iPhone "Baby Shaker" App Pulled - What Was Apple Thinking?

Filed under: Weird But True

There's nothing funny about shaking a baby to make it stop crying, but that's the premise of a game that Apple temporarily approved for sale to iPhone users this week. The app, intended no doubt to be humorous, displayed a picture of a baby on the phone's screen and played a recording of a baby crying. The user then had to shake the iPhone vigorously until red X's appeared on the baby's eyes and the crying stopped.

The description of the now-unavailable app read, "On a plane, on the bus, in a theatre. Babies are everywhere you don't want them to be! They're always distracting you from preparing for that big presentation at work with their incessant crying. Before Baby Shaker there was nothing you could do about it."

And of course, the description included a disclaimer: "Never, never shake a baby."

As you might imagine, there was quite an uproar over this app, primarily from parents. Patrick Donohue, founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, an organization that helps parents and medical professionals deal with Pediatric Acquired Brain Injuries such those as caused by Shaken Baby Syndrome, wrote directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs to express his dismay: "As the father of a 3-year-old who was shaken by her baby nurse when she was only 5 days old, breaking 3 ribs, both collarbones and causing a severe brain injury, words cannot describe my reaction." Marilyn Bar, the founder of the US Center for Shaken Baby Syndrome, goes even further: "Not only are they making fun of shaken baby syndrome, but they are actually encouraging it. This is absolutely terrible."

How Safe is Dairy

    Does milk really do a body good? Are the hormones safe? Does yogurt help with weight loss, and does kefir promote better digestion? It can be maddening trying to muddle through all the conflicting information out there. We have the down low on which dairy products your family should be eating, drinking and slurping.


    Milk: It's one of the best sources of calcium, needed for building strong bones and teeth and safe weight loss, according to one recent study. Plus, milk is full of protein, fortified with vitamin D and protects against colon cancer. So what's the problem? Well, lactose intolerance for many, probable increased risk of prostate cancer and possible increased risk of ovarian cancer. That's the hormones, found in standard and organic milk (thanks to dairy cows being kept pregnant so that they'll lactate). And that weight-loss study? Funded by the National Dairy Council.

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    Verdict: There's currently no good scientific evidence that says that drinking more than one glass of milk per day is necessary, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Given some of the risk factors associated with consuming too much dairy, best to look to non-dairy sources for your daily requirement of calcium (1,000 to 1,200 milligrams). Go for leafy greens, beans and whole grains -- all of which offer countless other health benefits, too.

    Ray Kachatorian

    Cheese: Cheese is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the dairy world. On the one hand, we can appreciate delicate shavings of parmesan enhancing the flavor of a salad, or a slice of Bucheron complementing a glass of wine. On the other, we see a slop of melted cheddar oozing over nachos, a roadside stop on the path to obesity or clogged arteries.

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    Verdict: Think moderation. Most cheese is high in sodium and isn't exactly low-calorie. But the combination of fat and protein in cheese is very satisfying, and it can keep your appetite in check for hours after eating. The endless variety of cheeses can accommodate most tastes and diets: Feta is low in saturated fats, firm ricotta is low in sodium and Swiss offers a real protein punch. Plus, cheese happens to be great for your teeth -- in addition to providing calcium, it changes the pH in your mouth to discourage bacteria.


    Yogurt: Yogurt offers all the benefits of milk, and then some. It's more easily digested than milk and contains friendly bacteria that's good for your intestinal tract. Some studies even show it to boost immunity and fight cancerous tumors. Unfortunately, most of the yogurt you see on supermarket shelves is so highly sweetened that most of the calories in the product come from the sugar, not the yogurt itself.


    Verdict: Buy plain yogurt. It is more nutritious in every way and it's easily sweetened with fruit, maple syrup or agave nectar. Or, don't sweeten it and use it in place of sour cream, milk or mayonnaise when making pancakes, muffins or tuna salad. Also, avoid any yogurt at the store called "lite," as it likely contains artificial sweeteners and colors.


    Kefir: Kefir, which is just now more widely available, is a cultured, enzyme-rich food that contains even more beneficial bacteria than yogurt, as well as healthy yeasts. It also contains the essential amino acid tryptophan, which has a calming effect on the nerves.


    Verdict: Ta-da! Kefir is he healthiest of all the dairy products. But, as with yogurt, it's best to avoid the overly sweetened commercial varieties. Choose plain kefir, or, better yet, you can purchase a starter culture and easily make your own using whatever milk you normally buy.


Apple has removed the program from their iPhone app store and the developer, Sikalosoft, no longer lists it on their website.

We've all experienced the frustration that comes with a baby that won't stop crying. I spent the first three months of my oldest son's life trudging up and down the stairs all night long because that was the only thing that would stop him from crying. And it can be even worse when it's someone else's baby disturbing your meal or interrupting your movie. But, of course, physical abuse is never an option for dealing with an unhappy or inconsolable child. And yet, the developer of this application seems to find this kind of behavior amusing.

I'm sure someone, somewhere, thought, at some point, that this was funny, but someone at Apple, which has been criticized for being too particular about the apps they do approve, certainly made a mistake in approving this one.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.