On the one hand, I guess it's always good for the new or expecting parent to be reminded that the entire Baby Industrial Complex is designed foster anxiety and prey on your best, but inexperienced intentions in order to sell you shit you don't need that doesn't really matter to your kid's well-being. So yeah, capitalism on that.
On the other hand, I guess I don't quite buy Adam Davidson's point that his particular brand of Park Slope overparenting and the products that serve it have some kind of trickle-down benefit for the rest of the baby market.
Side-impact resistant car seats, for example, are driven by the regulatory regimes in places like the EU, while the US government's safety standards are generally stymied by industry lobbyists and product liability issues. No company will claim their seat is safer than another, or safer than the law requires, for fear of getting sued into the ground when a kid gets hurt or dies.
Davidson also mentions the drop-side crib ban which, if anything, works against his thesis. It was the poorly designed, cheapo cribs sold by the millions in national big box chains, that were strangling and suffocating kids for years. When this problem at the bottom of the market was finally addressed, it ended up impacting the design of deluxe cribs, too.
He cites phthalate-free baby products as a misleading marketing claim [phthalates are banned in US baby products anyway, so phthalate-free is about as low a safety bar as you can clear.] But he might have mentioned BPA, a plastic additive which was only slowly pushed out of most kids products by a combination of research and grassroots activists, including some of the overwrought parenting types Davidson is trying to be ironic about.
So yeah, relax a bit, have some perspective, and instead of constantly dwelling on your parenting shortcomings, keep your eyes peeled for anecdotes you can use to rationalize whatever your parenting choices are right now. Make confirmation bias work for you.
The Sippy Cup 1% [nyt via dt reader rolf]