The Holiday Season is in full swing. While many of us have tried a movement/ heart rate/ temperature monitor for ourselves, what about for babies? For those shopping for gifts for new parents and their newborns, it may be tempting to dive into the tech.
Here is the low-down on three popular, new high-tech solutions for watching your baby’s every move and monitoring her every heartbeat.
A friendly-looking turtle settled on your baby’s onesie monitors your baby’s breathing, body position, temperature, activity level, and sleep. You don’t want to buy 400 Mimo onesies for every time he spits up? Then a turtle on his fancy nursery sheet will tell you about baby’s activity and sleep. This system will integrate seamlessly into the Nest suite of devices (like your Nest thermostat and nanny-cam) all of which you can control from your smartphone. It makes fancy graphs about your baby’s sleeping patterns, and you can flip easily to spying on your child with a Nest camera. It’s $199 for the device + three onesies and about $15 for each additional onesie.
This heart-shaped anklet that nestles around your baby’s chubby little calf provides heart rate and activity information to your smartphone. Instead of just delivering endless graphs, Sproutling makes predictions based on past inputs. When will baby wake up? Is she in a good mood or is she cranky now? The charger just might be the coolest part. It charges wirelessly so you don’t have to plug in the monitor, but it also has sensors to detect changes in the baby’s environment: temperature, humidity, sound. If nothing else, the flashy video on the website’s homepage will give new parents a laugh. Unfortunately, it’s currently sold out, so the waitlist is the closest you’ll get to the Sproutling monitor this holiday.
Their niche is the warning aspect. The baby wears a pulse oximeter (measures oxygen saturation in the blood) in a little sock. A base station sits by the parent’s bed so that it will flash a warning if the baby stops breathing. That way, theoretically, mom doesn’t have to stare at the baby monitor all night. Of course, you can also see the information on your smartphone. Their video is less fun and more paranoia-inducing. The Owlet costs $250 for the smart sock and the base station.
The big question that remains is whether any of these things are necessary. Do the monitors actually make your life easier or just give you more to worry about? Do they represent an unnecessary intrusion of technology into the parent-baby relationship? Or, are they a godsend to nervous parents? Finally, do they make a difference in child health? Do you need to go running to stop the baby from choking or would she have been fine regardless? Do baby monitors reduce SIDS? That most-important question remains unanswered.