Yes that’s right, I’m creating a new word. It’s a combination of “marketing” and “racketeering,” on the belief that marketers are leveraging our parental anxiety to sell products. A lot of the marketer’s strategy hinges on overstating a problem. This is dangerous because your doctor should be the consultant, not a baby product. Racketeering is defined as “a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as a problem that does not actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket were not to exist.” – Wikipedia
Baby and parent marketing is starting to resemble a racket. They read our “mommy” blogs and use our community to create focus groups or understand product reviews. They listen to our anxiety. They extort our cash for a false sense of security.
I’ve found some examples of this searching the internet.
Stokke Stroller: $1,249
“The Stokke Crusi Stroller is a multitalented connection stroller. Stokke Crusi lifts your child closer to you helping you explore together and grows with your child. The Stokke Crusi stroller’s multiple talents include a durable chassis with soft suspension that transforms into the widest range of stroller options using the following interchangeable Stokke quality components: Stokke Xplory & Crusi Seat, Stokke Crusi Carry Cot (sold separately), and Stokke Crusi Sibling Seat (sold separately).
The Stokke Crusi Stroller Features:
- 2 way rear and front facing seat and 5 seat positions from resting to upright high chair position
- You can adapt the foot rest position as the child grows
- Highest quality textiles with opening for ventilation of the hood to prevent your child overheating
My analysis: Okay, you don’t NEED a $1200 stroller. There are great products for $300 and below that do similar things. Pay close attention to the keywords: multi-talented, lifts your child closer to you, and prevention of overheating. This description communicates safety and bonding with your child. And, AHHHHH the dreaded overheating! It makes the careful parent cringe at the term in light of the media bonanza on HLN with car overheating deaths.
Tortle Repositioning Beanie: $19.99
“Tortle is an FDA cleared knit beanie that helps prevent and treat mild to moderate Flat Head Syndrome. Tortle makes the job of repositioning newborns safe and easy. It is recommended that all newborns wear a Tortle for the first 6 months of life to support healthy development. Tortle works by gently deflecting your baby’s head from side to side while they are lying on the back of their head.”
My analysis: Flat Head Syndrome sounds AWFUL and SCARY! But FDA-approved? I’m in! What they don’t tell you is that this is completely normal and resolves within about six weeks. It’s not PROVEN that this product will resolve fat heads. “It is recommended” by whom? A doctor? The FDA? The Tortle product development team? There are some flat heads out there that need more than a silly beanie that makes your baby look like he/she is ready for a hair treatment. There must have been a ton of flat heads walking around in the 1800’s because I’m pretty positive they were unaware of “treatment” for this “syndrome.” As always, consult your doctor first. My son had a slight misshapen head from birth and I never had to employ repositioning treatment. As he grew, this was not permanent. Simple repositioning during nap time can help.
“Many vaginally delivered babies are born with an oddly shaped head caused by the pressure of passing through the birth canal. This usually corrects itself within about six weeks. But if your baby’s head hasn’t rounded out by age 6 weeks – or if you first notice that your baby has a flat spot on her skull after 6 weeks of age – it’s probably a case of positional plagiocephaly.” http://www.babycenter.com/0_plagiocephaly-flat-head-syndrome_1187981.bc
Tommee Tippe Bottle Warmer: $39.99