A New Generation of Monitors Give Parents an Extra Set of Hands

Elements that define daily life for so many of us–smartphones, wifi, Google–meant nothing twenty years ago. So, could we reasonably expect childcare today to look the same as it did a generation ago? The truth is that technology has expanded parents’ options in nearly every aspect of child-rearing, from tracking and sharing baby’s development digitally–starting in utero–with apps like Ovia, to building strollers that fold at the touch of a button and self-installing car seats. One key areas of innovation is around baby monitors, which facilitate the crucial caretaker priorities of sleep and safety. Monitors today give caretakers unprecedented insight into baby’s well-being, revolutionizing how we care for our children.

Medical Insights at Home

In this new age of tech-friendly baby gear, parents can expect a monitor to tell them much more than when a baby is silent or howling. Owlet offers a unique strategy for baby safety with its “smart sock” technology; the Owlet “smart sock” is essentially a super-intelligent baby bootie. By leveraging pulse oximetry, common hospital technology, to track an infant’s heart rate and oxygen levels–and sending that information to a corresponding app–the Owlet sock monitor gives caretakers peace of mind that their baby is safe and healthy, and aggregates valuable data points without disrupting baby’s wake and sleep cycles.

Keep Tabs On Baby

With the same goal of keeping babies safe and parents informed, Angelcare offers a line of unique monitors with value-add that lasts from infancy into toddlerhood. Angelcare monitors utilize an under-the-mattress baby movement sensor pad that alerts caretakers after 20 seconds of no movement. (Users can adjust the pad’s sensitivity and temporarily disable the alarm for mid-night feedings and diaper changes.) This kind of technology has enduring value: it’s useful to the parents of a newborn who are putting their baby in his own room for the first time and it’s useful for parents of a busy toddler who is curious enough to climb out of her crib during the night.

Distance Is Relative

Movement sensors and pulse oximetry certainly raise caretakers’ expectations for what a monitor can do, but technology can also make physical distance a non-issue. Now, video monitors can connect to an app on caretakers’ mobile phones, allowing them to keep an eye on their baby from distances far beyond the range of a traditional monitor. Belkin’s NetCam does exactly this for parents who want to know that baby is playing peacefully or sleeping soundly at any given moment–whether they’re three dozen miles away at work or a few blocks away running errands. These internet-capable video monitors are a tremendous resource for parents have to spend time far away from their baby, fostering a form of parent-child connection that’s been missing for years.

An Extra Set of Hands

One of the most groundbreaking developments in baby monitoring is CloudTot, designed by DockATot–the ubiquitous baby sleep and play raft. Slated to launch in fall 2017, CloudTot promises to track baby’s movement, wetness level and breathing, as well as nursery temperature and noise level. CloudTot is so committed to infant safety that if doesn’t detect motion for 12 seconds, it will alert caretakers and initiate a mechanism called Pep Pegs to gently nudge the baby into motion. In short, CloudTot aims to take active care of your child and help prevent potentially life-threatening situations while baby is asleep. If CloudTot delivers on its promises, it’s poised to make baby monitors a proactive part of the childcare equation by possibly saving a baby’s life when the caretakers can’t get there in time.

The latest cohort of baby monitors takes safety and sleep to a whole new level, radically changing the way caretakers do their job. Thanks to these monitor innovations, any parent can check in on the beautiful rhythm of a newborn’s heartbeat or keep an eye on a toddler anxious to choose play over sleep. This new synergy between technology and monitors gives our children a level of care that takes infant safety and sleep to a whole new level.