Because the world needs yet more redundant, hard-to-recycle, battery-powered plastic toys whose novelty will wear off quickly.
Who knew that piggyback rides needed to be improved? I thought they were already perfect, at least from the perspective of a child whose feet hurt from too much walking and finally is able to slump against her parent’s back, strong arms holding her up. But apparently, along with everything else these days, even piggyback rides are going high-tech.
Let me introduce you to the Piggyback Driver. This bright red plastic helmet is worn by a parent, while the child sits on the parent’s shoulders and ‘drives’ him or her with built-in steering handles. The helmet has flashing LED lights on the side that speed up as you run faster. There is a ‘turbo boost’ button that provides a “burst of light and sound”, and a horn button that emits a loud honking noise.
All of this is supposed to enhance the piggyback experience, but from my perspective as a parent, it definitely looks like a one-sided pleasure, strictly on the part of the child. What could possibly be worse than having my child yanking on a steering wheel attached to my head? He could pull with unexpected force and twist my neck at an awkward angle. Well, it could be worse if the helmet vibrated to indicate the direction in which he wanted to go… oh, wait, it does that, too!
Add to that the annoyance of a constant horn, because what kid can resist a shiny red button that makes noise, right in front of their noses? Surely the designers don’t have children of their own. (It reminds me of the time a childless acquaintance bought my kids whistles in order to calm them down. He’ll never make that mistake again.)
Those flashing lights that speed up as you run? That’s an accident waiting to happen, with an enthusiastic child urging her parent to go faster, faster, just to get the lights going. To plummet from the top of those shoulders would not be a fun ride.
We do not need any more redundant, hard-to-recycle plastic inventions whose novelty will wear off rapidly and land them in dumps. If these ever hit the market for real, I, for one, will be steering clear (and I won’t even need a weird plastic helmet to do so).