A novel invention from Ford Motor in Spain has raised interest -- and eyebrows -- around the world. The idea is a baby cot that is designed to mimic the sound, movement and light of a car to lull a baby to sleep.
The Max Motor Dreams is just a one-off prototype designed to promote Ford's latest family cars in Spain. However, the company said that they are considering putting the cot into full-scale production considering all of the attention it's getting.
"After many years of talking to mums and dads, we know that parents of newborns are often desperate for just one good night's sleep. But while a quick drive in the family car can work wonders in getting baby off to sleep, the poor old parents still have to be awake and alert at the wheel," designer Alejandro López Bravo said in a statement.
Despite the hype, the thought of this high-tech cot going on the market horrifies baby sleep expert Karen Faulkner.
"At first I thought it was an April fools thing. I just shook my head and thought 'oh no'," Karen told the Huffington Post Australia.
The qualified midwife said that devices like this do not work in the long term and set up unhealthy sleep associations. With her business Nurture Parenting, she has taught thousands of clients how to put their newborns to sleep.
"It's setting up parents to fail... Parents are looking for anything that is going to be a quick fix," Faulkner said.
"The baby sleep market is full of devices and most of them are unhelpful."
In her 17 years experience of helping parents settle their babies, Faulkner has seen many parents who take their children for a drive to get them to sleep. One client spent $1200 per month on her e-tag because she needed to drive continuously without stopping at traffic lights in order to coax her little one to sleep, according to Faulkner.
Faulkner said driving and other sleep devices don't work for "so many reasons". Exposure to light and sound will make getting to sleep without the device difficult down the track. Instead of using quick fixes and high-tech cribs, Faulkner said parents should be trying to teach their babies 'self-settling'.
"Babies don't know how to put themselves to sleep, you have to teach them," she said.
Emma Purdue, owner of Baby Sleep Consultant Australia, isn't surprised by Ford's device since there is already a similar smart crib on the market developed by pediatrician Dr Harvey Karp called SNOO. Purdue didn't see a problem with parents using self-rocking cribs as long as they didn't use it all the time.
"You would need to wean the babies off it. If you rocked them every time then it would create a bad association," Purdue told Huffpost Australia.
But with a hefty $1000 plus price tag, Purdue didn't think most new parents will be able to buy into the 'smart crib' trend.
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