The toddler helmet: More chazerai for worried parents

The Pediatric Insider

© 2013 Roy Benaroch, MD

I didn’t learn a whole lot of Yiddish growing up—just a handful of choice words, words that stick in your throat and say something that can’t be expressed in less-earthy English. One great word that I’d heard my Nanny use was “Chazerai,” said with great disdain when passing by some kind of junk that no one needed to buy. I’m still not 100% sure what it means, and I’m certainly not sure how to spell it. Try to say it, chazerai. It starts at the back of your mouth, and creeps out the front with a sly smile. It says, “That’s junk, and I know it’s junk, and you really ought to know it’s junk, too.”

A few weeks ago I wrote about some chazerai for sale, a floating neck collar to suspend your child in a pool, head out, body dangling. Sure, it was noted in several comments that babies drowned in this thing. And it shockingly seemed to be shipped in gender-inappropriate colors, too. Kills babies, wrong color, that’s chazerai.

Now here’s more chazerai: protective helmets for toddlers to wear, to protect their fragile noggins from the bumps and falls that inevitably plague our youths. Because falling down isn’t something that has been happening to human babies for thousands of years, and they’d never make it through these tender years with a bruise on their foreheads.

Real products you can buy from Amazon:

The Oopsie Baby Headguard Baby Safety Helmet – very cute baby in the photo – looks like a terry cloth version of the Mawashi that sumo wresters wear. Kind of a thong, for the head.

The No-Shock Helmet includes a visor reminiscent of the kind motorcycle cops wear. If your baby is driving a motorcycle, or is a police officer, she needs this helmet.

The Jolly Jumper Bumper Bonnet Toddler Head Cushion’s page again features a cute baby, this time right near a DEADLY TABLE WITH LOOMING CORNERS. Unfortunately, the product itself looks like a deranged parent plopped a diaper on a baby’s head rather than his bottom.

The Thudguard Baby Protective Safety Helmet comes in a pink/black/blue camo pattern for babies in the military who need to remain hidden when they visit Baby Gap. And it has big black bunny ears!

I suppose a baby helmet like one of these might be a good idea for kids with certain medical issues—bleeding disorders, or maybe frequent seizures. But they’re not being marketed as medical devices for medical indications.

It is true that babies and toddlers fall a lot, and clonk their little heads. Fortunately, they’re short—so they do not have far to fall down. And their skulls are hard and thick and protective. As any parent knows, if these head knocks were actually medically important, we’d never have survived as a species. Little kids are supposed to explore and learn and, yes, fall down and bonk their heads sometimes. That’s just normal childhood. You don’t need a helmet to protect your healthy children from walking around.

But I do have a good idea for these things: put one on your own head next time you’re tempted to read the latest internet scare or ridiculous product pitch. Cover your eyes and take a nice nap instead. The world will seem a better place.

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6 Comments on “The toddler helmet: More chazerai for worried parents”

  1. Josh Says:

    My 16 month old child smashes his head almost once daily. Do you still think I don’t need one of these for him…if not my own piece of mind that he will become brain damaged from constant blows to his skull?

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  2. Dr. Roy Says:

    Josh, talk w your child’s own doctor for specific advice about your own child.

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  3. Lauren Says:

    Okay, Yiddish speaker here, commenting months later. Chazeray comes from the word “chazer,” meaning pig. The suffix denotes that chazeray is of such low quality it would only be fit for pigs. As a side note, another common Yiddish expression is “I’m sweating like a pig,” which shows how much the typical Yiddish speaker knew about pigs because pigs don’t have sweat glands.

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  4. Dr. Roy Says:

    Thanks Lauren! I had no idea what that really meant.

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  5. melissa Says:

    My son has muscular dystrophy. Learning to walk. But he falls over from sitting, or trying to walk face plants. Hits his head literally all day. I feel like he would benefit from some type of a helmet. And usually hits middle of his forehead. He always has bruises. Looks like he’s abused. Should I invest?

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  6. Dr. Roy Says:

    Melissa, in my experience kids with MD are often slow to walk, tho they’re not especially unsteady. I’d talk w/ your own ped or neurologist about your son’s specific needs-

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