“Facebook Knows I Have a New Baby, So…”

When keszfbkdkb
all-knowing meets all-fearing:

Dear Free-Range Kids: Facebook is now aware that I have a newborn, and my targeted ads are full of products to make my kid more “safe” including a GPS tag and this magnet that is supposed to keep my kid from being hit by a car in a parking lot by enticing him to stand with his hand up against the vehicle like he was participating in a stop-and-frisk – Allison Huebert

Lenore here: There really should be a welcome page:

Congratulations on your new, incredibly vulnerable bundle of joy and welcome to the World of Worry! We will be stalking you from now until, well, forever. Enjoy parenting, the most dangerous  and potentially devastating activity on earth.

Yours, The Child Safety Industrial Complex

Not safe in the car, not safe outside the car... Welcome to modern parenting!

Not safe in the car, not safe outside the car… Welcome to modern parenting!

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75 Responses to “Facebook Knows I Have a New Baby, So…”

  1. Dlivtx July 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Still, my favorite are the helmets for new crawlers and toddlers.

  2. E July 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    I haven’t had FB in years, but don’t the target all sorts of crap at users?

    I wouldn’t buy that magnet thing, but if you’ve got a lot of kid, it’s probably not that different than whatever means you use to unload them in a parking lot…presumably you give them instructions.

    It’s not just kids…it’s tons of crap products that no one “needs”..and you see it everywhere. Ever walk thru that $1 zone inside a Target? Ever see the SCADS of diet ads that appear in the internet ads for stuff that’s useless?

  3. SOA July 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    I would not mock the parking pal. I just purchased one mostly for my son with autism but his brother wanted one too to. They actually like them. I decided to get it after he was almost run over multiple times in parking lots because no matter how many times I told him to stay by the car and to watch out for cars kids with autism don’t get abstract rules like that. But if you tell them put your hand on the parking pal and stay there. That he will get. Just how his brain works.

    It is not about over protecting if your kids actually need that protection. It is a product that you buy if you think it would help. I did not need it till now at 7. When they were babies they were put straight into a stroller or wagon or shopping cart and did not have to worry about getting hit by a car. Then I started having them walk and tried to train them but as I said kids with autism have no sense of danger and get easily distracted. The other day they were being crazy in the parking lot not doing what they were supposed to and one command of “PARKING PAL NOW!” had them right there where they were supposed to be standing still. Before I probably would have had them continue to act dumb because just saying calm down and stop moving does not work with my son. A direct command will.

  4. SOA July 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    There is a problem with the magnets though that they get hot if the car sits out in the sun. But we just solved that by telling them if it is hot just hover your hand near the magnet without touching it. Still works that they don’t run around like puppies while I get my car keys out of my purse and load groceries and put the shopping cart up etc.

  5. pentamom July 6, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Yes, compared with a lot of products the parking pal does not seem so bad. Since Allison is only now entering the wonderful world of parenting, she might not realize that rules like “keep your hand on the car” can be very useful for very young kids that need to be corralled while you finish unloading the car, and this is a fun aid to it. Not something I probably ever would have bought, but it seems pretty tame in the “ridiculous kid gear” department. If you’ve ever had two kids under three you can rapidly see how the need for accomplishing what this thing helps accomplish should not necessarily be dismissed as treating your kid like he’s being subjected to stop and frisk.

  6. no rest for the weary July 6, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    So many times I judged it to be safer to leave kids in the car WITH THE WINDOWS DOWN than drag them across the parking lot.

    “Stay close” was all I ever said to my kids about parking lots, but they terrified me at times. I was always happier leaving them in the car if it was a very short hop.

  7. Jill July 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    The Parking Pal magnets get hot on summer days, so kids shouldn’t put their hands directly on them. To keep them safe, you need a Parking Pal Protector that stays cool so little fingers don’t get burned. Only $9.99 for two. Call now and get a third one free. Operators are standing by.

  8. Jill July 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Oh, and the Penalty Pal! LMFAO! Without it, children would have no idea where the time-out corner is. None. Because children are stupid.
    The name is too friendly for my liking, though. I’d prefer to call it the Bloody Red Palm of Dire Punishment.

  9. Laura July 6, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    When my girls (now 8 and 10) were little I used to tell them “touch the car and don’t move” in parking lots. This looks to be the same idea. While I don’t think a sticker is necessary the idea is completely sound.

  10. Kristine July 6, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    While I do not think we need a new product for every possible childhood scenario, this one seems to be more of a practical tool than a fear-perpetuating moneymaker. I am a nanny to three young children and keeping them from walking into the parking lot while I’m unstrapping the baby from his car seat or unloading library books can make me frantic if there’s not a patch of grass nearby to have them sit in. Because it is very likely that a child may walk out in front of a car and if not get hit, certainly surprise and frighten a driver, it seems like a helpful tool to teach toddlers to stay by the car in busy parking lots.

