‘Smart crib’ a dream come true for moms
NEW babies don’t come with instruction manuals, so paediatrician Harvey Karp set out to create one for bewildered new parents, with a five-step plan for what to do when a baby cries.
His book, Happiest Baby on the Block, was first published in 2002. It became required reading for new parents, and has since been translated into 25 languages and sold millions of copies.
Now, working with Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers and an industrial designer, the Los Angeles paediatrician has programmed his instructions into a hi-tech bassinet he claims will help babies cry less and sleep more.
The smart crib is the latest twist on some ageold techniques that Karp popularised for parents who are raising children increasingly on their own.
About half of newborns cry or fuss for two hours a day, and about 15% cry or fuss for three hours or longer, Karp estimates.
His book outlines a reason for excessive crying.
Babies are born too soon – while their heads can still fit through the birth canal but before their brains and bodies are quite prepared for the wider world. The first three months are known as the “fourth trimester”, and soothing a baby becomes a job of imitating conditions of the womb.
Infants like to be tightly packed, carried around, surrounded by whooshing sounds. And Karp spells out a five-S solution for doing this: swaddling babies, putting them in a side or stomach position, shushing them, swinging them, and offering them something to suck on.”
Karp is working with some universities to study the effectiveness of his crib, the Snoo, which sells for $1 160 (R14 892) as a tool for soothing babies. It is kitted out with microphones that pick up a baby’s cries and respond accordingly, switching to a fast jiggling motion and louder white noise when baby is upset, then slowing to a gentle swing when baby falls asleep again. – Washington Post