 15, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Surely by now you people have come to realise that some person trained at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry just may pop into your car and steal it. It happens.

  9. RunTime714 April 15, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    I really don’t understand what parents think is happening to their children when they’re not attached physically. The other day I read a posting (which may have been old) on a parenting forum about a mother who was nervous leaving her child in the car while she filled up her car. NOT while she went to pay, leaving the child unattended – just being outside of the car while the child was inside. Some people pointed out that she could still see the child through the window, while a few said she carry the child while attempting to fill up. As this mother is worrying, I don’t know if she’s sleeping or playing with her toys – what difference does it make. Hopefully you haven’t put anything lethal in her toy bag that would endanger her while she’s in the car.

  10. marie April 15, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    I blame the carseat mafia. I remember when baby traveled on Mom’s lap–or was passed among the many laps in the car. I do believe that car seats are safer for babies than laps but the truth is that carseats put the baby out of sight. We wouldn’t put the baby out of sight in the trunk even if it made the baby safer, would we? Or would we? How far will we let the carseat mafia push us?

    Used to be that the baby had to be in a rear-facing seat until he reached a certain height/weight but the height/weight has increased. Kids used to be required to be in a booster seat until a certain height/weight/age…but those limits have gone up, too.

    Won’t be long before kids need a car seat until college.

  11. Michelle April 15, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    Yeah, I feel so much safer knowing that other drivers are watching their video baby monitors instead of watching the road.

    I admit that I used to get nervous about baby in the backseat where I couldn’t see him while I was driving. What if he choked or just stopped breathing or something? It was especially hard because my first baby used to cry the whole time we were driving, every time, and I worried the whole time about what might be wrong. (Nothing, he just hated his car seat.) Then I rear-ended another car while trying to refill my son’s sippy cup at a red light (thought I saw the light turn green and hit the gas), and I realized that my kids were much safer if I paid attention to the road rather than worry about the backseat.

  12. SKL April 15, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    I’ll admit that I had a mirror for my kids when they were rear-facing. I set it up so I could see their faces in my rear-view mirror. However, I only glanced at it on rare occasions. It seemed better than pulling over to the side of the road to check them during a long drive.

    I’ll further admit that when my kids were little, I allowed no eating in the car, because I didn’t want them choking quietly as I sped down the freeway. (Choking is not a noisy event.) This could have been because I got a scare when one of them tried to choke on a nacho chip at home, while I was taking her sister to the pot. (Always find it interesting, though, that despite being in another room, I somehow knew my kid was starting to choke and I knew exactly what to do about it so nobody got hurt. Moms’ intuition is nothing to sniff at. :) )

    I agree that the advertised product sounds unsafe, especially the way they imply it should be stared at all the time. It seems kids are more likely to die in car accidents than from whatever might happen as they ride in a well-driven car.

  13. derpdedoo April 15, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    I can’t figure out why this line of reasoning hasn’t led to the out-right banning of personal motorized vehicles. If baby is to unsafe in the back seat of this urban tank, then maybe we should make using them a crime.

  14. Kate April 15, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    When my kids were in rear facing car seats, I commuted with them 45 minutes to the daycare on my campus. We also did many long road trips in those years. I liked having the mirror just so that I could periodically check in.
    A quick peek in the mirror could tell me if fussing was on its way to sleep or on its way to a major meltdown, in which case I could look for a safe place to stop.
    A video camera seems like a bit much to me, though. At least with the mirror, the baby could also see me.

  15. SKL April 15, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    Yeah, what Kate said – I forgot about that – the other purpose of the mirror was so the kids could see their mama. :)

  16. Warren April 15, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    With all fuss being made about distracted driving, we do have a way to fight back. A valid arguement can be made to ban these pieces of safety equipment, on the distracted driving issues.

    Why not fight to have them put on the list with all the other items taken away from us, oh yeah that’s right because it has already been marketed as a child safety item. Therefore we would be monsters for not wanting them.

    LOL, there are groups lobbying to take away my privelage of drinking my coffee, while I am driving. They damn well better jump on the bandwagon to get these cameras pulled, before they touch MY COFFEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
    They won’t though, because it is usuallly the same hyper safety helicopter moms that are in these special interest groups.

  17. Melissa April 15, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    With all these freedom stealing comments, with the concern on distracted driving, my suggestion is we just ban children.