  11. Cassie July 6, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    It isn’t just facebook. Lots of sites (even this one) have ads that target you based on previous browser history.

    For example, as I type this I am seeing an ad for “Australian Superannuation”, because last week I was searching for the contact details of our superannuation funds so I could do some roll-overs.

    A few months ago I was getting kitchenaid ads…. because I had been searching for kitchenaid prices.

    This is based on your browser history, the cookies that websites story on your computer. Facebook, and lots of advertising apps are able to access this and deliver content that is targeted at you.

  12. Powers July 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    Wait a minute! If you have two parking pals on your minivan, then pedophiles will know you have two kids! Danger!!

  13. lollipoplover July 6, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    Let’s go there:
    The Parking Pal is like the stick figure families on cars- it tells the kidnappers information like “My kids don’t listen to me and I have to buy a $5.99 magnet and make them put their hands on it and scald them with hand burns so they don’t get run over in parking lots.” So the boggieman now knows that your kids are easy snatching material.
    Who feels safer now?

    Back in prehistoric times when my kids were toddlers I told them to put their hand on the dings in my door. NO stupid magnets. No pancake toddlers. But I guess *times are different*.

    The best Facebook stalking with ads has to go to the Bloggess. And you gotta love taxidermy….


  14. Breanna July 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Best thing I ever did with Facebook was get the Firefox plugin called Facebook Purity. It takes out all the ads and lets you have a lot more control over what shows up in your feed.

  15. Beth July 6, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    Yeah, I’m not sure why people get so upset about targeted ads. Personally, I would rather see ads for things I’m interested in, and it’s probably better for the advertiser too. And I’ll reiterate the comment above that it’s not just on Facebook and there’s no need for Facebook-hate. In fact, right now, there’s an ad to the left of this box I’m typing in for a hotel in Phoenix….because earlier I was online checking flights to Phoenix.

  16. SOA July 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    I also think it is kinda anti free range to bitch about what other people spend their hard earned money on. If they want to buy something you think is stupid, so what? Its not hurting you. I certainly don’t approve of everything other people buy either, but its not my money, not my business. This is America and its a free market. We have freedom to buy whatever the heck we wanna buy.

    I have seen the Parking Pal ads and they do not come across as trying to make parents feel they have to have this product or their child will die or that you are not a good parent unless you buy this now! It is more like “Here is a product, here is what it does.” which is fine.

    Again parents need to have confidence in themselves. Commercials, ads, the government, society, etc cannot and should not and does not have the time to make you feel good about your parenting choices. That is something you and you alone can do. Educate yourself, make a choice, follow your instincts and do a good job and then defend your choices if need be.

    If you think a parking pal is a waste of money, then don’t buy one. Its that simple. Same with anything else. I thought crib bumpers were a waste of time and did not buy them or use them. I figure if my baby bruises themselves or gets their arm or leg stuck in the crib, they will live and learn. But I did not feel all bad when I would read baby magazines that said crib bumpers were necessary. I did not need their validation on that choice.

  17. pentamom July 6, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    I’m always amazed by the vast numbers of people who apparently don’t know about AdBlock Plus:


  18. ChicagoDad July 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Hey Allison! Congrats on the new baby! Shame about those ads. As a dad of 3, here is some stuff that I think really comes in handy for a new baby, and it won’t cost you much (or anything!).
    1) A whole bunch of super-absorbent wash cloths. We use old-fashioned square cloth diapers: great for spit-up, spills, drool and more.
    2) Someone to help out on a regular basis: a friend, a sitter, a neighbor or relative. Someone who can plan on spending a couple of hours each week to give you a break to do other things.
    3) A pocketful of plastic grocery bags. Great for foul diapers, wet clothes and more,
    4) Donate all mismatched bottles. It is not fun to spend 2am looking for missing parts. If your bottles all have interchangeable parts, at least you can assemble a Franken-Bottle blindfolded.

  19. Andy July 7, 2014 at 3:09 am #

    If you do not like them watching what you read on web, you can try privacy badger https://www.eff.org/privacybadger . It blocks advertisers from knowing what you read on web, but you will still see non-spying ads.

    There is no reason to inform companies you never heard of about every single click you make on web.

  20. hineata July 7, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    @SOA – you’re right, we should just buy what we like and can afford, within reason.

    The car thing a few have mentioned does fascinate me, though. When all the kids were under five I used to unstrap them and get them to stand in the car until I unstrapped and ‘repacked’ the current baby into the pram/pushchair/cart whatever. Then the mobile ones hopped out and stood by the ‘transportation device’ :-). Don’t remember getting them to stand around outside the car waiting for me.

