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Disciplinary Child Car Seat

Tired of threatening, "Don't make me stop this car!"? Well, now you don't have to.
  (+11, -20)(+11, -20)
(+11, -20)
  [vote for,

Any parent who has a small child (and especially, those with more than one) knows how annoying their spawn can be when they get bored in the car. Sure, we try to keep them entertained with books, toys, food and incessantly repetitive sing-along tapes that warble from having been played a thousand times too many. But there are times when none of these will satisfy, and the child will cry, scream, and critically injure himself trying to escape the government-mandated plastic half-carapace he's strapped into.

Obviously, this is an unsafe situation. A driver whose ears are bleeding due to a two-year-old's piercing screams cannot recognize audio cues from the traffic around him. Likewise, one cannot monitor the stream of cars around his vehicle, nor his vehicle's place within it, if he is constantly watching the rear view mirror in horrified fascination as his youngster engages in inventive forms of self-mutilation in order to Houdini himself free.

It is in times like these that children need a little bit of old-fashioned discipline, delivered via newfangled technology. Thus, I propose the electric car seat. This is a car seat with a built-in stun gun, which can be controlled from a switch mounted on the steering column. Remarkably simple, incredibly effective and incapable of causing permanent injury.

Yes, this is a perfectly serious proposition. No, I am not a sadistic child-torturer, but rather a loving disciplinarian. Just a couple of details--I am not proposing a device with the strength of the stun guns you get at personal security stores (about 100,000 to 300,000 volts). I am talking voltage that would be roughly equivalent to a swift spank on a bare thigh (5,000 volts, maybe? 2,500? Obviously, this will have to be determined through testing. Volunteers?). The electrodes would be placed towards the front edge of the seat, where they would shock the child just above the back of the knees--they would NOT be placed in the seat, where they might shock some very sensitive places, or perform too well in the presence of a wet diaper. At no time should this car seat be used on a child of less than two years old.

I'm not asking to get flamed for this proposed invention, although I'm certain I'll take some heat from the anti-discipline crowd. However, I believe that providing swift, effective discipline when necessary is preferable to endangering yourself, your children, and others on the road by allowing your kids to make you stressed out, angry and distracted.

Guncrazy, Oct 14 2001

US Army Patent Guide, with Stun Gun Example http://www.amc.army...uments/patguide.pdf
If you'd like to build a prototype on an existing car seat, you can reference this schematic... [Guncrazy, Oct 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Much easier in the long run http://www.amazon.c...103-8450764-9565462
Read this and break the cycle. Increase the peace! [daruma, Oct 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

A second source http://www.amazon.c...103-8450764-9565462
Takes from Kvols' work [daruma, Oct 14 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       I think a car seat that entertains would be more effective. Laser light displays on the ceiling, back massages, encapsulating screen showing 3D virtual reality playground, car seat goes up and down with the seesaw etc to create realistic motion.
Helium, Oct 14 2001

       I've addressed the issue of entertaining the kid in the product description--it doesn't always work. Sometimes, the kid just wants OUT of the car seat, to be free to climb the seats, hang halfway out the windows and play with the door handles. Entertaining the kid is not always feasible, and interrupting your journey is not always acceptable.   

       Lasers hold kids' attention no better than they do a grown cat's attention, and will do nothing to distract a toddler from his mission of escape. Besides, if the kid gets ahold of the laser unit, he's quite likely to point it straight into his eye and stare. Why? For the same reason hundreds of toddlers are admitted to ER's each year for bleach ingestion.   

       A back massager? If a kid isn't sleepy to begin with, he's not likely to appreciate a back massage--and probably won't want one even if he is ready for bed.   

       As for a 3-D virtual reality playground built into the seat, well, it's a nice fantasy, but realistically impossible. The cost would be prohibitive, it would add quite a few pounds (very inconvenient when moving it), and the power requirements could not be met by most cars' current wiring systems.   