  18. Eliza April 15, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    I agree with the distraction issues. I would not be very happy if the person who ran in the back of me did this because they were too busy watching their little prince/princess instead of the road, and this caused me to have to take my big princess to the hospital because she has whip lash. But then again if I had one of those cameras, I would have remembered I was suppose to take my then 5 year old to school, but forgot she was in the car and ended up taking her to my uni which was about 2 hour drive away. When I got to uni and realised what I did, all she said was”I thought taking me to school was a bit longer today.” (Just a funny story)

  19. hineata April 15, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    @Melissa – honestly, this sort of nonsense is probably why the birth rate is dropping. Who would want to give birth, knowing you can’t ever take your eyes off the little darlings. One of my dad’s uncles had eighteen kids (well, actually, sixteen were his – his wife had a couple while he was over in the war having his own fun, and he wasn’t one to quibble!), and they didn’t even have to raise them all by themselves. These days, they’d never get enough time alone in the bedroom to get anywhere near that number, LOL!

    @Warren – am no expert on the physics of driving, but am almost sure your coffee would be far less distracting than a video camera/screen thingy – the positioning of the two is different for a start. So hang on to your cup! Unbelievable that groups want to take one, but consider the other ‘safe’…

    Am just waiting for reports of those wonderful helicopter mums (I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine too many men being stupid enough to want to install these things) in their essential SUVs running over other peoples’ kids on crossings etc. Still, as long as Baby is safe, eh?

  20. marie April 15, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Why not fight to have them put on the list with all the other items taken away from us, oh yeah that’s right because it has already been marketed as a child safety item. Therefore we would be monsters for not wanting them.

    This gives me an idea: If I could only figure out a way to promote cell phones as child safety equipment, they would stop passing laws that make it a crime to use the phone while I’m driving.

    People should drive safely no matter what distractions they have on board and they should be held accountable for any bad driving caused by those distractions.

    Laws that try to eliminate the distractions (no texting while driving! no digging in your purse for a tissue while sneezing! no changing the radio station while driving! no using GPS while lost!) don’t stop the distractions. They only provide easier ways for law enforcement to stop us…now there’s a distraction I could do without!

  21. SKL April 15, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Re distractions, the last time I had a driving mishap was on Palm Sunday when my kid poked my face with her palm leaf from the back seat. I turned to tell her off and I hit a roadside mailbox. I also think my ear infection had me a little off kilter. So . . . the solution to safer roads is simple. Ban Palm Sunday. Ban ear infections. Ban roadside mailboxes. And above all, ban kids!

  22. hineata April 15, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    There was actually a news piece on the TV here, recently, talking about how Maori and Pacific Island kids are getting injured and a few killed on our roads, and a lot of handwringing about how we need to keep them safer, and why aren’t white kids getting run down in the same numbers?

    No prizes for guessing it’s because so many Pakehas are too darn lazy/’safety conscious’ to get their kids walking to school, and therefore it’s harder to get the opportunity to get run over!Though the news didn’t dare say that, of course. I wonder how many more Pacifica kids are going to get run down, if Pakehas start installing this sort of rubbish as well….

  23. SKL April 15, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Hineata, what are the racial/class stats of the drivers who are running over these kids? How sad that access to “safety” is actually causing harm to the “less safe.”

  24. Keith Rispin April 15, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    I am embarrassed that this thing is sold at “Canadian Tire”. As a Canadian, I apologize to level headed parents everywhere.

  25. Warren April 15, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    LOL, can remember my grandfather telling us to go play in traffic, when he had enough of us.

  26. Warren April 15, 2013 at 10:33 am #


    As business man in direct competition with Canadian Tire, I watch their flyers and promotions all the time. They are not the most ethical advertiser by any means.

    Their tv ad about the cabin air filters, where the guy from Canadian Tire got caught breaking into a family’s car, to replace the filter, then lectures the dad on changing them regularly, for the health of his family. Mom pulls her two teenagers to her, and admonishes dad, “Honey, the babies!!”

    One of their recent flyers had a tire on sale, but the regular price they used to calculate the sale was $19.99 higher than the manufacturer’s list price.

    I will still buy my tools there, as you cannot beat the deals sometimes, and their lifetime warranty on tools is great. Break it, bring it in, walk out with a new one.

    But tools are all I would ever get there.

  27. hineata April 15, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    @SKL – actually I’m not sure….I confess that the above was my ‘gut reaction’! So not very factual, which is naughty, LOL! I must look into it, if indeed they keep stats on the drivers – this was only about the injured parties. It is a fact that more Maori and Pacifica kids walk, partly because they tend to go to neighbourhood schools, more of them are poor,families are often larger, and rarely do their parents tend toward helicoptering.

    Whereas, at least among the more ‘well-off’ section of the Pakeha community, driving kids to school is he done thing. When I last worked at my daughters’ primary school, a survey showed something ridiculous like 25 out of 30 kids came by car, 3 by bus (one of my girls being one of those – we lived a 50 min. walk away, so couldn’t manage it every day), and only 2 walked. I knew some of those families, and several lived less than a 10 minue walk away. Just crazy…..These were 8 year old kids, more than capable of walking, especially as we have footpaths and controlled intersections/crossings galore. A travesty in Godzone, really….