    Each to their own – I think I am just completely anal around cars. My own special brand of paranoia :-).

  21. hineata July 7, 2014 at 5:18 am #

    Ugh, shouldn’t have looked at those ads, am having visions now of those two wee boys being crushed by the guy (gal?) moving into the next parking space while fishing in the dashboard for his/her own set of Parking Pal decals ….

    And what happens when that little girl gets her obligatory first set of braces? Will her face stick to the time-out magnet?

    🙂 ….

  22. LadyTL July 7, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    My thought is this really doesn’t help with kids running around in the parking lot unless you park inside the store itself. After all, these are on your car, not following you to and from the store which is mostly where most of the actual problems lie in the parking lot.

  23. Melanie July 7, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    I don’t mind the ads so much- at worst they make me roll my eyes and at best they give me ideas. Parking Pal is not a bad idea with a two-year-old and a four-month-old, but instead of spending my money, I’ve trained my two-year-old to “touch the car” (as in, hand on the gas cap) while I’m getting her brother and assorted gear out. It’s actually a really good idea, and anytime some one has a really good idea, they want to sell a product from it. The trick is remembering what we need and what we don’t (when I started training my daughter, I just used one of those flat magnets the Realtor sends me every year attached to a small calendar until she got the concept).

  24. Melanie July 7, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    What I don’t get is why you’d want both Parking Pal and Penalty Pal- so in one case, touching the hand sticker is routine, and in the other it’s punishment? Way to confuse your kid.

  25. MichaelF July 7, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    “So many times I judged it to be safer to leave kids in the car WITH THE WINDOWS DOWN than drag them across the parking lot.”

    Considering many of the posts we have had here this is probably a bad idea in some places, though with one of my kids he often would rather be in the car than keep getting in and out with me to run errands.

  26. kate July 7, 2014 at 8:15 am #

    I have always made my kids put both hands on the car, as much to keep them in place as to avoid shutting a hand in the door. While a magnet is not necessary, it may help kids stay put. When toddlers are surrounded by SUVs and drivers backing up while on the cell phone, getting run over is a real risk!

  27. pentamom July 7, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Oh. My. Goodness. I thought Jill was joking about Penalty Pal.

    What a ridiculous concept.

  28. anonymous mom July 7, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    My little two also have to keep their hands on the car when we’re in a parking lot. When I just had one, it wasn’t an issue. With two little ones, I can’t open up the car, get people situated, and keep a hand on both of them. I can see how the magnet might make it a little more fun for the kids. My 4yo probably wouldn’t be that into it, but my 2yo would love it.

    The Penalty Pal, though? That’s more of a stretch. And I agree it’s somewhat confusing to have the same product be for parking lot safety and for punishment.

  29. lollipoplover July 7, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    “It is not about over protecting if your kids actually need that protection. It is a product that you buy if you think it would help. I did not need it till now at 7. When they were babies they were put straight into a stroller or wagon or shopping cart and did not have to worry about getting hit by a car.”

    How long did you use a stroller for?! It sounds like you never taught them how to behave in parking lots and are now facing those ramifications. And yes I know they have autism and peanut allergies. Trying to avoid danger with excessive childproofing only delays what they will need to learn at older ages. Not free-range or helicopter, but snowplow parenting at it’s finest.
    No one should be running in parking lots around moving cars. They are dangerous places. This is a basic life skill to teach at early ages.

    And I don’t care what you buy, Dolly. Have your kids hover with their hands over the scalding Parking Pal magnets to keep them safe.
    What do they say if a friend sees them?
    My daughter would be mortified to be using this at this age.

    And just so you know, I do believe crib bumpers are banned now because they actually killed babies in entanglement/suffocation accidents.So don’t feel guilty for not buying them even though your parenting magazines told you so.

  30. Beth July 7, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    ” also think it is kinda anti free range to bitch about what other people spend their hard earned money on.”

    Dolly are you freaking serious? Just in the last week or two you completely dissed people who get a larger vehicle, like a van or SUV, upon having children. You’d better start keeping copies of your posts so you can avoid contradicting yourself.

  31. SOA July 7, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    Lollipop lover: I used the strollers or carts till about 3. Then I started training them to walk with me and continued to train them till now at 7. My neurotypical son gets it. I don’t have to worry about him. My son with autism is probably never going to get it anytime soon. After 4 years if he does not get it he never will.

    Walking into the store or out of the store is not a problem. He does great with holding my hand and walking along. Its the standing still for a few minutes while mommy fishes for her keys to unlock the door or gets the trunk open that usually causes a problem. Judge all you want. I literally saw my son get within a hair of getting run over and it scared the shit out of me. So I went home and bought the parking pal and figured it was worth the price if it helped and surprisingly it did help because he sees it as a game now and he got to pick out the one he wanted.

