Protecting Your Kid With This Is Pointless

alarmWho knew there could be so many options for your kid's backpack? You can get one with wheels. One with two straps that goes on the back. One with one strap that stretches over the body. A backpack with a big old alarm system ... wait, what? Yes, Mom and Dad, because kiddie Lojack systems weren't enough to satisfy helicopter parents, you can now outfit your kid like the fancy schmancy BMW that starts howling when you walk within 5 feet of it in the grocery store parking lot.


Technically, the iSafe backpack and others like it require your kid to pull a little activation cord to get that siren a-blaring. If it isn't turned off, the alarm will then sound for two hours. What's that? The sound of your kid's bus driver taking your kid's backpack outside and stomping it into the dust? That's what happens when you give a kid something noisy and send them on their way with it, after all. They set the darn thing off to see what will happen. And if they don't do it, one of their friends will; I guarantee it.

But the way the marketers tell it, this is a revolutionary product that will protect our kids from being stolen away by some pedophile. Even my (usually sane) mother asked me if she could buy one for my daughter -- ironically the same day I'd seen these online and rolled my eyes. The way she sees it, when a car alarm goes off, people look. Even if they're annoyed. So an alarm on a kid's bag would at least get people to pay attention.

I had to respectfully disagree. I may have grown up in the country, but it doesn't matter if I'm here or in Manhattan. When a car alarm goes off, I ignore it. Most people I know ignore it. I am not even sure why they still make them.

Like giving little kids cellphones, manning kids with alarmed backpacks seems more like a way to make parents feel like their kids are safe. But I'll say the same thing to parents who want to buy one of these that I would to parents who insist kids need their own phone: when is your little kid going to be alone, without an adult? My kid's school won't even allow her to get off the bus if there isn't a responsible (pre-approved) adult standing at the stop to get her off. In fact, the only times she's "alone," my kid wouldn't be wearing a backpack. She's in her own backyard, climbing trees and swinging on her swing set.

I'm going to be skipping the backpack with the alarm in favor of keeping an eye on my own kid. It will save me from having to drive her to school for a week for getting kicked off the bus over her noisy backpack anyway. How about you?


Image via CatMachine/Flickr

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