    BTW, that poor mailbox! How could you, LOL! That sort of thing is why I used to keep one or two things beside me to hurl at recalcitrant/annoying progeny when I was driving – I got quite good at chucking things backward blindly while keeping my eyes on the road :-)

  28. Lissa April 15, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    @Beth: If your kids are weird, mine is too. She’s the same way. When she’s in the car and she’s pissed, it is game over.

    @Warren: I have to believe it would be far more dangerous for most people to drive without coffee. I know it would be for me.

  29. hineata April 15, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    ‘the’, and no doubt there’s other things there. 2.34 am, have finally got an assignment away, and my brain is officially mush – well, worse mush than usual, anyway…

    Goodnight, Jonboy! (waits for echoes, as she toddles off to bed….)

  30. Garry April 15, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Most young mothers have been trained that every adult male is a latent pedophile, just waiting for the right opportunity. Thus the worry ” You have to be careful nowadays, it happens.” We’re EVERYWHERE!

  31. hineata April 15, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Have never tried to work it out before, and shouldn’t while so brainless, but before I do call it a night, can anyone tell me what timezone the clock on these comments is on? Like, which of you delightful people is having 10.something a.m. Hoboken, N.J.? (always loved the sund of that!). I’m a day ahead of you all, LOL, but wish I was in that time of the morning too :-)

    Not a night owl, yawn….Not gonna be driving, with or without a video camera!

  32. lollipoplover April 15, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    OK, I confess for my first child I had a mirror so I could see him in the rear facing seat. But I had to get rid of the mirror after it set my car on fire!

    At work, I parked on the top level deck of the garage on a sunny day and the mirror reflected the sun onto the ceiling of my car, causing it to burn a large hole. I got in my car and thought someone was smoking in it but noticed the large area that was burnt. I think it cost @$1000 to repair.
    So no more mirror. Baby can cry, there’s not much I can do anyway except turn up the radio and sing (badly).

  33. Sarah in WA April 15, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    When I was pregnant with my first, I considered a mirror for seeing the rear-facing infant, but read some good advice: It’s safer to keep your eyes on the road. (Yes, there is some good advice out there!)

    One of my friends on Facebook is a member of some carseat-nazi groups (that’s my term, not theirs, of course) and I can’t believe some of the things she reposts from them. I’m all for carseat safety. I spent a lot of time researching when I chose my kids’ carseats, and they’re always strapped in when the car is moving.

    But . . . there were some people talking about how you shouldn’t have your kids in heavy coats when they’re in the car. The coats can compress in an accident and the child could come out of the straps. Honestly, I don’t see how that is possible. Maybe the straps would be a tad loose, but how could the child come free of a 5-point harness? Someone raised these questions and was absolutely lit up. People started in with the “you’re a bad, lazy parent” talk. Yes, you’re a bad, lazy parent for not making your child take off his/her coat in freezing weather when getting in the car. [Insert eyeroll here.]

    Some people are obsessed with safety to an unhealthy level, which, ironically, isn’t safe.

  34. Ravana April 15, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    They should just implant a GPS transponder at birth.

  35. BlueBindweed April 15, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    “while a few said she carry the child while attempting to fill up”

    Brilliant. Expose the kid to gasoline fumes and risk dropping them on concrete because you’re juggling them with one hand rather than letting them sit in a secure car seat while you hover outside the car.

  36. pentamom April 15, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Time zone is Eastern Daylight Time (Eastern Standard Time adjusted for U.S. March to November Daylight Saving), so yes, Hoboken NJ would be correct, as would NYC, Atlanta, Washington DC — the whole East coast and about 500 miles west.

  37. Liz April 15, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    @Sarah – the reason is that heavy coats (which tend to be fluffy not actually thickly woven) will compress during an accident, and your child will be thrown around more within the straps, thus removing some of the protection of the car seat and increasing potential damage to internal organs, ribs, and their spine.

  38. Peter Brülls April 15, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    @marie Carseat mafia? They sure want to make some money, but unlike bicycle helmets, their products do actually work.

  39. SKL April 15, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Ravana, don’t give them any ideas.

  40. Hels April 15, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I remember when dogs and cats starged getting microchipped, there was a discussion that people will start geting microchipped next. Of course, with the advent of new technology, we can do a much more sophisticated version of microchips for humans!