    I tried the put a hand on the car for years and for whatever reason that was too broad for him. But the specific spot to be seems to work better. When you have my specific son with autism (because every kid with autism is different) then you can tell me it is not necessary. I don’t worry about him getting kidnapped. I do worry about him getting run over because he has no sense of danger and part of his stimming is jumping around and spinning around and dancing around and yes, if he feels compelled to stim in a parking lot he will and he did it right out in front of a car and almost got run over by someone going too fast in a parking lot and good chance they may have been texting or something and would not have been able to stop in time.

  32. Stacy July 7, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    The complaint is not this particular product. I spent several years saying, “Hands on the van.” If I’d been really paranoid, I wouldn’t have let the preschoolers get out of the van while I unstrapped the baby from her carseat. The magnets seem a little much and the older kid in the photo looks like he should be trusted to manage without it, but I can see them being useful in certain situations, especially if your kids need a visual clue. The issue is the overwhelming number of products designed to keep your kids safe from a hundred different dangers, encouraging parents to live in fear and to spend lots of money in a desperate attempt to keep their little ones safe.

  33. SOA July 7, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    Beth: hmm $20 versus $40,000 for a giant SUV. Not a great comparison.

  34. anonymous mom July 7, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    @SOA: “I have seen the Parking Pal ads and they do not come across as trying to make parents feel they have to have this product or their child will die or that you are not a good parent unless you buy this now!”

    Given that this is at the top of their site, I’m not so sure:

    “Parking lots are dangerous and it only takes a few seconds for a tragedy to occur, keep your kids safe with the Parking Pal.”

    That sounds both like fear-mongering and like the makers of this $8.99 per pop product couldn’t bother to pay a copy editor.

    Again, I don’t think it’s a terrible product. Although, thinking about it, I’m sure any magnet would do, and parents who were interested in something like this could buy a much cheaper car magnet and then ask their child to touch it.

  35. Heather July 7, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    After a while, in parenting, you learn: whatever works. So if that’s inventing a dragon that lives in the cleaning cupboard, so that a child avoids it, or putting a magnet on the side of your car once you’ve identified that your child won’t just put their hand on the car, I don’t see that it’s a problem.

    As a way of dealing with the common problem of getting kids to behave while you are busy in a parking lot, it’s not a bad idea. I’m guessing that different people use the penalty pal, and those people don’t have a suitable spot that can be easily identified, or want to make a ritual of choosing the spot and setting the rules with their child.

    My son didn’t need time out that often, until this year, when he started being a bit of a monster with us (still good with everyone else). So now we’re working out some more-specific disciplinary rules. I might not use the decal, but I understand the process that gets people to choose it.


  36. Donna July 7, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    I don’t get the put your hand on the car thing at all. The last thing I want is my kid to have her hands on/lean against my generally dirty car. I just have one, but have been out shopping with mine and my friends’ kids while babysitting a few times. I opened the door, loaded everyone up, helped any kid that needed help with the carseat and we were on our way.

    If you must leave one kid outside the car while you strap in the other into a carseat for whatever reason, I really don’t understand why a kid would obey “touch the car” and not obey “don’t move; stay right there.” They are not drastically different commands. A kid inclined to bolt at a bright, shiny object floating across the parking lot will do so the second your back is turned either way. A more compliant child will stay put either way.

  37. brian July 7, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    I am waiting for the electronic version that will beep if they release pressure and/or if I start the car and they are still standing there.

    What if….you pulled out while your kids were still standing there with their hands on the car like the dummies you made them into by using this thing instead of just parenting…what if…

  38. anonymous mom July 7, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    @Donna, I don’t know why my kids, when they are toddlers, respond better to touching the car than just standing still, but they do. Maybe it’s more concrete than telling them not to move?

  39. anonymous mom July 7, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    @brian: “What if….you pulled out while your kids were still standing there with their hands on the car like the dummies you made them into by using this thing instead of just parenting…what if…”

    I certainly don’t think it’s the only way to be safe in the parking lot, but many people I know who have had more than one small child at a time have used the “keep a hand on the car” method for keeping kids contained in a parking lot. None ran over their children, and none have older children who still need to keep a hand on the car.

  40. Donna July 7, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    anonymous mom – Personally, I don’t see where toddlers should be standing around outside cars in busy parking lots unless you are holding them or they are otherwise confined … but that may just be a semantics thing since I define “toddler” as 1-3, and I would have never turned my back on my kid at that age in a busy parking lot for even a second no matter how many magnets I had on the car.

