It’s four in the morning, and the screams begin again. They’ve come every hour since you put the baby to sleep at 7 PM, and they’ve lasted for a half-hour each time. As a result, it’s a half-hour awake with them, and then a half-hour back to sleep before the screams start again. Isn’t there some sort of quick fix to this issue? Can anything be done?
Recent news reports out of Japan have revealed a device designed to curb the screaming of a young child in an extremely cruel and unusual way. Yes, believe it or not, a company called Kagao has invented a device that can only be deemed as…a baby muzzle. The wrap-around face mask could be equated to what Batman supervillain Bane wore on his head in a recent installment of the movie series, and honestly, given the fact that both Bane and babies have bald heads, this terrible device may double as a Halloween costume for misbehaving children this year.
While these reports may be a hoax or some joke in poor taste, it’s not a far stretch to think that this could be the latest ploy in attempting to stifle our children. If we were to take a look into the past to see what other sorts of devices might be similar to this particularly inhumane one, our findings might be a bit more than surprising. We’ve compiled a list of some of the other inventions intended to shut kids up, keep them in line, or simply stifle them in ways that don’t seem particularly healthy.
It all began with the child leash…otherwise known as the child tether, child harness, or walking reins.
Chances are you’ve seen one of these devices. You’re driving around your neighborhood, when suddenly you notice that there’s a woman out on a walk with her child, and it appears as though she’s got them confused with her dog, as they’re connected to a leash, which she has a firm grip on. The device came about approximately ten years ago, but has steadily been gaining popularity since its inception. These days, most of the devices have a less harsh appearance than they once did: a little backpack might serve to camouflage the leash, for instance. Even so, the stigma remains. Many women who decide to lead their child around on this kind of device will receive many cold stares, and even heavy criticism from those around them.
Even so, some wonder if there might be merits to such devices. Some children have conditions that cause them to spontaneously and sporadically run away from their parents, which could be a safety hazard, or at the very least extremely frustrating. Many argue that these leashes may prevent children from getting hit by cars or even abducted.
So in short, the jury’s out on the leashes as far as benefits, but one could at least begin to argue both sides.
So where does that leave these newfound baby muzzles?
It’s hard to say. Most parents in their right mind would likely be adamantly opposed to the idea; however, if they’ve been up for longer than 24 hours, constantly berated by the incessant screaming of their wee one, it’s possible that they might entertain notions of it. Regardless, it’s safe to say that this product is about as inhumane as they come, and no infant, no matter how loud and constant their cries may be deserves to be muzzled by one of these horrendous devices.
Think about it.
Crying is a crucial part of an infant’s growth.
Babies cry most often when they’re hungry, and they’re hungry almost all the time. They’re at the earliest stage of life and they’re growing in size at an exponential pace, so they constantly need nourishment. If a parent muzzles their baby, they will not be able to determine when this child desperately needs food, which in and of itself is poor parenting. Depriving a child the ability to express their needs is downright cruel.
There’s a multitude of other reasons why a child might cry besides hunger, too: they’re cold, hot, tired, wet, or, quite simply, they just want to be held. If a baby simply desires the arms of their parent, but they are muzzled, you might never realize this. Stopping an infant’s expression with this device is just plain unhealthy any way you slice it, regardless of how annoyed you are with them.
Instead of a muzzle, why not just opt for the old favorite? Yes, of course I’m talking about the pacifier, colloquially referred to as the “passy” or “binkie”.
The beautiful thing about this device is that its main intent is not to silence your baby, but to emulate the shape and texture of a mother’s nipple to make them more acclimated to breastfeeding, a totally legitimate objective. But, while the pacifier is in the child’s mouth, naturally they are preoccupied enough with it to the point that they’re unable to cry. This is definitely the way to go if your child begins having excessive outbursts.
Every expectant parent book you read before you brought your child into this world has prepared you for this, no? I can guarantee that even the least helpful volumes made no mention of a device designed to muzzle the cries of your newborn.
I say we need to put away the child muzzle for more humane devices—or, better yet, just care for your child to the best of their abilities so that they won’t be upset, easier said than done to be sure, but worth the efforts. It’s what you signed up for when you became a parent, after all. To muzzle your baby is immature and a complete cop-out.
Given what’s going on in the world today, there are far more adults who need their actual words stifled than children who need their screams silenced. What we really need are muzzles for some full-sized adults!