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Vehicle: Airplane: Noise
Baby Helmet   (+6, -3)  [vote for, against]
Can't you keep that baby quiet?

It may come as a surprise to those who are not parents; it was a surprise to me, recently. But sometimes babies simply have to cry just because that's what babies do (or at least they're suffering something that, as far as we know can't be addressed). Babies who are fed, diapered, not too hot, not too cold, not sleepy, not irritated by scratchy clothing labels, etc., still sometimes cry for surprisingly long periods, and refuse to be consoled. It turns out that babies seem to suffer no harm from this. The real suffering is borne by the parents and anyone else unfortunate enough to be trapped within hearing range.

So considerate parents don't take babies to movies, plays, church, and similar places. But inconsiderate parents do, and innocent people suffer as a result. Perhaps more problematic is a crying baby on an airplane. After all, you or the offending family can leave the movie theater. And even considerate parents sometimes find it necessary to fly with a colicky infant.

So I'd like to see a full- or nearly-full-enclosure helmet sized for a baby's head, with the following features:

1) It would be highly (though perhaps not fully) soundproof.

2) It would be padded for optimal comfort inside.

3) It would have an effective climate control system to keep things from getting too hot or humid inside.

4) It would have an effective air exchange system.

5) It would have a speaker system inside that could play messages from the mother either from a microphone or from a recording, or it could play music or white noise or the sound of an automobile, vacuum cleaner, or dryer (all useful for soothing babies from time to time).

6) It would have a microphone feeding headphones that could be worn by mom or dad if desired, to monitor the baby's progress (if the baby gets into real trouble, you can hear a change in the tone of the crying).

7) It would be designed so that it could be removed with absolute minimum disturbance to the baby, should the baby cry itself to sleep.

I'd think every airline, theater, and church would want to have these on hand, possibly for a rental fee, for parents who didn't bring their own. I also think you might want to ban their use by anyone other than the baby's parents, since the parents care enough about the baby to not use the helmet to escape a legitimate responsibility, like feeding or changing diapers, etc., but I'd be afraid they might be abused by some babysitters, daycare workers, etc.
-- beauxeault, May 31 2002

gizmo's scream box http://www.halfbake...m/idea/scream_20box
You want a baby-sized one of these? [pottedstu, May 31 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

I find a little Seconol keeps helps quiet them down considerably.
-- phoenix, May 31 2002

A great deal of baby crying on aircraft is caused by ear discomfort (for the baby - the rest of us listening to it is a given). The very simple cure for this is to give the baby a drink. They have to swallow the liquid, and the pressure is equalised. This is more important during the descent rather than climb. The trick is to start early, before the crying starts. And, as a bonus, having their mouth full muffles the crying too.

Works for all ages, doesn't matter what you drink - it's the swallowing that does the trick.
-- drew, May 31 2002

I've always thought that sometimes babies cry like that, apparently for no reason, as a form of energy release. I mean, what else is there to do?
-- waugsqueke, May 31 2002

Does initiation into the mile-high club work too - for swallowing that is?
-- barnzenen, Jun 05 2002

If it makes your ears pop....
-- drew, Jun 05 2002

Croissant. As the oldest of six kids, I have grown to detest the sound of babies crying. Anything that shuts them up gets my vote.
-- stupop, Jun 05 2002

As long as you don't say it was me who taught you to swear like that.
-- stupop, Jun 05 2002

As good as your reasons are, beaux, the helmet doesn't work for me. I may be one of the few sane adults, and apparently the only five-siblinged one (second of six; I empathize, stu) who believes that babies do have reasons for crying.

Often, when we think they're crying "for no reason", they are responding to tension in their environment: a mother's unhappiness, conflict between parents or adult caregivers, fear of some kind. When a child cries for these reasons, I think it's important to pay attention to her cry -- not just out of concern for her, but because her response is a signal of real feelings or forces we adults may otherwise ignore.

I also know that such a helmet would block my access to that wonderful baby-head smell, one of the best sensory experiences of life on earth. Sorry, fishbone.
-- 1percent, Jun 05 2002

If people had the courtesy to take their howling maggots away where they didn't bother the innocent, I wouldn't care. But having to listen to some idiot's brat screech all through the last movie I went to, because they didn't want to miss anything, is not cool.
-- StarChaser, Jun 07 2002

Excepting the term "howling maggot," SC, I agree with you.

1p, I'm sure you're right that there is always a reason for a baby's cry. I used the term "that's what babies do" because that's what doctors tell concerned parents so they won't be paranoid if the baby cries even after they've done everything they can to comfort her. But surely there must be a reason, even if it is, as many suggest, just to relieve tension. Anyway, my concern that the helmet would cause a parent to miss an important cue is exactly why I included feature no. 6. Did you miss that one?
-- beauxeault, Jun 07 2002

What type of self-centered, inhuman and asocial people are you? Yes, I agree, babies can be annoying when they cry for long periods of time but my neighbor's dog, barking all day and night, or the dozen obnoxious drivers I meet every morning on the road make me sicker than a defenseless child who we all were a long time ago. I guess we all have to grow into responsible adults at some point in time, but everyone at their own pace, some never reaching that point it seems like.
-- momandworker, Jun 22 2003

//full- or nearly-full-enclosure helmet sized for a baby's head//

Schrödinger's baby?

As you can't possibly know weather the baby is alive and sleeping or lying dead in there, you can say you have 0.5 babies.

Perhaps that's where the average family of 2.3 children came from.

I thought this idea would be a toddler helmet to protect themselves from the completely slapstick self-abuse they seem to be compelled to subject themselves to. Now, that would be worth a croissant (especially if combined with a gel cooling pack).
-- FloridaManatee, Jun 22 2003

I can't believe "Sport Whaling" got thoroughly thrashed but the notion of putting soundproof boxes onto babies heads seems to be favorably received. Baby noise is real life, in all its sprawling, stinky, painful, beautiful splendor.
-- bungston, Jun 22 2003

[bungston]: Notice that they're not hunting the babies in the helmets. By the current count, the reaction to this idea is actually about neutral.
-- Cedar Park, Jun 23 2003

Sorry, but [bungston]s got my vote. This sounds inhumane and open to abuse. Possibly causing claustrophobia in later life.

What good is a cocoon going to be to a baby. They learn through interaction with their environment....(-)
-- silverstormer, Jun 23 2003

random, halfbakery