  41. elsiroomom April 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I think they’re focusing on the wrong hazard. What they should be marketing is avoiding inadvertently leaving your child in a hot car. Maybe Lenore can give some statistics on frequency (my perceptions may be exaggerated by how tragic the result is) – but that, at least, is a real hazard, that has a sufficiently catastrophic result to merit considering a solution.

  42. gap.runner April 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Oh dear Lord! Just when I thought I heard of everything to promote safety, something new and unexpected comes along. I must be the ultimate Bad Parent School student because I never used a mirror to check if my son was okay in his car seat. I figured if I didn’t hear any crying, then everything was in order. If I only knew then what I know now! 😉

    There is a big fuss about distracted driving caused by people talking on their phones or texting while driving. In fact, in most European countries, drivers are fined for talking on their phones without a hands-free device while driving. Watching a video of Junior in his car seat, at least to me, would fall under the category of driving while distracted. It’s just as bad, if not worse, than someone talking on the phone or texting while driving. I hope that this device does not become legal in Germany. The last person I want to be on the Autobahn with is someone going 160 km/hour (about 100 mph) watching Baby on the video screen instead of the road.

  43. Warren April 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Jeff Foxworthy said it best, “Our kids are missing out on all the excitement, of sleeping in the back window, so when dad slams on the brakes, we bounce around the back seat like a pinball. Finally landing face first in an ashtrays full of butts.”

    As for the compressing winter apparel……………I would not expose my infant to a canadian winter, just on the off chance that I will get into an auto accident. Taking into consideration that the impact of that accident would also have to severe enough, to compress the insulation of the clothing. If we use the same extreme what if thinking, then taking their winter clothes off in the car is just as risky……car wreck, windows broken, parent pinned or knocked out……… is now unprotected against sub zero weather……………
    IMHO, parents that are this fearful, this paranoid of all the what if’s…………they are not mature enough or ready enough to be parents.

  44. SKL April 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    I was blissfully ignorant of the winter coat danger (and even the correct way to fix the straps) until my kids were too old for it to matter. The summer I heard about it I made fun of it. (Though scientifically it makes sense under extreme crash conditions, the likelihood of me having a head-on crash at high speed while driving my kid a few miles to daycare was frankly non-existent.) But to spite me, the next winter my kids decided that they didn’t want to wear their coats in the car, LOL. Whatever! No damage has been done, and I am very much looking forward to the day I reclaim the extra space taken up by boosters in my back seat.

  45. lihtox April 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I wonder if they’re falling for the “my kid is worth more than a million dollars to me, so I should guard it like I would a million dollars” fallacy. If I had to leave my laptop out of sight for a little while, I would definitely consider asking someone to watch it, because lots of people would be tempted to steal a laptop: it’s easy to grab, it’s portable, it’s useful, probably easy to fence. Kidnapping is much harder (kids cry and maybe fight back) and more risky in terms of the potential punishment, and what are they going to do with the kid once they take her?

    Your kids are more valuable to YOU, but most thieves would much much rather have the laptop.

  46. Donna April 15, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Hineata – Hoboken, NJ is not all you dream it to be. LOL.

    As for the product, good grief. The last thing drivers need is the ability to stare lovingly into the face of their little cherub while driving. All I can see from this are thousands of accidents with mom staring into the camera sighing “ah my little Mahdjcbrjmsb (pronounced like Michaela) is so adorable” as she plows into the car in front of her. And, of course, it would be the fault of the other driver. Doesn’t he know she has precious cargo to admire and can’t be expected to keep her eyes on the road?

  47. Tsu Dho Nimh April 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    ”Watch. Concentrate. Smile, you and the people around you are safe!”

    Staring at your baby in the monitor attached to the windshield to see if she’s awake or playing makes you a safer driver?

  48. Katie April 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    lihtox-yes exactly.

    Interestingly I had some bimbo tell me do I know I live in a high crime neighborhood. Um no I live in a high pick pocket neighborhood. I live very near a busy subway station and there were a number of nonviolent pickpocket type thefts. Kidnapping, rape, murders are almost unheard of…they might even be unheard off.

    Yes, a kid isn’t worth anything to a thief, cash and electronic devices are.

  49. Papilio April 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    LOL! Someone should make a comedy series on this stuff, with this artificial laughter every time a parent comes up with such a stupid risk analysis 😀
    And then right after this whole fuss, the parent would come out and then SHE would get snatched by a UFO…

  50. Andrea April 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    The mirror was useful to me with my son, because he haaated being in his carseat. Just couldn’t stand being immobilized like that, and he screamed about 75% of the time we were in the car. Being able to keep my eye on his mood helped me drive more safely and with peace of mind, because if I could see his face, I could see the degree to which he was freaking out. Really, driving with him was pretty unsafe in general. I had to pull over more than once. I’m glad that’s over.

