Meet the Husband-Wife Duo That Turned SNOO Into The Holy Grail of Parenting
For over 30 years, renowned pediatrician and child development specialist, Dr. Harvey Karp, with his wife and business partner, Nina Montée Karp, have advocated for the rights of children and parents. From their joint environmental and health advocacy to Dr. Karp’s breakthrough innovation that turned his landmark insights into a revolutionary infant bed capable of successes never before thought possible, here’s how this “dream team” has changed the face of parenting forever.
SNOO’s Creators: Harvey Karp and Nina Montée Karp
For decades, Nina Montée Karp and Dr. Harvey Karp have been dedicated to making the world a healthier, safer place for children. (Note: The pair launched their relationship at a fundraiser that Montée Karp was co-chairing for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.)
For many years, Dr. Karp worked in Los Angeles where he volunteered at free clinics caring for under-served children. He also became committed to defending children from environmental dangers, like lead poisoning and toxic chemicals. He served on children’s environmental health committees for the State of California, NRDC, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), among others. Dr. Karp’s work directly led to the passage of a federal law banning toxic, endocrine disrupting chemicals from baby pacifiers and toys.
Together, Dr. Karp and Montée Karp helped start the national non-profit, Healthy Child Healthy World, for which they served 20 years, creating parent-friendly content and raising millions of dollars. For 15 years, Montée Karp was also a board member for Breastcancer.org, where she helped raise millions of dollars to support their important mission: serving 20+ million visitors with free, online resource on breast health and breast cancer. In addition, she served as vice chair of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles’ Huckleberry Fund, which benefits homeless teens. For the past decade, the couple have continued their volunteer work as board members of Environmental Working Group (EWG), a national non-profit that specializes in research and advocacy to protect consumers and hold corporations accountable.
During the pandemic, Dr. Karp and Montée Karp directed Happiest Baby to subsidize SNOOs for thousands of U.S. military families and to donate $1+ million worth of SNOOs and products to hospitals and numerous charities, including organization that help individuals experiencing poverty, homelessness, and domestic abuse; aid babies experiencing opioid withdrawal; and help those experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety.
Academically, Dr. Karp has been a fellow in child development and member of the child-abuse team at UCLA and he has been on the faculty of UCLA and USC School of Medicine. For over 40 years, Dr. Karp has been a fellow of the AAP. He has lectured around the world and his surprising insights about infant behavior and sleep, SIDS, and raising healthy toddlers are taught in leading medical schools.
Dr. Harvey Karp’s Bestselling Books
In 2002, Dr. Karp shared decades of careful observations of babies in his iconic book, The Happiest Baby on the Block. Here, he introduced to the world of science and parenting his discovery of the calming reflex and his innovative theories about soothing colic and aiding sleep by creating a womb-like fourth trimester of sensations for babies using the 5 S’s—swaddling, shushing, swaying, sucking, and holding babies in a side/stomach position. Since then, millions of parents and caregivers have mastered the 5 S’s to be more skillful in meeting their babies’ needs. The Happiest Baby on the Block has been translated into dozens of languages and thousands of Happiest Baby educators have been trained to teach the 5 S’s in hospitals, parenting clinics, child abuse prevention programs, prisons, and more…across America and around the world.
Two years after The Happiest Baby rocked the world of new parents, The Happiest Toddler on the Block book came out further changing the face of parenting with rapidly effective concepts about children 8 months to 5+ years of age. With novel techniques like Toddler-ese, feeding the meter, gossiping, and the Fast-Food Rule, Dr. Karp introduced revolutionary new insights into boosting toddler patience, happiness, emotional health, and resilience.
Lastly, Dr. Karp’s The Happiest Baby Book on Great Sleep: Birth to Five is arguably the best guide for parents who are engaged in—what is for many—the most challenging of early parenting.
How Dr. Harvey Karp and Nina Montée Karp Brought Happiest Baby to the World
Nowadays, we’re accustomed to doctors and various experts using video to help walk parents through everything from how to swaddle a baby to talking a tot out of a tantrum. However, back in the early aughts, how-to parenting videos were quite avant-garde. But as a documentary producer and director, Montée Karp was well-versed in the power of film and video. She helped create one of the first environmental documentaries on children’s environmental health, Not Under My Roof. Nina also wrote, produced, and directed a documentary, Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness and Healing, with Sheryl Crow, Christina Applegate, Melissa Etheridge, Olivia Newton-John, and many other women fighting this life-or-death battle.
Montée Karp knew that putting her husband on camera would ultimately help even more parents benefit from his insights. Together the pair created the bestselling, educational videos, The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block. These celebrated videos—now streaming—are still viewed around the world to empower parents and promote healthy family relations. To date, The Happiest Baby on the Block is believed to be the most watched child-rearing video of all time. No wonder, The New York Times applauded his landmark ideas by saying, “Roll over, Dr. Spock!”
How Dr. Harvey Karp and Nina Montée Karp Created SNOO
The idea for SNOO was initially conceived at a conference where Dr. Karp was speaking about SIDS, a devastating issue that had plagued families for centuries. The heartbreaking fact was that while sleep deaths initially declined in 1994 (with the adoption of a national “Back to Sleep” initiative), they’d plateaued since 1999, robbing roughly 3,500 American families of their beloved babies every year. Dr. Karp commented that if a foreign country took so many of our babies we would declare a war and stop at nothing to save our children!
It seemed so clear to him, since the AAP advised against stomach sleeping, the #1 trigger of these preventable deaths, why couldn’t we make baby beds that prevented dangerous rolling?
That night over dinner with Montée Karp, Dr. Karp drew on a napkin the very first rudimentary sketch of SNOO. Right then, the pair knew that retirement had to be put on hold, they had another important mission ahead of them…and the idea of SNOO was born soon after. (Learn more about the creation of SNOO.)
Final Thoughts on SNOO’s Creators, Harvey Karp and Nina Montée Karp
Today, SNOO is a beloved product that is helping babies sleep better and safer…it boasts thousands of 5-star reviews from happy and well-rested parents all over the world. In studies by Happiest Baby, the bed has been shown to add one hour to infant sleep and to dramatically reduce risky stomach sleeping. In fact, SNOO is the first baby bed ever designated by the FDA as a breakthrough device for the reduction of the risk of SIDS, thanks to its special mechanism that keeps sleeping babies securely on the back. In addition, SNOO is used in 150+ hospitals, safely cradling their most precious patients while supporting new parents and saving nurses 4 to 5 hours of a day! And over 20 medical studies at top universities are underway or in planning.
SNOO is no ordinary baby electronic device. It is a revolutionary smart bassinet that has received over 30 top honors, making it the most awarded bassinet in history. It’s even in six museums, including the permanent collection of America’s national museum, the Smithsonian Institution! The Karps aren’t looking to slow down anytime soon. They are now grandparents to baby Lola and know that there will always be more babies and parents who need their help.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.