  41. pentamom July 7, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    I think a-mom is right. Keeping their hand on the car is a much more concrete concept than “stay there.” What is “there” if you’re two? But “hand on car” is definite. If you think the car is too dirty, there might be similar tricks you can use, but for a 2-3 year old trying to keep them from touching dirty things is a losing battle anyway, if you have other kids — and this only seems to be relevant if you have other kids anyway.

    I never thought to do it this way but it does strike me as a reasonable shortcut. Most kids from about four on up can grasp what you mean by “stay there,” but for kids of two or three, old enough to have younger siblings who need your physical attention but not always old enough to grasp abstract stuff like “here, not there,” it makes sense.

    And brian, the point is not to train your kids to be zombies who only know how to do one thing at a time. It’s that at very young ages, they CAN only grasp one thing at a time and this helps them focus on what that one particular thing is, when it’s important. It’s not like all people who train their kids to keep their hands on the car while they’re waiting for mom to get siblings/stuff in or out of the car train them to move only on command in other situations.

    Like anything, though, it can go too far. Just last week I heard/saw a mom repeatedly squawking at her kids for taking their hands off the grocery cart as they walked back across the parking lot. These kids were probably 5 and 8, and didn’t appear to be taking their hands off the cart because they were about to stray or run, they just broke contact when their mom’s pace didn’t exactly suit theirs. There’s using little tricks to make it easy for young kids to remember to stay close, and then there’s making the tricks into the Main Thing when the kids should be learning to navigate safely by themselves.

  42. pentamom July 7, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    Donna — if you have two very young kids, one or the other has to be gotten out of the car first, unless you have some octopus genes. Not all settings are stores where you can pull a cart around to put the smaller child directly in, and not everywhere you’re going is amenable to hauling out a stroller just to cross the parking lot. You’re going to have to get someone out first. Even if you make them wait inside the car after they’re unstrapped, eventually they’re going to have to get out, and one of them is going to be out before the other. If you leave the toddler in the car while you lift the baby out and then help the toddler out, you’re going to be handicapped from keeping complete control over the toddler with the baby or baby carrier in your arms. So training the toddler to stay in a small space until you’ve got the door closed and are ready to take her hand makes sense.

  43. Donna July 7, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Pentamom – I am not a germaphobe by any stretch, but not being able to keep your toddler from touching dirty things is different than INSISTING THAT your child touch dirty things that don’t really need to be touched.

  44. Donna July 7, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    pentamom – When I’ve gone to the store with three small children (mine and a set of twins a year younger), I got them all in and out at once. I suppose one child hit the outside a split second before 2nd and the 2nd a split second before the 3rd, but it was always manageable without anyone needing to touch anything. And, while my kid is very compliant and wasn’t an issue at all, the other two were (and still are) completely ill mannered.

  45. anonymous mom July 7, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    @pentamom, that was the issue here, having a baby and a toddler, and then two toddlers. I rarely bring a stroller for short outings, and when I do I’m really no more comfortable leaving a baby in a shopping cart or stroller that could roll away than I am having a toddler keep a hand on the car. But whatever you do, you are going to end up leaving one kid out of the car for a few moments while you get the other one settled in, until the older one is old enough to get into the car themselves.

    Honestly, I never even considered the dirt/germ issue, but my kids are the type to touch anything and everything, so I just assume their hands are always pretty filthy.

  46. Andy July 7, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    I never told my kid to touch the car, but I think it would be easier for her to follow then “stay here”. If I am on a dangerous parking lot, I have the kid sit in the car until I unload/load things and younger sibling. Even if the toddler is staying/touching and generally listens, they are still impulsive and I would still watch him if the place is dangerous.

    I think that “touch car” is easier to follow, because it says exactly what you want them to do and is easy to follow. “Hold the stroller” always had much better success with my kid then “stay with me”, so I guess it is similar. They know exactly where the line is while “stay with me” is kind of fuzzy.

  47. pentamom July 7, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Donna — it’s great that it worked that way for you, or for anyone who’s comfortable doing it that way. Maybe some of us just need to feel a little more security, or are less coordinated, or something. I see this as a really minor difference in the way people choose to do things, not one of those, WHY on EARTH would you EVER feel the need do that/anyone who DOESN’T do that is RECKLESS kinds of things.

    As for touching the car, you’re right, there’s a difference between encouraging the touching of something dirty and admitting it happens, but I was thinking more like a-mom — little hands are going to get dirty enough to be unsanitary one way or the other between leaving home and the next opportunity to clean them, so the dirtiness of the car wouldn’t be a tipping point for me on whether I would consider this a useful way to keep them corralled.