    A video camera is crazy, though. How is that more real-time than a mirror? Plus, looking at himself in the mirror kept my son distracted from his carseat misery. A camera wouldn’t do that.

    I couldn’t find the box the mirror was in for my daughter, and she was much easier, so I didn’t use it the second time around.

  51. Bridget April 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    The one time I saw a video monitor put to good use was a facilities project manager at my work. His family was in California and he was in Minnesota for a 6-month project. He got a setup from Amazon that allowed him to stream video on his computer. He’d watch the baby sleeping or his older daughter playing. In fact when anyone was having a bad day, we would go tell him we wanted to watch the kids. LOL. Now THAT is a good use of technology!

  52. Stephanie April 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I have trouble seeing how video would be better than a mirror anyhow. Mirrors don’t need to be plugged in or use batteries. Not that a mirror is a necessity either, but if you’re going to do it, the mirror makes much more sense to me. And, as Andrea said, more entertaining for baby.

  53. Warren April 15, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Kids are no different than dogs, when it comes to car travel. I did the same with the babies as I do with the dogs. In the beginning took em everywhere, no matter how short or long the trip was. Didn’t take em long to get accustomed to the whole carride thing.

    Now it helps to have a dog in the back seat as a nanny, yes.

    Should almost be mandatory. Ya have a kid, ya gotta get a dog. lol

  54. Anna April 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I’d never heard of the mirror, – we have a pickup so the baby is next to us, but it sounds like a great idea for the baby to be able to see the parent from the back seat. The video, um, not so much. Can we say distracted driver?

    I must live in some sort of back-to-the-future-parenting bubble, because everyone around here seems pretty laid-back and I’ve never even heard of most of these crazy-safety products. It sure makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who can’t understand why we “need” to buy all this stuff. I already have two baby monitors – my right ear and my left ear!

  55. Havva April 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    I’m pretty sure these back seat monitors would/could/should already be considered illegal in most states, as video display screens where the driver can watch are (I believe) largely illegal already.

    I also remember going slightly more nuts when I got the doctor’s recommendations (a least I think they came from the doctor, but I was pretty sleep deprived) that you should never let your baby ride alone in the back seat for the first month (or was it three) lest their head tilt forward and suffocate them. Despite my neurotic safety mindset at the time, I managed to figure out that lots of times the driver is the only parent in the car and there were safety experts recommending against those back seat mirrors, so it had to be supper rare outside of preemies.

  56. hineata April 15, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    @Pentamom, ta for that – seemed important to know at that ridiculous hour of the morning. And Donna, don’t burst my bubble, LOL!

    Ah, lying in the back window of the car…I’d forgotten all about that. So much fun, especially, as the man says, when the brakes go on. Along with banging your head on the ceiling while driving down country roads….gotta love potholes and gravel. And the older type cars with manual signals – we loved to ride shotgun in those, because you got to either swing your arm out when Mum or Dad wanted to turn left, or do the red flaggy thing with the lever. No use wearing seatbelts (no seatbelts anyway) because you had to neel on the front seat to get at the flag, or to get the window wound down enough to get your arm through, LOL!

    And cars that you can see the road passing along beneath you, through the rust holes in the floor. Sadly, they’re illegal here now, but they provided a great alternative to air conditioning……:-). Dear heaven, nostalgia…

    So much fun the kids don’t get to have. Which is why I like taking them out to our friend’s farm, where at least they get to careen around in open trailers. And there are, surprisingly, no mirrors or video cameras checking their whereabouts – the theory being, if they’re still screaming, they must be alive…..

  57. Emily April 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    I am a new mom who got one of the mirrors… and I feel a little ridiculous for bothering with that, let alone a camera!

    As others have said, I think the video feed is a little distracting and dangerous. The baby is hopefully correctly and safely installed in the carseat, all your sensible basics covered. That should be good enough.

    Continuing the whole baby thing, I was so worried I was going to be a paranoid mom, despite thinking Lenore was awesome at the time the subway incident happened and eventually following this blog. I’m something of a coward, so I was sure despite all my free-range desires I would be worrying too much about my child.

    My daughter is a month old, and last weekend at a family function at our vacation spot, I left her with my mother while heading for not even an hour to do some shopping with my sisters. I made the comment “I need to get home to see my baby and make sure she’s all right”… not because I felt that way, but because I didn’t want to sound like I wasn’t worried about my baby. Which is ridiculous. The truth is that I trusted my mom to tend a baby (she somehow got seven of them to adulthood) and wasn’t worried one iota.