       Suggestions appreciated, but I somehow doubt that you're a parent.
Guncrazy, Oct 14 2001

       PS: Actually, most people who have survived beyond the suicidal years of infancy are fairly courteous to the driver:
Driver: makes sexist remark
Woman in back seat: smacks guy riding shotgun in back of head
Guy riding shotgun: "Hey! Why'd you hit me?"
WiBS: "I can't hit him, he's driving."
nick_n_uit, Oct 14 2001

       Cheech and Chong: "I'm too f*cked up to roll the joint, I'll drive"
thumbwax, Oct 14 2001

       [Guncrazy] Yes I am a parent who managed to get through the toddler years without considering shock treatment for my children.   

       Maybe they should have have the power to shock you from the back seat to stimulate your imagination.
Helium, Oct 14 2001

       What? You mean you let them out of the trunk? That's just on the long trips, right?
Guy Fox, Oct 15 2001

       However, I am not adverse to using shock treatment on partners - as seen on my Anti-Snore Device.
Helium, Oct 15 2001

       Stun young children with 5,000 volts, in the 'car : safety' category?
sdm, Oct 15 2001

       [sdm]: Well, I couldn't find a "Child: Discipline" category.   

       [Helium]: My imagination works quite well, but the product it comes up with needs to be practical. Without the requirement of practicality, I suppose I could propose "Nanobot Nannies" which morph into any plaything the child desires. But then, this product might be abused by lonely truckers on the open road, increasing the number of distracted drivers, which would defeat the original purpose.   

       [Mephista]: How is this idea inhumane? As I stated earlier, this is not to be a device that will cause their hair to stand up and their teeth to chatter. It's simply something that will cause moderate, temporary discomfort, which is exactly what corporal punishment is. Discipline is hardly "anti-child"--in fact, it is very much pro-child. Child abuse is a different matter entirely, and not what is being proposed here.   

       Perhaps I should clarify a little more. I do not envision a device which frustrated parents can use to unleash a prolonged stream of current like they do on death row. I'm talking a millisecond jolt that is, as I stated in the proposal, the equivalent of a spank.   

       However, in recognition of the fact that there are abusive parents, I'm willing to add a feature that delivers an equivalent jolt to the finger that presses the button, to discourage its injudicious use.
Guncrazy, Oct 15 2001

       A less painful alternative for the child concerned would be an airtight dome around the child’s seat that could be put in place by pressing a button on the driver’s console. This dome would then fill up with gas sedating the disruptive tyke. If this fails only *then* should you apply the electric spark. Oh….hang on…..
stupop, Oct 15 2001

       How about a soundproof barrier between you and the children? Then you get to be irresponsible, but in a nice way.
A Farrago Of Calumnies, Oct 15 2001

       [stupop]: (chuckle)...Perhaps a good anesthetizing mix of ether and oxygen?   

       [Farrago]: A soundproof barrier might solve the noise problem, but my own two-year-old daughter has gotten herself wedged into some pretty uncomfortable positions trying to escape her seat. I'm afraid she'll dislocate something someday--or else, actually escape and run off to join the circus as a contortionist. To prevent that, I still have to keep an eye on her. I suppose an alternative is to have a machine that spins children into an immobilizing coccoon. However, this is again impractical due to expense and inconvenience, and is, I think, more cruel than jolting the child for misbehavior.
Guncrazy, Oct 15 2001

       Here's an idea: no disciplinary car seats, no arguments -- hell, why use seatbelts at all? If the kid wants to move freely about the interior of the car, let him. If he doesn't cause serious injury to himself or other occupants of the vehicle by (a) crawling around on the floor, (b) whacking the driver on the head with blunt objects, or (c) opening the doors while the car is in motion, well, Darwin was wrong. Besides, if the objects surrounding the child do not constantly mollify or entertain him, what good are they?   

       I can't get behind your idea, Guncrazy ... but I see the intent. Personally, I'm anticipating the struggles today's children will encounter in adulthood -- when the largest generation in history meets unprecedented competition while applying for college, graduating, finding jobs, and making lives of their own, after two decades of constant entertainment and insulation.   

       Talk about shock treatment.
1percent, Oct 15 2001

       [Guncrazy] I have discussed my idea with a virtual reality games technician. Price would not be prohibitive as current virtual reality games use a windows 98 platform.   

       Most cars have an alternator capable of producing 80 amps at 12v. Current inverter technology requires only 20 amps DC to operate the computer system.   

       Reduction geared motors could be used to operate the motion of the car seat. These are low current devices.   