  48. pentamom July 7, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Unless, of course, the car had just been down a dusty road and was absolutely grime-caked. I do have my limits. 🙂

  49. Stacy July 7, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Do we really need to fight over whether telling our kids to keep their hands on the car is necessary, unsanitary, etc.? Isn’t the idea to do what works best for you and your kids and stop telling other parents they’re doing it wrong? For my kids, it was a step in the process toward independently getting out of the car and walking into the store without dashing in front of a car. And yes, my kids’ hands were pretty much always touching dirty and germ-infested surfaces. My personal parenting style is to not worry too much about that.

  50. J- July 7, 2014 at 10:55 am #

    The parking pal seem needless. What does the sticker do that telling a kid to kip his/her hand on the car not do, but cost a little more?

    The penalty pal seems both needless and psychotic. If the child won’t stay in the corner you put him/her in, how does the sicker make them stay there? Unless it has adhesive on both sides…?

    Heck, if I’m going to punish/do psychological damage to my child with something cutesy sounding, I’m going to employ a boo box.


  51. lollipoplover July 7, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I’ve always hated parking lots and generally practice avoiding the most crowded parking areas (the zone directly in front of the store) and usually seek a spot a bit further away but close to the curb of the store. It’s a longer walk, but it’s more time on the sidewalk so the wee ones didn’t have to play frogger in traffic and learned early to obey basic safety rules. As they’ve gotten older and asked me why we park so far away, I tell them that the close spots go to the handicapped, seniors, and those who can’t walk longer distances that we can. Healthy kids can walk distances.

    Maybe some parents need tools and devices like these to keep their children in check and not darting in front of moving vehicles. Personally, I prefer a longer walk with some good kid conversation and gentle guidance and reminders to obey traffic rules any day. Besides, my kids love sidewalk shopping and seeing all of the garden plants,seasonal decorations, and clearance items before entering the stores and that freedom to explore.
    Actually, so do I.

  52. anonymous mom July 7, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    I’m not sure why all of these assumptions are being made about parents who might utilize the “hand on the car” technique? I really doubt parents do it because they just want the closest parking spot and don’t like walking. The grocery stores where I generally shop are small, and their parking lots are crowded no matter where in them you park.

    Plus, it’s about instilling a safe habit. When my kids are at an age where I want them to keep a hand on the car, they need to always do it, not just in a crowded parking lot. I want them to have the habit so that, when we are in a crowded lot, they know what to do.

    It’s like hand-holding across a street. When my kids are little, I expect them to hold my hand every time they cross the street, even if it’s an empty street they could safely cross alone. I want them to have the habit so that, when we do get to a very busy street, they automatically hold my hand. Then, as they get older and can understand the distinctions better, they can move on to where they only hold my hand to cross busy streets and can practice looking both ways and crossing on their own on less busy streets, and eventually are able to cross any street on their own.

  53. pentamom July 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    “The grocery stores where I generally shop are small, and their parking lots are crowded no matter where in them you park. ”

    And even in larger lots, cars can go whizzing by across the parking lot to GET the spots nearer the front of the store. Or people who also like to park farther away can pull in or back out next to you, or whatever.

    Yeah, I don’t know at all what it has to do with parking close to the store. It’s that parking lots are where the cars are moving in many possible directions at once, and loading/unloading time is when you might have fewer hands than kids who need to be kept close. Certainly this doesn’t preclude teaching your kids awareness and safety as you walk toward the store, but little kids don’t know that BEFORE they’re taught so there’s always that vulnerable period where either hands-on or somehow restricting their movement until you can get your hands on might (at least for some kids) be necessary to make sure they’re safe.

  54. derfel cadarn July 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    The users and manufacturers of this product should be charged with child abuse, it is sickening to see such things.

  55. CrazyCatLady July 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    I did the hand on the car thing. I had a 5 year old, a three year old who ran, and a one year old who walked at 9 months. Three kids, two hands, two car seats (should have been three but we didn’t have shoulder belts in the back seat and kids under twelve were not allowed in the front.)

    I also had a leash for the runner. That we used in museums from time to time, and I threatened at other times. I had that until he was 7 and he proved to me that he could stay nearby. The youngest didn’t need that prompt after he was 3, but hey, each kid is different.

    Yeah, I know, not free range. But parking lots and crowded museums, fairs and boardwalks are not great for free ranging with little kids who have speech issues and who might get lost but not be able to communicate it. (I did write with sharpie on their arms at times – my phone number and “call my mom” and told them to find a family if lost and point to their arm.)

    Free range time was when we walked down the road and I let the kids run to the next light pole. Or when I let them play in the front or back yard without me. Or go back and forth to the neighbor friend’s house. Or play at the park while I talked to parents and let the kids bash each other with light sabers or pretend to shoot each other with guns.

