Mamas, first, a disclaimer: yes, of course, keeping your children safe is your first instinct and top priority as parents. 100 percent. But, I just have to wonder, is making your child wear a baby backpack head protector to protect his head in the event of a fall taking things just a tiny bit too far? Listen, we all know babies will fall as they are learning to walk. From pulling up on coffee tables, falling backwards, rolling off beds, or just sitting up and taking a nose dive into the floor in front of them, babies topple over. A lot. And more often than not, a parent, caregiver, or older sibling is there to pick them up right away or prevent it from happening in the first place. The purpose of the head protector backpack, which I discovered on Oddity Mall (yes, you read that correctly), is to cushion that fall when it inevitably happens. And alright, it's kind of genius.
Available in a variety of animal shaped designs (and I must admit, they're all pretty cute) at $10.99, the baby protector backpack is made from super soft, breathable cotton, and designed to protect your baby's head if he falls backwards. The backpack slips around your child's shoulders just like an actual backpack, and you can adjust the straps to fit your child accordingly (available through size 24 months). The backpack should be firmly attached, but not uncomfortable, of course. The circular head of the backpack should be flush with your child's head in order to soften the fall should they fall over backwards.
I suppose that's where I have one issue with this product. It only prevents one type of fall. What if baby falls forward or to the side? If you want to protect your child from every type of fall, perhaps he should be wearing full body coverage instead (a Michelin man-type bodysuit comes to mind)? Now, I write this in jest because I happen to agree with experts — babies must fall in order to learn how to walk successfully, and falling is a normal progression from crawling to walking. Although this looks pretty nifty for when baby's just learning to sit up. Is there anything worse than the sound of baby's head hitting the floor — even if it's carpeted — as they topple backward?
But when it comes to baby learning to walk, this may not be the tool you need. Dr. Karen Adolph, a researcher at New York University, led an effort to understand why experienced crawlers learn to walk. And while there was no single unified theory discovered, a fear of falling was certainly not one of them. Simply put, when babies begin to walk, they see very quickly that they can get around to explore much faster. And the desire to explore supersedes everything, even falling.
Adolph tells Psychological Science, "While infants who start to walk are falling more often, it is really not any more risky than crawling when you take into account the amount and distance of travel being done by walking compared to crawling. Infants learn to walk with accompanying increases in falls but not overall increases in falling rates. So, it's not a bad thing if baby falls, it's just a normal progression from crawling to walking. As novice walkers become more experienced, their falling rate declines."
She adds, "Walking is accompanied by more frequent falling, but as they learn the ins and outs of walking and falling, babies will fall less. If your baby has the need for speed and likes to explore, let him or her fall and walk until his or her sense of adventure is fulfilled."
As much as you want to protect your baby from every fall on their journey to walking, it simply won't be possible, and that's OK. After all, risks and falls are expected as we rise to accomplish our goals, a life lesson that can't be learned too early. Like, really early. Now, I should mention one benefit I see to the head protector backpack is that it purports to help prevent flat head syndrome. The hole in the center gives room for the skull to keep its proper shape when the baby is lying on the floor for extended periods of time. So I can see purchasing it for that reason. The fall prevention? Not exactly my cup of tea.