If you’ve ever driven a baby around town simply because parking would mean waking her, then you know the power of a car’s ability to knock a kid out.
Now, Honda may be looking to capitalise on that phenomenon with a plush red car toy that plays revving engine sounds.
The Sound Sitter is still in the testing phase and is not yet available for purchase, but they may be on to something. The product’s website is almost entirely in Japanese (or you can have it roughly translated to English), but if you watch Honda’s video of crying babies who are given the toy, you get the idea.
Writer Emily Engle at Core77 has kindly translated some of Honda’s explanation of the science behind a soothing engine sound:
“Humans with nearly 70% moisture are susceptible to sound and the body is affected at the cellular level. Various studies on the influence of sound on newborn babies have been made, and it is also becoming clear that the sound close to the womb sound is useful for the sedative effect of the newborn. Although the sounds heard in the uterus contain many low frequencies such as mother’s blood flow and heart sounds, the engine sound of Honda’s car also included low frequencies of 250 Hz or less.” — Supervisor, Sound Healing Association President Keiichiro Kida
Until the test is complete and Honda decides whether to actually produce the toy, there is a way to capitalise on their research: Scroll to the bottom of the Sound Sitter website, where you can play the final two engine sound candidates. Crank up the volume (not too loud!) and see if your baby falls asleep as quickly as she would if you drove her around the neighbourhood.