Mum defends ‘genius’ Kmart hack
A Queensland mum, who shared a pram hack that keeps her son occupied during shopping trips, has had to defend herself after receiving comments from people criticising her for "bad parenting".
Tayla Hutchinson, 21, lives on the Gold Coast with her son, Western, who has severe developmental delays.
Western is also being assessed for autism and is non-verbal, which can lead to outbursts in public places when he becomes afraid of noises or large crowds.
His devoted mother told news.com.au she had finally found a cheap and easy way to keep her little boy "calm and happy" while she gets the family's shopping done.
During a recent trip to her local Kmart, Tayla spotted a Smartphone Flexi Tripod for $8 and had an idea.
"The legs on the tripod are completely flexible, so you can adjust it to your pram or trolley," she said.
Hooking the tripod upside-down, off the top of Western's pram cover, Tayla was able to play his favourite YouTube channel, Super Simple Songs, keeping him entertained, while she completed her shopping.
The single mum couldn't believe how well the tripod stayed in place, despite her pushing the pram around for more than 30-minutes.
"The hack doesn't hurt his neck, he can't throw my phone, and it's not sitting so close to his face," Tayla said.
"Not to mention it distracts him from everything else going on around him that might make him unsettled."
She said the hack works just as well on trolleys, while she does her grocery shopping.
For Tayla, shopping expeditions with her son are often a volatile experience, as her little boy can't handle loud noises and crowded places like shopping centres.
"Some days are harder than others," she said. "There can be tantrums, kicking, screaming and not sitting still.
"Western doesn't talk, he can't understand basic instructions and gets uneasy in places with too many people or loud noises."
So when she found a Kmart item that could keep Western focused and calm, Tayla knew she had to share it with like-minded mums.
SPREADING THE HACK
Tayla posted the Kmart find on her Facebook and Instagram account, where she regularly shares budget tips for mums looking for cheap tips and tricks to get through each day hassle free.
She said the $8 phone holder was so helpful, it allowed her to shop "without rushing or being worried that he will have a meltdown".
"If you're like me and have a child on the spectrum, or one that just doesn't settle when shopping, and your phone is the only thing that helps, then this can be so handy," she wrote.
The post went viral, attracting almost 2K likes and hundreds of comments from people praising Tayla's "brilliant" pram trick, and applauding her resourcefulness.
"Mind blown, this is amazing, thank you for your wisdom," one mum wrote.
Another said they "this is going to be a life saver for so many families".
Mums who knew all too well the struggles of a very public toddler meltdown thanked Tayla for providing them with an easy way to de-escalate a situation.
"Every mother has had a child meltdown in public!" one mum wrote.
"We need more love and less judgment. Anything to help another parent out."
But the single mum's "genius" pram hack didn't impress everyone, with some people posting highly critical comments about the dangers of exposing such a young child to technology.
Tayla said she had received many "nasty comments" about putting a phone in front of her child to keep him quiet.
"They were mainly about how technology has so much radiation, and how we're growing a generation that's always on their phones," she said.
Administrators of the Facebook group also had to delete disparaging comments, with people calling Tayla out for alleged bad parenting.
"I get judged a lot for the way he behaves in public, and now I'm getting judged for trying to prevent it," she said.
"Oh well, you can't please everyone."
Tayla took the criticism in her stride, saying everyone was entitled to their own opinions.
"When you don't know what other mums go through, it's easy to judge," she said.
"I'm not worried about people calling my hack 'bad parenting', all I care about is keeping my child calm and happy."
She said parenting was hard enough without having to cop extra comments and judgments from strangers.
"Please for a minute, step into our shoes and ask yourself 'What would I do in her position?'," Tayla said.
The topic of how much screentime parents should allow their kids to have in Australia is a heated one, with opinions varying.
The current recommendation is for no more than two hours of screen time per day for children, with screen time not recommended at all for children under two years, according to information listed on The Sydney Children's Hospital website.
However, despite being billed as a learning tool for kids, a US study recently found that just two hours of daily screen time can dangerously change a child's brain structure.
As a result, Aussie parents are confused, with many admitting they've found navigating the use of smartphones "unrealistic" or "conflicting", according to a report by the ABC.
Last week, it was reported a two-year-old in China had been left virtually blind by her smarthphone addiction.
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