April 30, 2006

Notable Kid-Related Patents of 2002

dad_saddle.GIFEvery once in a while, Totally Absurd Inventions has a kid-related patent, but they're usually rocket-shaped prams from 1930 or something, so they're usually untraceable. It's not that I doubt they're real, just that I like to see the documentation for myself. So when DT reader Christy sent along "The Dad Saddle," and I noticed it was just issued in 2002, I started digging.

Of course, even though that's what it's been mocked and publicized as, the inventor himself didn't call it a "dad saddle," so I tried searching for stirrups and waist. [That led to an interesting piece of prior art from 1984, patent no. 4,430,990, which was issued to one George Whitehead for a "body harness device" which "finds particular application in the act of conjugal relations." Classy.]

Anyway, by narrowing my search to 2002, I found out the inventor was Paul Harriss, who was actually rewarded two patents for his "Method for carrying a child," [no. 6,345,745] and for his apparatus [no. 6,241,136]. I have half a mind to contact Mr. Harriss and see how he's doing with his invention. [No slouch, he's actually received another patent for a method of performing laser surgery.]

To my mind, some of the other inventions of 2002 are more headscratching, though like Mr Harriss's apparatus, they all stem from the personal experience and annoyances of parents:

Like No. 6,408,439: "Garment for use in a child car seat," which looks like those bibs that attach to the table, or like these Muji eating smocks.

Then there's no. 6,393,619: a dual-axle garter that goes by the official description, " Anklet for encircling an ankle of a child and engaging a foot covering so as to prevent loss of the foot covering."

But my favorite is No. 6,428,004: a " Pregnancy and childbirth educational board game." While it's not clear to me why a pregnancy board game needs a patent, not just a copyright, I am sure glad the patent goes into minute detail, including the contents of every gamecard. [The objective, of course, it to get through 40 weeks. And dilate to 10cm.]

Here's a very educational card from the first trimester pile: "At the 1st prenatal visit, it was such internal exam, you could have had your molars checked at the same time. MOVE AHEAD 2 WEEKS." Here's another that I would've put in the third trimester pile, if not the third kid pile: "Dad has traded in the two-seater sports car for a top of the line minivan. MOVE AHEAD 3 WEEKS. * Many men are often surprised at their change in priorities once they are about to become a father."

This one from the third trimester makes me wonder if you really want to play his game at a baby shower: "Mom would like to avoid an episiotomy. Dad is thrilled that the preventative measure is nightly perennial massage [sic]. MOVE AHEAD 3 WEEKS." It also makes me wonder about spellchecking.

The best part, though, is that you can actually buy this game. Right now. Today. It's called "Who's Having This Baby, Anyway?" and it's available from its inventors, a pair of childbirth educator/labor & delivery assistants from Milwaukee, and it's only $34.95. Order now, and play it with the in-laws over Mother's Day!

"As seen on Friends! [babygame.com]

1 Comment

How funny that you noticed the board game - it's was co-created by my great aunt - a doula. She gave it to my sister at her baby shower. The whole thing is a little creepy. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been out of the box. Provided she's still got it, I'm sure I could get you my sister's copy at a discount (free!) if you're inclined to investigate further!

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