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Parental Panic Balloon

Re-capture wayward kids without the usual screaming
  [vote for,

Again. That moment of panic. I turn round and my beloved 5-year-old is not where he was ten seconds ago. I know he’s just developing his independence, and of course he’s fine – he’ll appear from behind the shelf of Spiderman toys and give me that look that somehow manages to combine an innocent “What?” with a cutting “don’t be so neurotic” – but I can’t help the panic. How could I possibly explain to his mother?

So, from now on…Strapped to my son, a compact container with a helium reservoir, a radio receiver, an alarm sounder, and a deflated tethered balloon with “I’m Here” on it. In my pocket, a simple Tx with a single red button. Thus armed, we head for the packed, noisy fun-fair that he’s been reminding me about every ten seconds for the last week.

Now if he wanders off out of sight, I hit the button. The continuous “it’s OK” transmission is cut, the helium is triggered, and up goes the balloon, off goes the alarm. I re-capture wayward sprog, with a minimum of parental panic, screaming, and subsequent shouting at child. All happy.

Frankx, Jul 31 2006

Lost child locator Lost_20child_20locator
[wagster, Aug 01 2006]


       I assume this is a balloon which provides slightly less upwards force, or buoyancy, than the weight of your child?
hippo, Jul 31 2006

       //I assume this is a balloon which provides slightly less upwards force, or buoyancy, than the weight of your child?//

Sure, with excess boyouncy, the little monster is gone for a few weeks. But that's good! It provides a much needed respite for everyone.
ldischler, Jul 31 2006

       Excellent idea.   

       Great idea one possible improvement would be a teleport home option. Achevied with a lot more helium in the balloon a GPS navigation system, Sonar radar and a propeller attached to the childs back.   

       Now when you press the button balloon inflates child rises 3 feet off the ground propeller cuts in and with the help of the GPS and Sonar makes its way safely back to you. BUN
Braindead, Jul 31 2006

       Strapping a helium canister to a young'un is a bomb waiting to happen. He'd probably strangle himself on the balloon string. I say modify your idea to use electric shock instead of a highly flamable noose. #1 You can hear them yelp when you give them a jolt. #2 It reinforces the hazards of wandering off. Yes, electric shock...
MoreCowbell, Aug 01 2006

       "And in local news, little Tommy Jones was suffocated to death yesterday, when his Parental Panic Balloon activated while he was hiding in a small closet. Disraught father Albert Jones is being held by police after shooting crackpot inventor Frankx."
DrCurry, Aug 01 2006

       Try a telescopic flag instead, if you're worried about accidental balloon inflation.

//Strapping a helium canister to a young'un is a bomb waiting to happen// - er, [MoreCowbell], last time I checked, helium was inert, not explosive.
neutrinos_shadow, Aug 01 2006

       // last time I checked, helium was inert, not explosive.// [neutrinos_shadow] Hey just because my father was my high school chemistry teacher doesn't mean I was paying attention!
MoreCowbell, Aug 01 2006

       Ah, but helium stored at ~3000PSI can make a pretty good boom nonetheless.
Custardguts, Aug 01 2006

       Yes! A telescopic flag instead...   

       Umm, at what speed, and with how much power would that extend? I can think of a lot of situations where a three foot tall child with something extending from his back could be at least as bad as the balloon.
ye_river_xiv, Aug 01 2006

       Why not just use a 12 gauge high performance aerial flare? Be fun to see when your kid is in one of those McDonalds Playland things.
NotTheSharpestSpoon, Aug 01 2006

       as seen on mythbusters, it takes a large amount of helium to get a kid airborne so that's not a problem. The flare gun might be dangerous. A batman style homing beacon might be better. Implanted electronics are better in case a child is kidnapped.
vmaldia, Aug 01 2006

       Anything that is not one of those child leashes that always looks so embarrassing for both the child and parent is probably a good idea.   

       Thanks [DrCurry], "crackpot inventor" is a great compliment.   

       Perhaps the remote control could trigger airbags in young'uns jacket and trousers, both immobilising and protecting him, while I track him down with the batmanesque homing beacon.
Frankx, Aug 01 2006

       Did this before (link), but without the rf trigger (bun). Ironically, if you look at my idea's links you will see that it wasn't exactly the first take on this theme either.
wagster, Aug 01 2006

       Very generous of you to bun this, [wagster], thanks. I'm learning...more research before posting...
Frankx, Aug 01 2006

       nice idea [wagster], [Frankx], I'm always amused when I see an idea like this, think wow, what a cool idea, then follow the link and think 'wow, what a cool idea, I can't believe someone thought of that two years ago', and then go to bun in and realise I already have.
neilp, Aug 01 2006

       It's a great idea, but baked on this site already, so credit must first go to its predecessors.
xenzag, Aug 01 2006


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