Five Oolie Shoosh door silencers and safety bumpers.

Clicks, Slams, and Other Sounds That Wake Baby: The Shoosh Origin Story

Hi, friends!

I want to share the story behind why I invented the Shoosh to reduce wake-ups and prevent little fingers from getting pinched.

My kids have never been easy sleepers. As infants, both falling asleep and staying asleep were challenges for all three. Over time, I learned what what each child needed to fall asleep. But that sleep was tenuous, as each of them would wake to the tiniest little sound, including…

The Dreaded Door Click

Argh, why why why?! Why do doors have to make that tiny, metallic click when the door closes? This little click, nearly imperceptible to grown-ups, would have my kids sitting bolt upright, eyes open and crying in an instant. 😡

Surely there was a way to silence those bedroom doors, so I could sneak out of the room and get on with my evening!

Searching for Quiet Solutions

Naturally, I began with an Internet search for “door silencer” and “door stopper.” And I did find some clever inventions by other moms, facing the same challenge. Some of those “door cushions” worked well enough — as long as they stayed in place.

But by the time our eldest was able to reach the door knob, she wasn’t interested in having her door silenced, and so would just remove the door cushion — easy peasy! As a toddler, she would no longer wake up to the dreaded door click, but she discovered the pleasures of slamming doors and eliciting strong reactions from her parents to the loud and unexpected noises. (Fun! 🙄)

This timing coincided with the birth of our second child, who, like his sister, awoke crying whenever the door latch clicked — or whenever his sister would slam a door. 😭

Leaving the Door Open

If I couldn’t prevent my toddler from removing the door cushion, could I prevent her from closing the door at all?

A friend recommended C-shaped foam door stops that attach to the top of the door. They were inexpensive, easy to install, and — best of all — prevented the door from closing or slamming. I felt hopeful!

But my excitement didn’t last long. Within hours, my toddler discovered that repeated, firm slamming caused the product to turn sideways and eventually split down the middle. (Yes, my daughter is very strong and persistent. We are very proud of her! Sigh…)

“No matter,” I thought, “we’ll try installing it closer to the door jamb.” Again, my eldest found a workaround. By placing a step stool on top of another chair, she could reach the very top of her door with a stick and dislodge the bumper.

A stool balanced precariously on top of a chair, sitting in front of a door that is slightly ajar.

I felt utterly defeated. I couldn’t have my toddler slamming doors and waking up (or injuring!) the baby. But I also couldn’t have her clambering up teetering furniture towers!

I needed a product that would silence the doors, protect against injuries, and not encourage any other unsafe behaviors, even indirectly.

Necessity as the Mother of Invention

With our third baby on the way, I was determined to solve this problem once and for all, by designing my own, perfectly beautiful, safe, and functional door silencing object!

I needed my door silencer to:

  1. silence doors (but allow them to close) and
  2. prevent finger pinches (by preventing the door from closing)

How could a single object both prevent doors from closing and allow them to close silently?

I also knew that our product needed to be very difficult for a 3-year-old to remove.

Visually, my home aesthetic is clean, natural, and minimalist. This new object would have to be unobtrusive and blend in. My perfect door silencer would be quiet visually and acoustically.

I explored a range of materials — silicone? Tyvek? rubber? — and ultimately decided on gray wool felt. Felt, it turns out, is not just a beautiful material for home goods, but has industrial applications as well — such as for sound dampening in architecture and large machinery. So the Shoosh uses industrial-strength wool felt, highly rated for durability, longevity, and sound-absorption. It’s made to last.

For this project we were super lucky to partner with the amazing and woman-owned B Corp Portland Garment Factory. PGF helped source the best eco-friendly felt, and they designed the ingenious pattern for cutting the felt — so producing a Shoosh involves sort of rolling the felt into itself. (Stay tuned for another post on our PGF collaboration.)

So, after many iterations, I finally had a design that satisfied all of my criteria. So now, I’m happy to announce…

The Perfect 2-in-1 Door Silencer & Safety Bumper

The Shoosh has two orientations or “modes.”

Facing one way, in Silencing Mode, the Shoosh allows the door to close, but holds the door latch in place (silently!) and the felt dampens the force of the closing door — preventing the door from actually making contact with the door frame.

Oolie Shoosh door silencer installed on a door in silencing mode.

Facing the other way, in Bumper Mode, the Shoosh's bumper catches all the force, preventing the door from closing at all.

Oolie Shoosh door safety bumper installed on a door in bumper mode.

These two modes can support your family as your kids grow, and your needs change. With a newborn, for example, you’ll likely find Silencing Mode useful. When that baby becomes a toddler, you can flip that Shoosh around into Bumper Mode, to protect those little fingers.

On top of all that, the Shoosh is an understated, unobtrusive object that won’t clash with your decor. It’s easy for grown-ups to install, but impossible for most precocious children to uninstall. You’ll sleep better with a Shoosh in your home.

It’s been so rewarding to finally get the Shoosh out into the world, and see other moms use it in their homes, for more peace, quiet, and rest!

—Nora Murray

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