There are high-tech products on the market today that your mother and father couldn’t even imagine. From your child’s birth throughout their time as a toddler, these products can help you track your child’s growth, keep them safe and even help educate them.
We grew up in a world without video baby monitors and without sensors everywhere. We turned out just fine, right?
It may sound like overkill, but having help keeping track of your child’s ups and downs and whereabouts can really help put you at ease. Babies have immune systems that aren’t fully developed and if they’re under the weather, and you may worry if your child suddenly develops a high fever. Although it’s highly unlikely, how will you know if your child stops breathing in the middle of the night? Are they crying because their leg is stuck in the crib or just because they’re fussy? Babies can’t communicate specific needs, so technology can help take out some of the guesswork.
How do you make sure they’re keeping up with educational milestones so they’re ready for school? Everything is so fast-paced these days. I started pre-algebra in the sixth grade. When my sister went through school in the same district, they were starting to learn it in the third. You want your child to be ready when it’s time to jump on that big yellow bus, and there are all sorts of apps available to help them get there.
The first of these is a modern take on an old-school piece of technology, the baby monitor. This video baby monitor from Withings provides a high-definition audiovisual feed that can be accessed via a web portal or your smartphone. For security, the video stream is not stored and you can keep track of who’s accessing the monitor and when. If your little one needs soothing, just push a button and talk to them, play a prerecorded lullaby or turn on a nightlight. It also has sensors that track temperature and humidity in the room as well as your baby’s movement. It offers all the convenience of being in the room when you can’t actually be there.
If you’re a first-time parent or your child needs extra care, you may want to monitor your baby even more closely. Enter the Mimo kimono. A small turtle-shaped sensor that clips onto this onesie is connected via Bluetooth to a base station that feeds data to your phone. The sensor tracks your baby’s movement, body position, breathing and skin temperature. There’s also an audio transmitter.
Another option is the Smart Sock from Owlet Care, which uses the same technology doctors use to measure your heart rate and oxygen levels. This system can operate through your smartphone or through a base station, so you’re not dependent on your phone’s battery life or home internet service.
My mom used to hold me, step on the scale, and do some math to get my weight. Not only do you not have to do that anymore, but the Smart Scale will send your child’s weight right to your phone. You can also use the manufacturer’s app to keep track of your child’s height and their feeding schedule. This can be extremely valuable if there’s a medical need, but every parent rests easier knowing their child is maintaining a healthy growth rate.
The innovations in the baby tech arena are not limited to safety and diagnostic information. There are also some really cool things that can help you with the day-to-day care of your child.
Do the Baby Bottle Shake
Your baby needs milk, but you’ve got nowhere to heat it up. That’s a problem, right? You may want to check out the iiamo Go self-heating baby bottle. When your baby is ready to eat, just attach a special heating cartridge filled with salt and water to the bottom of the bottle. Shaking the bottle sets off a chemical reaction that heats the milk so it’s ready for drinking in four minutes.
The drawback is that the cartridges can only be used once, and a pack of five costs $11 on Amazon. That could add up quickly, but if you’re occasionally on the go, this could be an option worth looking at.
Another piece of gear that’s getting a high-tech update is the bounce seat. Whereas traditional bouncers mostly just vibrate, the momaRoo more accurately approximates the variety of rocking motions a child’s mother may do. You can control the bouncer with your phone through the app and even play your music from your playlists through the bouncer’s built-in speakers.
I know what you’re thinking: How are nail clippers tech? Well, babies have really small nails that are hard to see and, therefore, to cut. Here are some clippers that get around that problem in two different ways. The first option incorporates LED lights and the second features a magnifying glass to ease the strain on your over-tired eyes. Now, if only they’d come up with a feature that keeps your baby from wiggling!
Phone and Tablet
Your child is going to see what you play with and want to give it a try too. Your smartphone or tablet can even be an effective educational tool for your child. But before you turn them loose with your iPhone 6+, there are a few things you should know.
You Can Try to Fake It
There are cell phone toys featuring a variety of characters. I prefer this Thomas the Tank Engine model as I believe it offers parents several unique advantages. Follow my train of thought here (pun intended).
First, to your toddler, it’s going to look a lot like the phone you use, which is a plus. More importantly though, once you’ve given your child his very own smartphone, you can introduce him to reruns of Thomas and Friends. The series was narrated by Ringo Starr during its first two seasons. Using Ringo as the introduction, you can get your kid into Beatles music while all the other parents have to hear the same song from “Frozen” for the 57th time and just wish their kid would “Let It Go.”
Unfortunately, the whole fake phone thing won’t work forever. When you finally hand over your phone or tablet, odds are they’re going to drop it. Therefore, you need to make sure your phone has a good, protective case on it. Tempered glass and a waterproof seal might also provide some extra protection.
Set Up Restrictions
We all know the online world is full of content that’s unsuitable for kids. Keep them sweet and innocent as long as you can by setting parental controls on your devices.
On iOS, you can set up restrictions. For Android, you can turn on parental controls in the Google Play store. Kid’s Corner for your Windows Phone allows parents to pick the content their kids can access while protecting their own important information from an accidental wipeout.
The screens we obsessively clutch in our hands really excel in bringing interactivity into a learning experience. What follows is just a small sampling of what’s available.
The storybook is so much more now than when we were kids. Apps like The Cat in the Hat have interactive pictures and recordable narration enabling your child to explore much deeper within the story.
Tiggly toys combine objects in the physical world with digital ones on screen to teach kids about concepts like shapes, math and words.
When kids want to express their artistic side, there’s the coloring book. But, as any parent of a toddler can tell you, they have their limitations. Young kids will draw on everything, including themselves, and may even try to eat the crayons. Also, you can only color the picture once. This cool coloring book app is long lasting and mess free.
When it comes to videos, YouTube can be an awesome resource for entertainment and education. However, there are things on the site you don’t want your kids seeing as they hop from video to video. To handle this problem, Google has come out with a new YouTube Kids app for both iOS and Android that features content specially curated for ages five and under. Parents can also set a timer that limits how long their child can use the app.
One of the most frustrating times of day for any parent can be bedtime. No matter how tired your children are, sometimes they just don’t want to go to sleep. A white noise machine can do wonders lulling your tot to sleep. With the help of your phone, you no longer have to buy a separate device to keep in your child’s room.
Each of the operating systems will have white noise machine apps. As a pro tip, set your phone to a mode where it won’t ring or vibrate – you don’t want an incoming text message to take you back to square one. On iOS, this setting is called Do Not Disturb. The Android setting is Priority Mode. On Windows Phone, this is Quiet Hours.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of toddler tech and new products are coming out every day. What’s your favorite gadget? Tell us how it has helped you and your family!
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