  58. BL April 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    ” honestly, this sort of nonsense is probably why the birth rate is dropping”

    I drove through a valley populated mostly with Amish people a couple weeks ago. Their birthrate is plenty high. They keep doubling every 20 years.

    I saw some rather young children (not babies, obviously) driving horse-drawn vehicles by themselves.

  59. lollipoplover April 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Just don’t drive in New Jersey with your dog if you don’t have it in a dog restraint. Under the new law, drivers who do not secure their pet can face a ticket of $250 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Additionally, allowing your pets to hang his head out the window, having him riding in the back of a truck or curling up on the driver’s lap are also ticket-able offenses under the law.
    I wish I was making this up.

  60. Warren April 15, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Gone are the days of travelling in the bed of a pickup. Better than air conditioning. Had an old piece of foam and would stretch out and watch the clouds go by. Toronto to Sudbury in the bed of a pickup, the only way to go.

  61. Warren April 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    That is pure and simple a money grab by the state.
    And no offense meant at all, been to some places in the states, and now have no need or desire to cross the border. You know used to be able to cross into New York, do some shopping, have dinner and come home. Now with all the crap at the border, it isn’t worth the hassle.

  62. hineata April 15, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    @BL – at that rate, the world might be overtaken by Amish…I’m sure it would be great for global warming, and at the same time, the Amish are pretty much guaranteed not to be concerned with video cameras in their modes of transport. :-)

  63. Donna April 15, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    “Gone are the days of travelling in the bed of a pickup.”

    Not here. God awful hot for it in the South Pacific if you ask me, but the kid liked it. Once I even let her ride back there with STRANGERS, hitchhikers even, while I rode in the air con.

  64. Warren April 15, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    LOL, but if I am not mistaken doors and fenders are optional there as well.

  65. Donna April 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    @Warren –

    I believe doors are required but my fender has been known to fall off.

    No sitting on the old bed of the truck here either. They attach chairs and ride in comfort back there.

  66. Warren April 15, 2013 at 6:46 pm #


    Pacific version of the Beverly Hillbillies, huh?

  67. catspaw73 April 15, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Fairly sure this device would be illegal here.

    I did ride in the back next to the first one, because of the whole “your kid could suffocate” info we got, mind you hubby was still pretty uptight and neurotic (thanks to his mum) about safety at that stage. Didn’t bother with number 2 :-)

    @lollipoplover and @Warren, dog restraints are required here in New Zealand too, however dogs can ride on the back of the ute so long as they are clipped on and cannot jump out, and there is no law about a restrained dog having its head out the window. My dog seems to think its his right to lie down and stretch out across the whole back seat, or why the kids legs go numb 😀 lol

  68. Donna April 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Warren, Exactly.

  69. lcj April 15, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Thanks, Lenore–I really needed to smile tonight. :)

  70. Brenda April 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Thank you for this – I got my belly laugh of the day. Never ceases to amaze me the junk that people will buy!!

  71. Eliza April 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    It doesn’t surprise me that there is now a video camera marketed towards child safety. I remember thinking this child safety has gone crazy 13 years ago. When I was pregnant I ended up moving back home and living off savings as I had just left my job and was going back to study. One day my mum decided to take me to a baby expo. I left fairly depressed because of all these must haves, otherwise your child wont survive, develop or become a functioning adult. I just couldn’t afford anything. I ended up buying a lot of second hand essentials, such as a cot, pram and a baby bath. Anything else was either given to me or I borrowed from people who were in between a toddler and having another child. 13 years later , my daughter is still alive (not to offend people who have tragically loss a child. I’m only saying this as marketers promoted the fact that my child may die if I did not purchase their product). Has reached every developmental stage and is academically intelligent and every year at school is voted most resilient. Not bad for a Mum who had to use second hand equipment or went without.

  72. Michele April 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Seriously? April Fools, right?

  73. Priscilla April 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    This video camera would be extremely dangerous!!!! I hope they are outlawed soon. Texting while driving is dangerous and so is this!

  74. bmj2k April 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    “You have to be careful nowadays, it happens.”
    Well no, it doesn’t.
    Unless you count the one time in ten hundred thousand it happened, but hey, maybe with odds like that you’ll win the lottery or the moon will explode.

  75. Emily April 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    >>I would think a video camera system like that would be *less* safe. If the parent is distracted watching it, they aren’t watching the road<<

    Meagan–you hit the nail squarely on the head. I predict that these video camera devices will be on the market for just a few weeks or months, before people realize that keeping just one eye on the road, and the other eye on the baby, is dangerous.

  76. tramlover April 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    I found mirror useful purely so when rearfacing I could see if asleep or not – asleep probably meant I could go a bit further on some errand – awake a good time to stop, go home etc. You dont need a live feed to check on asleep or not every so often thats for sure.

