Monitor answers new parents' cry for help

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 April, 2004, 12:00am

Confused about why a baby cries? Now help is on the way and it supposedly takes only 20 seconds.

The Why Cry analysis machine, a Spanish invention that recently hit Hong Kong shops, is being marketed to first-time parents to help them figure out what their baby wants.

The palm-sized machine has five light indicators, one of which will come on once the crying has been analysed. The five indicators represent different emotions - discomfort, boredom, hunger, stress and tiredness.

But the machine does not function as effectively once babies start learning to talk at about the age of one as they tend to change their crying tone, according to Johnny Lo, manager of Prominent Wing, a local agent for the product.

On its website, the manufacturer says the analysis is based on the power, frequency, interval and pattern of the baby's crying.

It claims the machine is 87 per cent accurate, with up to 98 per cent accuracy if a baby shows other gestures, which are indicated on the machine's symptom chart, such as clenching their fists or shaking their heads and kicking.

'The machine will help first-time parents who have no experience taking care of newborns. Many of them are frustrated when their babies cry but they do not know why,' Mr Lo said.

'We see a market for this machine. One-child families are very common in Hong Kong, so many new parents are very willing to spend their money on their children.'

But paediatrician Leung Ying-kit was sceptical about the machine.

'I do not see the scientific grounds for this machine ... some babies may only want their parents' attention by crying loud,' Dr Leung said.

The paediatrician said parents should never rely on such machines and emphasised the importance of direct communication.