‘Smart crib’ a dream come true for moms

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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