  77. Warren April 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    There has been talks of restraints for dogs, in vehicles, here in Ontario, a few times. Only to have rescue workers say that they are counter productive, to the actual health and safety of the dog.

    Humans can release themselves from their restraints, to exit a vehicle. Dogs just haven’t evolved enough to know how to unbuckle themselves.

    It was also noted that dogs that travel well are not a problem for the driver. Dogs that don’t travel well are not usually taken for trips, and when it is unavoidable they are usually crated.

    In the event of a major wreck, a restrained dog will cause one of three outcomes.
    1. The owner will get it out fine.
    2. The owner will get hurt or killed trying to free the dog.
    3. No attempt will be made, and the dog dies.

    When 2/3 outcomes are negative ones, it is easy to see whey Ontario hasn’t gone to restraints.

  78. Art April 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    While I think the “baby cam” is ridiculous, there is one thing I think that needs to be added to ALL vehicles, especially ones that are more likely to carry kids. An alert that either calls a cell phone, or honks the horn or sends a text message in the event that a child is left unattended in a car for more than a few minutes.

    Before you flame me, hear me out. This is primarily used when the engine has been turned off and a baby/toddler is asleep in a carrier in the backseat.

    The reason is avoid when the child is “cooked” to death because the parent forgot that the baby was in the backseat and goes to work.

    From what I understand, this will only about $60 to a car’s total cost.

    I don’t see this as a free range issue, but more a “common sense” thing.

  79. amy April 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    It’d be safer to text while driving. Babies are just waaaaay too fascinating to watch.

  80. hineata April 15, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    Off topic, no doubt, but I thought the point of dog restraints inside vehicles were for the protection of the humans. A big dog, anyway, would do a fair amount of damage as it was thrown around inside a vehicle, in the event of an accident.

    On the back of the truck, though, Catspaw, I am surprised. I remember a few stupid dogs leaping off the trays while vehicles were in motion, but they only ever did it once….that’s usually enough to knock some kind of road sense into them.

  81. Warren April 16, 2013 at 12:30 am #


    Yes a large dog may do damage if thrown around, but would have to bust threw the seat backs. If that is the reason for the restraint, than every piece of luggage, grocery, or cargo placed in the back seat should be strapped down and secured.
    My bag of hockey equipment and sticks are bigger than most dogs.
    I do not restrain my dogs inside my house, on my property, and will not inside our SUV or trucks. They can sit up, stick their heads out the window, sleep on the back seat, or curl up on the floor. They are well behaved, and would not be as well behaved if restrained, as they would not be comfortable held in one spot. And if the restraints were slack enough to afford them comfort of changing positions, all they would do in the event of a heavy wreck is kill the dog.

  82. Donna April 16, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    Ummm, Warren, they actually do suggest that you not leave loose objects in your car. Everything should be secured or placed in the truck for exactly that reason – it becomes a projectile in an accident. I once got very minorly rearended on the way to the vet with a puppy in the front seat. He smashed into the dashboard and then rolled up under it. He had minor injuries and refused to go near the car for several months.

    I’m not a fan of mandatory anything and don’t restrain my dog (for the record, I haven’t restrained my child since moving to A. Samoa either) but neither the animal being injured nor the animal becoming a projectile in an accident are frivolous concerns.

  83. Kiwimum April 16, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    @ Hineata – as a Pakeha mum who has never driven her kids to school, I really don’t think the racial generalisations are helpful. I know it was off the cuff and late at (our) night but please…just don’t.

  84. hineata April 16, 2013 at 5:05 am #

    @kiwimum – fair enough. That was rather thoughtless. Yes, was generalising, no, probably not being fair. Apologies.

    @Warren – what Donna said, about restraining large objects, though I agree you shouldn’t be forced to restrain your dog. Too many regulations around already. I suppose I was a bit surprised that the rescue types were concerned about the health of dogs. Or were these animal rescue people?

  85. Dave April 16, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    Not only unnecessary and a dumb idea but the parent should be watching the road and not the baby camera so they don’t have an accident and really hurt the child.

  86. NicoleK April 16, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I’d use it. My kid would sometimes only nap in the car, so I’d drive a bit till she fell asleep but it was hard to see her. This way I’d know right away, and could park and read a book.