       So essentially, the entire unit could be easily run off a car battery.
Helium, Oct 15 2001

       [1percent]: Precisely why I want to discipline my kids. When parents discipline their children properly, the children quickly learn to discipline themselves.   

       [Helium]: PC-based virtual reality? I thought you were talking something closer to the Star Trek holodeck. At any rate, this sounds similar to something that is baked (although not for car use), and can be found at the entrances of Wal-Marts across the nation. Hardly what I'd call virtual reality. Still, we're talking prohibitive cost and weight. Plus, if you're hell-bent on going with such a system, you've then got a new problem--that of spoiling your kid. See 1percent's post.
Guncrazy, Oct 15 2001

       What are you people doing with children in your cars anyway? Why don't you just leave your children locked in the basement like normal folk.
quarterbaker, Oct 15 2001

       I'm talking about big boys toys here Guncrazy. The ones I've seen reproduce the movements of your body onto a screen, eg when you grasp with your hand, the hand on the screen takes hold of something. I'm sure it could be adapted for children.   

       Of course virtual reality is baked. I'm not trying to bake an idea here, I'm suggesting alternatives.   

       I think that in this computer age, when children are being encouraged to embrace technology, computer assisted toys such as this are going to be considered the norm. And your child will be no more spoiled than if he owned a trampoline.
Helium, Oct 15 2001

       Tried that, qb. Didn't work. They just kept digging their way out, with their nimble little fingers ... and then they asked for food!   

       (blissmiss): it IS too late, I fear. You would no longer recognize me; indeed, I no longer even remotely resemble my driver's license photo.   

       I now answer to the name 'YetiGirl' ...
1percent, Oct 15 2001

       So having the car seat shock the kid is supposed to make the kid want to stay in the car seat? Hmmm.   

       The idea of electrically shocking a kid seems wrong to me, as others have implied, but I wonder why. If the shock is geared to cause the same amount of pain/discomfort as a brief spank, then why does it seem so much more cruel?
PotatoStew, Oct 15 2001

       What exactly are you wanting to punish them for? Most 2 year olds like to play with the handles. That's why cars come with child locks on the doors and windows. If it's a screaming fit "tantrum", as you know this is attention seeking behaviour which is best left ignored. I suggest you invest in a pair or earmuffs, and read "Toddler Taming" by Dr Green.
Helium, Oct 15 2001

       [PotatoStew]: No, the shock isn't supposed to make the child want to stay in the car seat. It's supposed to provide a disincentive to throwing tantrums while seated. In the process, it teaches the child self-discipline, and helps direct the child's attentions to things other than escape. This makes the car trips safer and more pleasant for all involved.   

       [Helium]: I understand that tantrums are attention-seeking behavior. So are self-mutilation and getting arrested. None of these are acceptable, as far as I'm concerned, and so, since tantrums are the problem at hand, that's what I'm punishing. I'm not going to ignore it, especially if it creates an unsafe situation. Also, most cars on the road _don't_ have childproof door and window locks. As for toddler taming, I think I take my cues more from Dr. James Dobson's "Dare to Discipline."
Guncrazy, Oct 15 2001

thumbwax, Oct 15 2001

       [PotatoStew]: I think one reason why an electric shock seems more cruel is that it has been traditionally the realm of more destructive uses: capital punishment, personal defense, and interrogational torture (or is that one just a Hollywood fantasy?). But in this case it is more cruel than other forms of discipline, because it artificially inserts a level of indirection and abstraction in the discipline process that only confuses the child. The child will not be able to make the mental connection between the behavior (cause) and punishment (effect). So the child will exhibit the same behavior again and again (and feel pain again and again), not connecting the pain with the behavior until much later.   

       Worse yet, the child WILL make the association between the car seat itself and the pain. This association is very direct and fast in forming. After seeing the fuss my nephew puts up when being placed in a normal car seat, I shudder to imagine his behavior when he's sure that "car seat" = "pain".
BigBrother, Oct 15 2001

       [Guncrazy] I also have the book you mentioned as well as his other one "Discipline While you Can". Although I am not against smacking, and admit to doing it myself, I found the most effective way to deal with a tantrum was to walk out of the room and ignore it (obviously not possible in a car). My children learned very quickly that they'd get more attention with mature behaviour.   

