Turn on this baby patting machine and slowly, quietly back away. (USPTO)
This combination child float-adult aquatic exercise device is a swimmer's equivalent to a jogging stroller. The child sits under a canopy in the float, which the adult pushes or pulls it. (USPTO)
Invented by Shannon I. Nation of Hampton, Virginia, this beach chair has two convenient holes, one for the face and the other, as the patent so delicately puts it, "for receiving a person's abdomen." (USPTO)
When strapped to an infant, this stuffed bunny does double duty, holding one bottle between its ears and warming another in a pouch on its back. (USPTO)
A pacifier retracts into a cylindrical case to avoid coming into contact with dirt and germs. (USPTO)
Invented in the 1950s, this dining table has a compartment below each place setting that serves as a dishwasher—"thereby eliminating entirely for the housewife the usual five operations of clearing the table, washing the dishes and flatware, drying and storing them and setting the table with them for the next meal," according to the patent. (USPTO)
A toy dog with a vacuum inside of it allows groomers to clean a dog after a haircut without scaring it. But if your kid is asking for a dog, would you be more apt to agree to this one? (USPTO)
To handle the worst of diaper changes, a baby bidet that fits snugly onto the rim of a toilet bowl. (USPTO)
Holding a child and an umbrella can be tricky, unless you have a backpack like this one that allows you to do both hands-free. (USPTO)
Turn dinner into a game with this bowl for picky eaters. A child rolls a dice and samples food from the corresponding compartment. (USPTO)
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued inventor Craig M. Britten of Sammamish, Washington a patent for a rolling suitcase with a hinged and harnessed child seat on its front. (USPTO)
These pajamas, with hand puppets attached, encourage children to actively participate in bedtime stories—and, in doing so, distract them from sucking their thumbs. (USPTO)
These shoes, with adjustable toes and heels, fit a baby for the first two years of life. (USPTO)
Got a climber? These panels built into children's clothing give enough to allow for normal movement but make it difficult for wearers to scale furniture. The panel between the legs prevents toddlers from climbing over gates and out of cribs and playpens, while the underarm piece restricts their reach to tables and shelves. (USPTO)
To help soothe a child to sleep, this blanket has a pressure-activated heartbeat simulator nestled in a heart-shaped foam frame within its batting. (USPTO)
Inventors George and Charlotte Blonsky, in the 1960s, thought it wise to use centrifugal force to assist with child birth. A woman is strapped to their apparatus, which is then rotated at a speed determined by her doctor. When delivered, the baby actually lands in a net, and its weight triggers a switch that cuts the machine. (USPTO)
Inventor Diane L. Parry filed a patent in 2012 for a flexible ball for transporting laundry. The patent reads, "When laundry is placed into the flexible laundry ball and the flexible laundry ball is closed, the ball can easily be rolled down a hallway or even bounced or rolled down a staircase with little effort." Brilliant. (USPTO)
Simple but effective, this target adheres to the bottom of a toilet bowl or urinal "to attract the attention of urinating human males." (USPTO)
Becky Butts of Zion, Illinois, was granted a patent in 1996 for this toilet training device. The contraption fits in standard potty chairs, and when a toddler urinates on it, an electronic circuit is tripped and a congratulatory sound is made "for the enjoyment of the child." (USPTO)
This electrical toothbrush is capable of doing routine saliva tests. Parents of teenagers, listen up—it can detect pregnancy and alcohol concentration. (USPTO)
To supplement driver's ed and hours of practice, new drivers can learn rules of the road by playing this board game. Players roll dice and travel around the board, answering questions about motor safety and law and earning cash to spend on car parts. The first to build a car wins! (USPTO)
Many diapers have a handy color-changing indicator that goes from yellow to blue when wet, but it still takes some snooping to figure out if a diaper change is needed. Stash this alarm device, equipped with a moisture detector, in a baby's drawers, and it actually buzzes when it's time. (USPTO)
A patent exists for a system, made up of a washing machine, an antenna, a detector and a warning device, that alerts someone doing laundry when a cell phone is inside the machine. (USPTO)
This night light doubles as an earthquake sensor, because you can never be too safe. A crystal sphere sits above the light source so that when it vibrates it scatters light in all directions, making for a clear visual in the event of an earthquake. (USPTO)
The front panels of these clever getups are detachable and can be replaced when dirty. (USPTO)
If you get a run in your pantyhose, this pair has a third leg conveniently stashed away in a pocket. (USPTO)

26 Inventions Mothers Can Appreciate

From an apparatus to birth a child with centrifugal force to a board game to teach driver safety, these product ideas have parents in mind

smithsonian.com

Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say—and consequently there are inventions to meet just about every mother's need.

A system for analyzing a baby's cry, patented in 2002, claims to diagnose the cause of the wail. To soothe a crying baby, there is any number of products—a blanket with a built-in heartbeat simulator and a pacifier with a convenient remote control that allows parents to locate it using light or sound, to name a couple. Certainly some of the gear created for infants and their caregivers is questionable—a remote controlled and motorized baby walker? But those inventions that make it onto shelves are there for consideration. The market for baby care products alone is expected to climb to $66.8 billion by 2017, from $44.7 billion in 2011.

There are gizmos for every stage of development. A special toilet paper dispenser, patented in 1988, keeps toddlers from unraveling rolls. A smart timer with entertaining trivia questions limits the length of teenagers' showers.

A search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office archives turns up loads of inventions meant to make a parent's life simpler. Mamas, you may not approve of all 27 ideas here but chances are you can understand the desire for them.

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