Top 10 Medical Device Inventions Critical to Parenting

The forehead thermometer is on 
the author's list as a top 10 medical 
device invention for parents.
I’m a medical device article junkie and I love all those “Top 10” lists that everyone publishes.  Recently I saw one entitled “Top 50 Medical Device Inventors of All Time.” Nice article but it had a few flaws.  First, most of the inventors were men.  Who doesn’t know that necessity is the mother of invention?
In that same vein, as I perused the list, I noticed that not one of the inventions is something I’d ever use at home on my son.  While I certainly appreciate the importance of the full-body MRI, I don’t keep one around the house.

So I’ve compiled my own “Top 10 Medical Device Inventions” critical to parenting, in no particular order.  See how many of these you use on a weekly basis:
1.  The forehead thermometer.  This is a no-brainer.  Every try using a rectal thermometer on a child?  It takes two professional wrestlers to hold a three-year-old down if you try to use this scale.  If you ever want a teenager to make himself scarce, pull out a rectal thermometer.  He’ll be gone for hours.
The inventor of the forehead thermometer deserves a big thank-you from every parent with a cranky, sick child who can be enticed with a bit of magic.  “See, we put this on your forehead and voila!  The numbers (or colors) change!” 
No pain and no painkillers required for you afterwards.
2.  Band aids.  For brand fairness, I should call these adhesive bandages, I suppose, but every parent I know calls them band aids.  At the first sight of blood, we run for this box of boo boo fixers.  This invention can make more than minor injuries disappear, too.  How many times have you fixed a toy with a band aid?  Done a quick fix on a skirt hem when duct tape wasn’t available?  Band aids are a medical device life hack.
3.  Boo Boo Bunny.  Do not tell me you are unaware of the Boo Boo Bunny.  Those cute little bunny heads attached to a terry cloth ring that hold an ice cube make nursing a scrape or burn much less painful.  They double as teething rings, too.  Boo Boo Bunny made everything all right in our house for years.  Even now, when my college-graduate son bangs his finger in a drawer, I ask if he wants the Boo Boo Bunny.  He doesn’t appreciate it.
My son is heading off to graduate school soon.  A new Boo Boo Bunny will be hidden in his things!
4.  First aid cream. This is always used in conjunction with a band aid, so technically it’s a combination product.  When I was young, there was no Neosporin®—my mother always called out for the first aid cream.  Today we shout for the Neosporin®; it seems to do a better job than the old white stuff and it comes in a pain relief formula, too. 
5.  Ace™ bandage.  When George Strait sings about his ace in the hole, he’s not talking cards, he’s talking about this stretchy fabric that is the tie that binds.  It binds gauze bandages to wounds, holds ice packs in place and in a pinch, serves as a youngster’s belt to hold up pants.  Pre-teens and teenagers wear Ace bandages as badges of courage because everyone knows you don’t get one unless you are really injured!
Like band aids and duct tape, I’m waiting for Ace bandages to start coming out in fashion prints and cartoon characters.
6.  Safety pins.  These little jewels secure Ace bandages, pop blisters and dig out splinters.  They are a McGyver multi-tool.    (The hyperlink is for those of you too young to know who McGyver is.)
7. Tweezers.  Can’t get that splinter out with a safety pin?  Go for the tweezers.  The easiest ones to use have a scissors-style handle that can hang onto anything you need to remove.  I learned that, with boys, you always have something to remove.  Additionally, they are great for pulling thread through the eye of a needle if you must execute emergency stitches and are astigmatic.
8.  Antiseptic wipes.  I never leave home without them.  Originally used to clean a baby’s bottom, these versatile disposables can be used to clean wounds from tire irons, wash hands before soccer snacks, clean steering wheels when sticky hands have played there, and fix makeup mistakes that happen while driving.  I’ve used them to clean my dog’s muddy pads before she hops in the car, too.    
9.  Disposable diapers.  Thank you, inventor of disposable diapers, the parents’ best-loved medical device EVER! Enough said. 
10. Lollipops and hugs.  Again, another combination device.  Because when all is said and done, no matter how trivial or serious an injury is, a parent can always make it better with a lollipop and a hug.
What’s on your top 10 list of medical devices critical to parenting success? 
Robyn Barnes, editor of GxP Lifeline, writes about the life sciences industry and other regulated environments. Her three decades of marketing and public relations experience include work with USAA, Morrison Knudsen Corp., and KBHome Inc. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in business from New Mexico State University.