       I'm not in US but as far as I know, all cars down under have the child lock option.   

       [thumbwax] Your annotations have become so short lately. Have you finally run out of brain space?
Helium, Oct 15 2001

       [BigBrother]: Perhaps my daughter is just exceptionally bright, but she absolutely understands the connection between her behavior and the rewards and punishments she receives. She has, in fact, understood this quite well since she was 20 months old. Of course, I recognize that not all children will be as cognitively developed, and that's why I stipulated in the product description that this was not to be used on children under two. The administration of corporal punishment to a child too young to make the connection between actions and consequences is just plain wrong. I doubt, however, that there are any normal two-year-olds who cannot establish that link.   

       Certainly, in the product manual, it would be stressed that the child be told when he was going to be shocked, and why.   

       [Helium]: Many cars sold in the US these days come standard with childproof locks. However, most of the cars on the road are older, and do not have this feature.
Guncrazy, Oct 16 2001

       A fantastic idea. I'll bun it if it automatically generates a record each time the device is deployed, to check for parents who may be in need of intervention from the authorities.   

       If anyone is truly experiencing difficulties with car-seat age children, all joking aside, I recommend the books in the link. Life-savers. Hair-savers. Antacid-savers.
daruma, Oct 16 2001

       Consider this: the kids are not "making" you angry - you *are* angry. Why? Was it the "discipline" you received as a kid? Wake up pal. Break the cycle. Seriously, shock has been used to get through to autistic kids but it is not something for normal ones. Are your kids now so tuned out to you that they are, in effect, autistic towars you? Try communication and a postive reward structure. Physical punishment means you are "parenting" at a very primitive level. Please seek help. You do realize, don't you, that if a social service agent, identifies you as one who appears to be planning to use electricity to shock a child (an infant?) you are going to be investigated as a child abuser. Is that what you really are?
boogabooga, Jun 23 2002

       Folks, there seems to be some ignorance here regarding electric shocks. Haven't you ever rubbed your shoes across a carpet on a cold day, just so you could build up a static-electric charge and shock someone? Don't you know that little dinky shock is easily more than 10,000 Volts? And you know full well that while such shocks are pretty startling, they are basically harmless to anyone not depending on a pacemaker. I suspect that Guncrazy was not desiring to do any worse than that, to the kids in the car. (Seems like a modern version of the old joke about using a 2x4 on a mule, which supposedly is necessary just to get his attention....) As for generating the shock, a piezoelectric crystal will do fine. For an example of a piezoelectric spark(shock) generator, see existing gadgets that are sold in stores, as fire-starters for backyard grills.
Vernon, Jun 23 2002

       If I had children I'd just love giving them electric shocks everytime they misbehaved in the car.
Writers note: Any sarcasm perceived in the above statement is real and thoroughly well perceived.
kaz, Jun 23 2002

       I'm not a child psychologist by any means, but if you have to resort to shocking your child, maybe something is wrong with the way you discipline them in the first place? And what was that about self mutilation? Is that common amoung small children?
notme, Dec 02 2002

       Leave the kid home.
horripilation, Dec 03 2002

       A simple solution could be a dog shock collar around a wrist or an ankle. I believe they make them with remotes. You'd probably need to tone down the shock though, I'm told they're quite strong.   

       Note- I'm not advocating the use here, but can see the parents want for it.
Gisch, Sep 24 2003

       There's a stun gun on the market that operates by distrupting the brain waves. Instant, painless knockout. Maybe a needle full of tranquilizer would be another alternative. Or some knockout gas.   

       Discipline is not what's called for in this case. You just want instant quiet.
Eugene, Sep 24 2003

       //Tired of threatening, "Don't make me stop this car!"?//   

       I could be mistaken, but this is probably the root of the problem. If you want to have any kind of positive effect on a child's behaviour, you don't waste your time threatening; you stop the car, put down the book, turn off the television, or otherwise drag yourself away from whatever important grown up thing it is you are doing and actually give the child 15 seconds of your undivided attention. Don't threaten to stop the car when Junior is trying to hang himself with the seatbelt and screaming bloody murder, just pull over, take care of whatever life threatening crisis is going on back there, and continue your trip.   