    Now that they are all older they get more appropriate free range activities for their age. But when they are little…yes, we each do what we need to do and the hell with what anyone else thinks. If they had my kids for a couple weeks they would understand.

  56. CrazyCatLady July 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    As to facebook and ads…yes, I have see that every time I look up something on Amazon and have FB open. If you close FB before you do your searches for baby supplies you won’t have the linked ads. If you care. Sometimes when searching for adult items I would rather not have my kids seeing the ads on our shared computer.

  57. Jen (P.) July 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    At the risk of starting a new debate, I don’t see your use of a leash as non-free-range, Crazy Cat Lady. They always seemed like a good idea to me for kids who hate being cooped up in a stroller but are too young to be trusted not to wander. It has to beat walking around with your hand straight up in the air in order to hold onto someone twice your height.

  58. SOA July 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    I used leashes too for a brief period of time in certain situations when my twins were like 2 and just learning to hold hands. Honestly there are times I wish I could leash my son with autism but I don’t want to leave him with no dignity so I just keep an iron grip on his hand.

    People can judge all they want. You probably have never gotten a phone call from the school in the middle of the day telling me they lost my son. Nevertheless gotten that call twice. Yep, I sure have. Its not a good feeling let me tell ya.

    He has ran away from the classroom, the playground and ran straight through the school’s parking lot where soccer moms plow through there at high speeds sometimes.

    So if an $8 magnet seems to work with him. I will happily pay that $8. I guess you are right any magnet could work but he had fun picking this one out and it has the visual cue of a hand on it and I think that helps too.

  59. Eileen July 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Right Jen.

    If a product doesn’t resonate with you, just move on. Sometimes things make a lot of sense…to someone. We have 2 grown kids, same gender and VASTLY different. We still joke about how awful my youngest was in parking lots — he would NEVER look both ways in front of store (even though he would at a corner) and no matter how many times we told him not to kick a rock/pebble in a parking lot (or around cars) he’s still do it.

    If the parking pal doens’t make me think “hmm, that might work with Jr who is a real pain in the parking lot” then I just go on with my life…I don’t have to think that my lack of having one makes me a bad parent or would make me guilty!

    We are bombarded with ads about what is lacking in our life and what we “need” to resolve issues. Are you: wrinkly, chubby, depressed, flaccid, etc. Hopefully that experience can apply to people hawking another consumer product that happens to be for kids.

  60. SOA July 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    That is what ads and commercials are. I mean facebook must think I am fat because I keep getting ads for those stupid weight loss things. Does that mean I am going to be all offended? Nah. I just ignore them.

  61. Matthew July 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    Yup. This isn’t a subject for judgement. I am almost insanely anti-stroller, and made my son walk as much as he physically could from 10 months. As it is, by the time he was 2.5, he was explaining to me that the cars were parked so he didn’t need my hand or some were moving so he did. Had he not been like that, other measures may have been needed. I’d go with a Clemson paw over a hand, but flexibility is key.

    But some people have strollers, others have kids that extra guidance is warranted.

    There’s a study by Larzalere(sp) on discipline that shows best outcomes are related to adapting and being flexible. Probably true universally.

    Kids are individuals. Adjust their boundaries in

  62. anonymous mom July 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    I have never understood the “child leash” hate. Yes, I get that we associate leashes with pets. And, yes, if you put an older child on a leash, that would be horrifying and humiliating. But, strapping an older child without any special needs into a stroller and pushing them around would also be horrifying and humiliating. The kids I’ve seen on leashes have always been very small, usually the age where they could also ride in a stroller. For a kid who doesn’t like the stroller, a leash seems like a perfectly sound option for allowing them to walk around without worrying about them running off.

    I don’t think that using any of a wide variety of reasonable safety precautions for toddlers and preschoolers is somehow anti-free-range, as if free range would mean allowing children, from the time they can walk, to just run off wherever they want. To me, the idea is to have your parenting be informed by reality, not irrational fear. It’s irrational fear that would stop you from allowing your 10 year old to walk to the bus stop alone because you think they might be kidnapped, when such events are exceedingly rare. It’s not irrational fear to be concerned that your 2 year old might dash out into the street if not well-supervised or contained, because 2 year olds do stuff like that all the time.

    And, when kids are too little to reason, and too little to have much self-control or awareness of risk, often your best bets as a parent are things like redirection, containment, and supervision, rather than trying to teach skills they are simply not ready to learn yet. My 2 year old is not ready to learn how to safely cross the street. He just isn’t. That isn’t a failure on my part as a parent, or on his as a child, but just a developmental reality. In a couple of years, he’ll be ready to start learning. Until then, it wouldn’t be “free range” to allow him to run across the street any time he wanted; it would just be irresponsible.

