Parenting

Kickstarter for parents: Inventions that need to happen

Are you the inventing type? Please, please, please invent these products. Countless parents will thank you.

a little child and their dog hiding together on a bed

Photo: Stocksy

As a kid, my favourite recurring road trip fantasy (that didn’t involve leaving my brother at a rest stop) was thinking about what it would be like to have a TV built into the back of the seat directly in front of me. Of course, there were two things that I could not yet comprehend: that it would take less than one generation for my pipe dream to come to fruition, and that as badly as I thought I wanted this amazing child distraction device, my parents wanted it more.

Today, my Facebook feed is filled with crowd-funding ideas that range from the practical (a winter jacket with a rechargeable heater in the lining!) to the confusing (Wet Hot American Summer fantasy camp role-playing game?). The Kickstarter website itself seems to have every category under the sun—that is, except parenting. I can’t even fathom how much sooner back-seat TVs would have become a thing if stressed, frazzled parents had been able to raise the funds on Kickstarter. I’m not sure who to talk to, but I’ve come up with a few ideas to get this category going. If you’re the inventing type, let me know.

Kibble designed for pets and children Everyone knows toddlers love pet food, and everyone knows we’re not supposed to let our toddlers eat pet food. But what if a serving of kibble contained 60 percent of your child’s daily vitamin B12 requirements and 50 percent of his iron requirements and also helped your cat maintain her shiny coat? Someone, please develop a deliciously nutritious recipe. Pet owners and parents of picky eaters everywhere will thank you.

Sunscreen pills The only thing I truly dislike about summer (and tropical vacations) is the constant sunscreen application. I have to chase my three kids around the house with a tube, stick and bottle (each of them likes a different kind) and hold them down while they scream and I slather and spray. By the time we get outside, it’s basically time to reapply. I’m sure there is a science-y person out there who can invent a (chewable!) broad-spectrum sunscreen pill.

A melanoma slideshow If, for some crazy reason, the above is not doable (though as someone who took science as recently as 25 years ago, I feel like it could totally happen), I would like a melanoma slideshow on the Internet—the kind that will trick my kids into watching and scare them into lining up for sunscreen every three hours. I see it involving A-listers like Peppa Pig and Skye from Paw Patrol. Soundtrack optional.

A kid whistle Why no one has invented this yet is truly beyond me. According to Wikipedia, the maximum upper range of hearing is about 20 kilohertz for children and 15 kilohertz for middle-aged adults. Let’s take advantage of that high-frequency hearing and make this fantasy a reality today. Imagine how much calmer trips to the grocery store would be.

Parking-lot babysitting services How many times have you arrived at the mall or grocery store only to realize that your child has fallen asleep in the back seat? What if there was a complimentary service offered by the store where an early-childhood educator (or a very mature teenager, depending on your level of anxiety as a parent) would sit with your sleeping child in your car? This service would pay for itself in a day, not only because of all the impulse purchases (I can finally try on clothes/buy a new bra!) but also because people would drive there to shop even when they don’t need anything rather than sitting in their driveways, waiting for their kids to wake up.

A grooming salon for kids I’m not talking about a kids’ haircutting place or nail salon but rather a reasonably priced spot where we could drop our kids off for one-stop grooming—nails and a hair wash—once a week (I see a membership structure working here). The kids would love it! (Don’t ask me why—if I knew the answer to that one, I wouldn’t actually need this place.) Note: The fancier spots could also offer special one-off services, like delousing and splinter removal.

Space food My daughter tried space ice cream at school recently and loved it—not necessarily because it was ice cream but because it was dehydrated and exciting. Is it that big of a stretch to ask the people at NASA to share their branding so we can dehydrate some nice chicken and kale and call it space food? Prep and cleanup would be so much easier. Heck, the kids could even eat it in the car on their way to the groomer.

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