       For pete's sake, if you are sitting less than three feet from them anyway, and you're both strapped in for the duration, how hard is it give them some attention by talking to them? I am one of those people who advocate interacting with your child to avoid the screaming fits in the first place; it's not like it's difficult t get them playing a simple game while you're driving.   

       In the country, we played 'Mine" {Count all horses as mine, but not cows}, and in the city, we played "Fruit Salad". {naming the colors of vehicles after fruit; cherry, banana, orange, apple...when a yellow car goes by, you say banana.} These are easy enough little games that they aren't distracting to the busy driver, a bright two year old can pick up on them, and by the time they're three they become keen observers of their surroundings. Is it silly to drive around calling out banana, apple, cherry? Maybe to a grown up, but not to a small child. To a small child, you are playing *WITH* them, which to most small children is the most important thing you can do all day anyway.
little dog laughed, Sep 25 2003

       Luckily for me my step son is 5 now and would rather be in a car on the motorway than anywhere else. When he was 18 months or so though he wasn't quite so keen. He also did many of the things mentioned above but never for very long. Why not for long? Because we talked to him, played games (go [LDL]) and if it got *really* bad we stopped for a while. There's a novel idea. You seriously cannot plan a trip involving littl'uns the same as you plan for adults. Give yourself extra time.   

       As for shocking them to shut them up.....I am speechless. I couldn't care less if the shock only has the force of a smack. I've never smacked him once and have never considered it necessary.
squeak, Sep 25 2003

       Just a measure of how the HB has changed over time, that this horrific idea has an even number of positive and negative votes.
bungston, Aug 16 2004

       They eventually grow up, I'm sure you can handle the noise, tantrums, and general hair-ripping thoughts for a decade or so.
krigre55, Nov 29 2007

       <hypothesis>The punishments we inflict on our children are proxies or representations of the punishments that the world (both society and the laws of physics) will inflict on them if we fail to prepare them adequately. The sooner and better a child understands these 'real-world' consequences of bad behaviour, the less the need for artificial punishment 'consequences'.</hypothesis>   

       Some time when the child is quietly at home, maybe at bed time, give them some unsparingly graphic descriptions of road accidents and their aftermath. Then explain *that's* why you have to stay strapped in and not distract daddy when he's driving. This will be more memorable than a smack (manual or electronic), and at the same time it will place parent and child on the same side against a challenging world, instead of pitting parent against child.   

       You may then still have to do *some* yelling, when the child forgets, but probably less. (Maybe it depends on the child's personality).
pertinax, Nov 30 2007

       Your child will hate you forever if you do this. Literally. One of my best friends was spanked and diciplined when he was younger. He is now mentally unstable and loves the very idea of Saw-style murdering. All thanks to his parents. Sure, not all kids are like that, but many have the potential.   

       Oh, before I forget, electric shocks do NOT help with anything! My trigger-happy friend tased me thrice for scientific purposes. It hurts quite a bit, and might very well be the next step around corporal punishment laws.   

       By the way, did you know that, after the taser pins are imbedded into your skin and the charge released, another charge may be sent from the same pins at any time? I knew police tazers did that, but I didn't know that civilian tazers were the same. And the charge seems to hurt even more, because the nerves in the arm are in the process of relaxing and recovering. In a few years, this could be mobile shock therapy! (My shock count is now 4: 3 barb shocks and a Drive Stun. I do not recommend it.)
Shadow Phoenix, Dec 01 2007

       Bad idea, not only because it is inhuman but also I don't think it will work. You will have to increase the voltage as the child gets used to it.   

       I hope you are not in mental health business..
can1073, Dec 02 2007

       // You will have to increase the voltage as the child gets used to it. //   

       Surely if the voltage is high enough to begin with ... ?
8th of 7, Dec 03 2007

       you gotta remember that most kids would probably grok the consequences of their distracting emanations rather quickly, so the power of shocking them into submission would only last a few rides in the car. i see this as a very humane method of rapidly training them +   

       p.s. i have two kids, one of them permanently stuck in the terrible-twos phase, so i speak from experience.
TIB, Dec 03 2007


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