  63. Kay July 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    I don’t know if it’s because my kids are too far apart (just shy of three years) but I have never seen the need to use the hand on the car at any point. I think I did have then hold onto the cart when walking to the car. Older child either got out last or got in first perhaps, nobody was lingering outside the car from what I recall.

    I would not be so inclined as to how to tell a parent of a child with autism how to do it as there are different degrees and a parent knows best what works or doesn’t with their kid.

  64. SKL July 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I registered for a baby shower in 2007. I am still getting “targeted ads” for diapers and formula. It gets old. You’d think they would have the technical ability to at least send me stuff for older kids as the years go by.

    Personally I used the “spank their butt” method when all else failed. (Which was rare, because they learn amazingly fast that insubordination does not pay.) Doesn’t cost a cent, as long as no busybodies call 911 to report you….

  65. Dirk July 8, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    Every store does this too. Target for example records your transactions if you use a credit card (especially their own in store credit card which is why using it comes with such a heavy discount on merch) and they will tailor coupons they send to your home to match what you have bought before, so if you bought baby formula once they send you coupons for more and for diapers and what have you. Of course Google does it to as another example. Look at the ads on the your computer screen right now. They match what you have bought before and the websites you have visited before!

  66. K July 8, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Our penalty pal?

    Walk five steps up and sit. Until the timer goes off. The longer it takes you to get there? The longer the time-out.

    There is not much you can do on the stairs.

  67. A Dad July 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Need to make that the “Wide World of Worry”. IE: “WWW”

  68. Kaetlyn July 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    I am dying laughing over the astonishing redundancy of “parking pal.” For when “hold on the the door handle while I get your brother out,” just isn’t enough?

  69. pentamom July 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Kaetlyn — think more cynical. People are teaching their kids to hold onto the door handle. Nobody is making money off of people teaching their kids to hold onto the door handle.

    However, if people can be convinced that touching a magnet is “more fun,” then people can sell magnets, and make money!

    The souls of people who figure out ways to monetize routine human behavior by convincing MMTB* people that using a gizmo to do it is substantially more exciting, must be rather dark and moldy places.**

    *MMTB — an expression of my bil’s: More Money Than Brains

    **Yes, in some cases like Dolly’s something like this could help a child with focus issues to focus. But I’m talking about the child-rearing-industrial complex’s generalized tendency to capitalize on people who think their lives are substantially improved by doing routine things with colorful plastic as opposed to doing them in more basic ways.

  70. K2 July 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Helmets are more likely for plagiocephaly (flat spot) than that the kid might bump their head. The helmet forces the new growth to be in the flat area helping to reshape the head. It isn”t perfect, but is worth doing if a baby gets a flat spot due to being put to sleep on their back.

  71. anonymous mom July 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I keep getting FB ads for paternity testing. Perhaps my husband should be worried.

  72. Dirk July 9, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    The use a penalty pal in my kids school.

  73. lihtox July 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    All I’m imagining with those magnets is what happens if they happen to be on the opposite side of the car from where you’re standing.
    “Stay right here! Don’t run around the car.”
    “No, Dad, we have to put our hands on the stickers!”
    “No, just stay here a moment and then we can…oh ok. *sigh*”

    When you give a child an over-specific rule, it *will* come back to haunt you. 🙂

  74. Katie G July 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    I agree that as these products go, this one isn’t too bad. Especially for parents with kids who need a little assist. Necessary? Far from it. Bad idea? Not really.

  75. Amanda Matthews July 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    The Parking Pall seems nothing but unsafe to me. I have seen many more cars hit other cars in parking lots than a kid (actually I have never seen a kid hit in a parking lot nor even heard of it around myself…). If a kid runs in front of your car and you can’t stop in time, the natural reaction is going to be to swerve and hit a car instead of a kid. So it seems to me a runner is actually safer than a kid that can not be seen from 3 sides of a car, and probably can not see around the car, who is going to be crushed under their own car or pinned between their car and another if their car is hit.

    I had a car smashed beyond repair in a parking lot, while I was putting groceries in the trunk – I had to grab my daugher and jump out of the way. So I’m sure that biases me. But I’d rather my kids be looking around themselves, not just thinking they are safe because their hand is on the Parking Pal. Even my autistic kid can understand to look around for cars and not run in front of them. And I know that every kid is different. But if a kid can run then they can climb into the car. Maybe not into the seat, maybe they can’t buckle themselves in – but they can climb into the car and stand there while you get any smaller kids in. So as long as the “runner” is always the first one in and the last one out I don’t see why this is necessary. If you have multiple “runners” then it is most likely a parenting flaw rather than a child flaw.