7 High-Tech Parenting Gadgets You Can Live Without
There is no doubt that we are parenting in an age that is unlike any other, particularly when it comes to technology. While technology has made parenting more difficult when it comes to things like screen time and sexting, it has also made so many facets of parenting so much easier that it seems we've leaped light-years ahead of the days when the basic audio baby monitor hit the market.
Now solar-powered strollers and portable pacifier sanitizers are billing themselves as the new must-haves -- but do you really need these high-tech items, or will the traditional versions work just as well? Read on to find out.
1. Origami Stroller
Photo Credit: 4moms
Every parent has had that moment when they've got a screaming baby and a stroller that just won't fold the way it's supposed to that they need to get in the car immediately. Strollers have an amazing ability to stump even the most gadget-savvy of all tech experts out there. But the Origami stroller by 4moms takes all the hassle out of stroller folding with a power-folding mechanism. All you have to do is touch a button. The stroller has generators in its rear wheels that charge while you walk, and they not only charge enough to operate the power-folding mechanism, but you can also charge your cell phone and check how far you've walked on the mileage counter displayed on an LCD screen, and you'll always be visible even in low light as it has daytime running lights and pathway lights. This stroller also folds into a smaller footprint which is ideal for city dwellers and those that have a smaller car, and it has luggage style wheels so it can easily be rolled even when collapsed. (Origami Stroller, $850)
Low-Tech Alternative: Read your stroller manual from cover to cover and practice folding it before heading out the door; use your memory to remember to charge your phone before leaving the house or even consider a tech-free walk.
2. Prodigy Infant Car Seat
Photo Credit: Babies 'R Us
Time after time we hear that parents don't install their infant car seat properly. Police hold car seat safety checks across the country on a regular basis, but how can you be sure it's right again when you've had to move it from one car to another or adjust the straps? The Prodigy Infant Car Seat takes the guess work out of car seat installation. It uses Smart Screen technology to notify you when it's correctly installed with a smiley face that appears on the base. The harness system automatically adjusts for a snug fit and the belt-tightening system attaches the base to the car easily. (Prodigy Infant Car Seat, $180)
Low-Tech Alternative: Go to a car seat safety check in your area and then mark where the seat parameters should sit and straps should be. We didn't even have car seats when we were kids, and we turned out all right (wink, wink).
3. Toddler Tag Child Locator
Photo Credit: Brickhouse Security
You'll never lose tabs on your child in a crowded space with the Toddler Tag Child Locator by Brickhouse Security. This device comes with a parent transmitter (that's small enough to attach to your keychain) and when your child wanders more than 30 feet away from you while wearing the locator, the transmitter will alert you. In addition, you can hit the one-touch locator button and your child's device will sound an alarm to help you find them with a radius of 150 feet. The transmitter alarm will also sound when the child's device goes more than 150 feet away from the receiver so that you know they've wandered off. This device is certain to make those trips to the mall or fair or travel via plane much less stressful. (Toddler Tag Child Locator, $60)
Low-Tech Alternative: Do not take your eyes off your child. In a crowded place teach them to hold your hand at all times. Sometimes these high-tech gadgets can create a false sense of secruity that makes us more likely to lose sight of the child.
4. Exmobaby Mood Sensing Onesie
Screenshot Credit: Exmobaby
The Exmobaby Onesie is made from conductive fibers that monitor your baby's heart rate, emotional state (tired, hungry, wet, etc.), and behavior and transmit it back to a software program that analyzes the data partially based on data that the parents have previously loaded. The program then sends a text message or email to the parent to let them know what the baby needs. This onesie is geared towards the parent that is hyper-nervous or has a high-risk baby and needs to be notified immediately in certain scenarios such as when the heart rate drops, and aims to let them rest easy and potentially even get a decent night's sleep without popping up to check on the baby every 15 minutes. A kit includes the onesie, transmitter, software, and six months of monitoring service. (Exmobaby Onesie, $1,000 and up)
Low-Tech Alternative: Chill out! It's ok to be a nervous parent, but checking on your baby regularly the old-fashioned way should be enough, and if you have a case of extreme circumstances, consider taking shifts with your spouse or hiring a night nurse who can also care for the baby should there be an issue.
5. LiveConnect Home Video Monitoring System
Photo Credit: Lorex Technology
Whether you're at home or half way around the world, you'll always be able to check in on your little one with the LiveConnect Home Video Monitoring System using your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, or a handheld monitor for home. This monitoring system uses Plugged into Skype technology with a dedicated internet gateway so that live video feed is always at your finger tips. (LiveConnect Home Video Monitoring System, $300)
Low-Tech Alternative: Carefully screen caregivers and have faith in your significant other that they are ideed capable of caring for a child. Then call that person to check in on the baby when you need a little reassurance that everything is ok. You can still Skype when the child is awake and you can interact with them.
6. Pipila Pacifier Sterilizer
Photo Credit: Pipila
Babies love to toss their pacifiers on the ground for Mom and Dad to retrieve, and it's always bound to happen when you're in the most high traffic or dirtiest places. You'll never have enough back up pacifiers on hand, and while you may be able to run to the bathroom to wash it with some hot water and soap, you'll still be hesitant to give it back to your baby. But now you can travel with the Portable Pacifier Sterilizer by Pipila that uses a UV/03 lamp to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and germs within three minutes, and is merely the size of a baseball. (Pacifier Sterilizer, $35)
Low Tech-Alternative: Have a few extras on hand and teach the child that if they keep throwing them they lose them because when you're out of clean ones, that is it. And don't forget to boil them when you get home.
7. Beaba Bib'expresso
Photo Credit: Scandanavian Child
While breast may be best, it's not always possible and bottle-feeding parents know that it's not easy to get a bubble free mixture of formula or one at the exact right temperature. That was until the Beaba Bib'expresso became available. This appliance uses a unique water flow to mix powdered formula quickly while reducing air bubbles and controlling temperature throughout the mixture. It also comes with a portable compact warmer that can be used to heat solid food and bottles of breast milk. As an added bonus it is self-cleaning and has a microwaveable sterilizer/bottle storage compartment that holds up to three 10-ounce bottles. (Bib'expresso, $130)
Low-Tech Alternative: Whether you choose to stick a bottle in boiling water or pop it in the microwave, you'll be making so many bottles that after the first few you'll be able to figure out exactly how long and at what temperature you need to heat formul and baby food.
While technology can't handle all of the hard parts of parenting, it can make your life a little easier, however, there's still nothing wrong with doing things the old fashioned way in most cases.
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