In France, Diapers Are Alive with the Sound of Music

updated 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Some people hear bells ring when they make love. Some see lights flash when an idea strikes them. Now, thanks to a small plastic device sold in Citrouille, a chain of upscale French kiddie boutiques, parents can hear music when their baby soils a diaper.

Called Babylodie, the battery-operated device is placed between the plastic and the padding of a diaper, next to the baby's bottom. At the first hint of wetness, a sprightly rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In is activated; the music doesn't quit until the offending moisture is removed.

The working-mom owners of Citrouille—Dominique Peignoux, Yvette Guys and Franchise Dekan—say the invention spares parents from having to check their baby's behind by hand, and saves the infant from the agony of an unattended wet bottom. The trio also claims that the musical monitor is beneficial in potty training: "It helps the child become attentive to his natural functions," says Dekan. The women launched Babylodie last September, after working out an exclusivity deal with the Taiwan manufacturer. So far, they've sold about 6,000—at around $8 each.

Although the item is safe, there is concern over its psychological side effects. Dr. Edwige Antier, a Paris pediatrician and mother of four, says the melodic reward "could lead the child to pee deliberately. It's completely artificial." Adds another mother: "I don't want my child going to the opera at age 21 and wetting her pants because she hears a familiar series of notes. I think it's grotesque."

Peignoux, Dekan and Guys pooh-pooh such criticism, insisting, "The side effects can only be beneficial." Babylodie not only keeps babies dry, they add, "it makes them more musical."

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