  87. EricS April 16, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    As many have already mentioned, this camera set up is much LESS safe. Distracted driver. Let’s think about why. Someone who feels they ‘need’ this, is more likely in a paranoid and skittish mindset. Those alone, are bad to have behind the wheel (with a child or not). Because people like this make bad decisions at the wrong time. It’s no different than someone driving while impaired. Bad decisions at the wrong time. Now let’s say the driver notices something (anything, including mind playing tricks on them), and suddenly reacts as a paranoid person would. Not only does she endanger her child and herself. But others on the road as well. It’s fact that most vehicle collisions (no such thing as accidents) are caused because one or more drivers was not paying attention to their driving. In this instance, the thing they installed in the their car to keep their kid(s) “safe”, is actually putting them in more danger. And anyone that says they can do multiple things behind the wheel, is just fooling themselves. I’m sure most collision victims (in a wheel chair or dead) said the same thing.

    But we can’t fully blame the paranoid society that buys into this marketing ploy. We should also blame these companies who perpetuate fear among parents, so that they can make a tidy profit. After all, these days, “safety” of children is a huge market. Just like fad diets, anti-aging products, and fashion. All of which use the fears and insecurities of people to sell their products. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. When really, all one needs is common sense, trust (in themselves and their kids), and knowledge of how to street proof their kids. And all of that is FREE. With far more benefits than a backseat camera.

  88. Paul April 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    This proves I just plain can’t tell the difference between spoof videos and real ones anymore. I don’t know whether it’s the outrageous content, or her tone of voice, or what but this video can definitely do double-duty as a spoof!

  89. Let_Her_Eat_Dirt April 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Good point, EricS (and others) — there is a whole safety industry that profits from our fears, not just about kids but about everything. “You never can be too safe” is the mantra, but they’re wrong. There is indeed such a thing as “too safe,” and this little video thingy is one example. It’s so “safe” that it is positively dangerous.

    There’s a little mirror in our minivan that is supposed to allow us to watch the kids. Not only can you not see anything in that mirror, but you have to take your eyes completely off the road and squint just to try to see something. Very safe…

    Let Her Eat Dirt
    One dad’s take on raising tough, adventurous girls

  90. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Even if you have a kid that gets fussy in the car, the car is just something they have to learn to deal with, right? Or maybe it’s just me that can’t/won’t put errands on hold because a baby woke up nor try to do everything within the span of naptime. If they are crying, then at least you know they haven’t suffocated or anything. And if they aren’t crying, you can check them when you get where you’re going… do you check they are breathing every 5 minutes at home? Or even turn around and glance at them while completely stopped at a long red light. How can you focus on a mirror or a camera long enough to SEE they are breathing while driving??

    @Paul her tone of voice does not sound spoofy to me (it sounds like a common Japanese-that-speaks-fluent-english tone), but what gets me about the video is that she can barely hold up her baby! I’m guessing she uses so many devices that her arms didn’t gain the strength to do it.

  91. Marion April 17, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    You need to keep your eyes on the road, lady, and not on your belted-in kid in the upholstered, safety-garanteed kiddy-carseat in the back! If your so focussed on a tiny screen, changes are great that you run over some other lady’s kid, playing in the road. But of course, when that happens, it’s the fault of that kid’s mom who let him play outside instead of keeping him or her safe on the couch glued to a videoscreen.


  92. pentamom April 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    It just looks to me like the baby is wiggling and keeps shifting her center of gravity, so mom needs to keep hiking her up. I remember those days.

    Or maybe she’s just not very strong. Some people aren’t, it’s not a moral failing.

  93. Stacey April 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Is that commercial real? It looks like a parody! What in the name of all that is sacred and a few things that aren’t, can possibly happen to a baby in the backseat that you need to know about? Unless toxic fumes suddenly come in through the back of the car, i can’t think of anything bad that might happen that you won’t know about anyway. if the baby chokes on something, you’ll most likely hear it. If the baby needs anything, he’ll tell you. If the car gets rear-ended, you’ll know. On the extremely slim chance somebody leaps through the back window, you’ll know.

    you need to know if the baby is sleeping or playing? what for? do babies sometimes play dangerously? surely you aren’t giving the baby any toys they can choke on during the car ride. if yu haven’t heard the baby in a while and want to know if he’s sleeping, check the mirror that’s already there! Someone shoud hire a therapist to say to anyone who buys this thing “don’t worry ma’am, if you are unable to see your baby in the back of the car, he hasn’t gone anywhere. i promise.”

  94. ozymandias April 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    We use a mirror for the rear facing seat but recently I rigged up an old analog baby monitor with zip ties and an inverter that essentially does the same thing this product does. This is the use case: we have a four month old and a toddler. My wife takes them both in the car to drop the toddler off at school and she has to go in to do it. The obvious thing to do is leave the baby in the car. She’s only in for five minutes or so and she carries two sets of car keys so it can stay running. But still, we worry about nosy passerbys and calls to CPS. The monitor remote in her purse while she goes in seemed like cheap CYA.

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