Technological childcare to simplify parenting

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By Samantha Loney
@blueloney
Feb 29, 2016,  9:46 PM
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Being a new parent is the most exciting and terrifying thing in the world. You are now responsible for a tiny human being. Every decision you make from this point forward will effect that little one you love so dearly. Congratulations, your life is over, and your prize is a lifetime of stress and anxiety. Overwhelmed already? Have no fear, you’re lucky you live in the technological age, where technology couldn’t make parenting more fun and infuriating. There are a plethora of new gadgets out there that can help make your parenting a little less stressful. So, let’s take a look at some of the new products on the market.

The Mimo, a high-tech onesie was engineered by MIT graduates. This fully functional onesie has a sensor attached to it that monitors your baby's breathing, sleep activity, skin temperature and body position. Another similar product for babies is the Sproutling ankle band; the band measures sound waves in a room, letting you know when it’s getting a little too loud for your bundle of joy, and even alerts you of their wake up time. Looking for a bedtime security system? The Owlet is a baby monitoring sock that will alert you if your baby stops breathing.

SIDS is a serious issue that affects babies under the age of six months, however it should be known that products like Owlet are a mere protection measure, and not a prevention of the dangers your child may face. "I have hundreds of comments from Owlet testers, and none of them focus on SIDS," Kurt Workman, founder and CEO of Owlet, wrote in a statement to Live Science. "They just want to know if something is wrong."

Wireless Childcare

If that's not your concern, children are often walking cesspools for germs. They touch everything and insist on giving every random object a taste test. Sure, they need to build up their immune system, but how do you know when they’ve crossed the line into dangerous territory? That’s where the Pacif-I comes in handy. This pacifier is used to measure the temperature of your child, and sends updates to your phone where you can monitor their health. When you lose the device, as you know you will, it has a buzzing feature for easy location. 

So, you’ve kept your child alive into the tender toddler years. They’re walking now, and as much as you may like to lose them in the brush after experiencing the terrible twos, you can’t. But who has time to watch their children these days with everything on Netflix and the Internet? Thankfully, there are countless products out there for you. A new trend of GPS devices for children are out there, waiting. You simply stick one of them in your child’s pocket or on their belt, and you can track their location on your phone. Products already on the market include the Weenect and Loc8ter.

Looking for more than just a GPS tracker? The Tinitell is a wrist band that also serves as a two-way voice recognition system. If your child is lost, they can talk into the wrist band and be instantly connected to you. Another product that works similarly is the Amber Alert GPS. In addition to a two-way voice communication system, this product also informs you by text or e-mail when your child comes within 500 feet of a pedophile. As an extra safety measure, your child also has a SOS button with a signal that can be sent to up to 10 users.

As we know, losing a child can be devastating, and most parents would go leaps and bounds to prevent any situation like that from occurring. You can't put a price on what one would do to keep their child safe. Does the same go for humility? Apparently not. Say hello to the FlashMe Sydney. This wrist band has a QR code the finder of a child can scan on their iPhone, and is ideal for small children who can’t remember their phone number and address.

So, you know where your kid is; is that really going to help ensure their safety? Regardless of if you know where your child is, there are constant dangers in life. As much as you would like to, you can’t shelter your child forever. Summer is around the corner and there are plenty of dangers around the pool, and just the sun in general.

Monitoring the Elements

Whether you are at the pool or the beach, there are always dangers concerning children. Not to worry, there's high-tech help for that too. Gone are the days of water wings; say hello to the iSwimband. This product comes with two separate bands, one for swimmers and one for non-swimmers. The swimmers' headband monitors the amount of time your child has been under water, and sets off an alarm to notify you that little Timmy needs to come up for air. For non-swimmers, there is a wrist band; it buzzes if little Susie falls into the water, in order to alert you and help prevent drowning. 

With temperatures rising around the globe, heat stroke has become a major issue in the past few years. Children are among the most affected because they tend to have such sensitive skin. You shouldn’t spend your relaxing time at the beach constantly worrying if your child is going to be okay in the heat, that’s why there is the Safe Kids Paxie Band. The band monitors your child’s temperature to prevent heat stroke; it also monitors your child’s heart rate and keeps track of how active your child has been. Sunfriend is another product on the market. This device takes the user's skin tone and measures UVA and UVB rays. An LED light will flash, letting you know when your child has become cooked to the optimal temperature.

It may seem like these new products are heading down a slippery slope of lazy parenting. This technology craze may seem like an unnecessary step in child safety, especially when the easier and more cost-effective solution is to watch your children. So, will this new trend in baby technology catch on? Chris Bruce, CEO of Sproutling, thinks the demand is probably limited. "It's not for everybody. I think there's a lot of parents who will never put technology on their kids."

So, why spend so much time and money taking a chance on something that may not catch on?

"We are in a new era with new possibilities, and shouldn't hold ourselves back because of the constraints we had 30 years ago," Workman argues.

Impact (ONLY use the 'Paste From Word' button to safely copy and paste text from a Word doc) 

We are living in a world where technology reigns. These products can help provide peace of mind to parents. Stress levels would go down by knowing everything happening in a baby’s crib is all right. We could see changes in child kidnapping; with GPS’s in our children’s pockets, the ratio of lost children to returned children could go down. Child deaths from heat stroke and drowning could also go down. A new future in technological parenting just might keep our kids safer.

Public Release Date: 
2016

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