You know those little circular Roomba vacuums that scoot back and forth across your floors to clean them up so you don't have to do it manually? Yeah, they're pretty cool, and they're major time savers.
But (call me crazy) -- something tells me they aren't supposed to be used as a mode of transportation for infants.
The parents of a baby girl named Aria thought it would be cute and funny to sit her down on top of their Roomba and let her take a spin around the living room and help tidy up the pine needles left over by their Christmas tree. Yes -- they let their baby ride their Roomba.
And of course, they caught the whole thing on video. Sure, it's kind of cute. But I couldn't help but gasp and want to hide my eyes throughout the whole thing. Watch the clip below, and then we'll discuss my paranoia.
OMG! Um, can you say dangerous -- not to mention pretty darn stupid?!?
Yes, I realize the thing is going very, very slow, and it's obvious that little Aria has mastered the art of balancing on top of spinning vacuums.
But the one thing that kept popping out at me was that perfect little head of hers -- and the hardwood floor beneath it. One sudden jerk or shaky move and that little girl could've toppled over and banged her head on that hard floor -- a thought that made me cringe over and over again.
When my son was a baby, I constantly worried about him smashing his head into something. I remember not even wanting to sit him on a floor that wasn't carpeted without some sort of padding beneath him out of fear that he'd hurt his poor little noggin.
And yes, I realize I was probably a bit overprotective and extreme (what new parent isn't?), but isn't that better than sitting him on top of a moving household appliance because you're too naive to think anything will go wrong?
What do you think? Were these parents being irresponsible in letting their baby ride the Roomba?
*UPDATE FROM PARENTS*
I’m both the person filming the
video and also Aria’s dad. I don’t normally make a habit of jumping into
internet debates, but since there are over 500 comments about our
parenting (the most I’ve seen regarding our video on any website), I
thought I would add a few cents to the conversation.
First, my wife and I have really enjoyed reading most of the comments in this thread. It is always great to get feedback, even if it only covers a small sliver of life.
Second, our parenting style is about exposure both physically and mentally. The video shows one small slice of life where Aria is riding a Roomba. That slice of life by itself doesn't add up to much more than a silly minute, but summing her exposure to lots of different activities over months and years gives Aria confidence in different situations and makes her a more well rounded person. The video was taken ~3 years ago and Aria will be 4 in April. I’m confident in our parenting style because I can see the amazing little girl she has become and a glimpse of the adult she is becoming. Aria was walking at 11 months, riding a bike without training wheels, ballet classes, and zip-lining when she was 2, rock climbing outdoors, caving (she calls it looking for bears) and skiing when she was 3. Not only are we proud of her for these accomplishments, but she is proud of herself. She simply loves trying new things and has confidence in herself (and us) that she will always be reasonably safe. We do science project Saturdays, take her to the museum, build volcanos, shoot model rockets, and do color experiments to expose her mind to new things as well. The more we can expose her to the better, even crazy Roomba rides at 7 months as long as the danger level is acceptably low.
Could she have fallen off the Roomba? Sure, it is possible, but we had confidence that she would be able to stay on and we were nearby to help prevent a fall. Does the Roomba ride look pointless? Yes, if viewed as a single slice, but it is just 1 small experience amongst a myriad of others that collectively expose her to new things and build her confidence and abilities. Were we having fun making the video? Absolutely, just like all the other crazy things we do with Aria, although I’m a little embarrassed by my “woooooing.” :-) This whole viral video thing is a new experience for her as well. Just last night we were talking with her about how she has become “internet famous.” She seemed to get a kick out of it. She got a big smile when her aunt called to tell her that she saw her on the internet.
But ultimately, the people to best asses what a specific child can or cannot do is the child’s parents. Other parents should absolutely raise their children in the best way they see fit. For us, we feel successful in the way we have raised Aria and are proud of her. Most importantly, she is proud of herself.
I intended to throw in 2 cents but I ended up throwing in 10, I guess that is because I’m her dad.