Having kids is simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen in many people’s lives. While nothing can replicate the joy and pride of your child’s first word, first step, or first day at school, there will always be that nagging in the back of your mind that your true freedom has gone forever.
For the next 18 years you’re going to be lumbered with an increasingly ungrateful dependent.
Joking aside, having children brings about lots of practical concerns for parents. Sadly, the world is no longer a sepia-toned 1930s utopia – evil, danger, and worry lie in wait around every corner, ready to deal a hammer blow to your serene journey through parenthood.
Thankfully, the advent of smart technology is now starting to ease some of the worries and pressures of the real world. Here are some of the most exciting devices that’ll make raising and monitoring your kids much easier.
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare; you’re in a busy shopping center, carnival, or airport, only to turn around to discover your child has vanished.
It’s typically not the parent’s fault. Children are curious about the world they live in, and everything from an ice-cream seller to an interesting-looking inanimate object has the potential to lure them away. No matter how much you tell your child to stay close by at all times, it remains a possibility.
Based out of Utah in the United States, Kiband’s design premise is that the coverage and accuracy of GPS can be called into question. Therefore, it relies on Bluetooth 4.1 technology and an alarm.
The Bluetooth will provide coverage for up to 60 meters in any direction, and while within range you can activate an 85 decibel alarm to help you locate your kid. The band also contains contact information so that if someone finds your kid before you do, they have a way to reach you.
There is an accompanying smartphone app which gives you an approximate distance and location to your child’s location, but it does not make use of a map.
It is designed for children aged between three and seven.
UK-based Child Angel is similar to Kiband, but works over any distance. All communications are done via the smartphone app, and the locating is done via GPS on a map.
It differs from Kiband in many ways:
- Firstly, it covers ages three to thirteen.
- Secondly, the app will alert you if the band is removed, as well as plotting the removal point on a map (Kiband won’t tell you where the band was removed, but is safeguarded by the fact that the band can only be unlocked from a parent’s smartphone).
- Thirdly, Child Angel can be customized with images and logos.
Both devices also provide “geo-fencing”, which means you can set up a boundary (for example, around you and your neighbor’s house), and you’ll be alerted if your child goes outside that boundary.
One of a parent’s biggest worries when their child is a baby is “sudden infant death syndrome” (SIDS).
It’s not entirely clear what causes SIDS, but it’s known that cigarette smoke, premature birth, and excess body heat can all play a part.
Mimo aims to minimize the risk of SIDS. It comes in two parts, a onesie that is fitted with two breathing sensors, and a hub that streams data on breathing patterns, sleep activity, skin temperature and body position straight to your smart device.
It means you’ll be instantly alerted if something unusual happens to your child while they’re asleep, enabling you to administer potentially life-saving first aid before it’s too late.
It also acts as a traditional baby monitor, broadcasting the sounds from your infant’s room straight to your room.
One of the most frustrating parts of being a parent is trying to get your kid to settle down for the night. Children never want to go to bed, and even once they’re supposedly asleep there’s a good chance they could get up to play computer games, build robots with their LEGO set, or fight with their siblings.
Thankfully, the Sleep IQ Kids smart bed can help provide a weary parent with some answers.
Its principle features are the same as those on smart beds for adults; it monitors movement, breathing, and heart rate and then assigns a score to the quality of a night’s rest when you get up in the morning.
The data all feeds back into a dashboard which you and your kid can both access, thus showing you whether studying, eating, or exercising had an impact on their sleep.
The manufacturers have also included a few specific features just for children. They include a parental alert if your child gets up in the night, soft under-bed lighting, and a “monster detector”.
Research suggests that drowning is the number two cause of accidental child fatality. It’s all too easy for a kid to fall into a body of water without anyone noticing, or for them to fail to resurface in something as innocent as a school swimming lesson.
The iSwimband has two models – a swimmer’s version and a non-swimmer’s version. The swimmers version will sound an alert on a parent’s iOS device if the wearer doesn’t resurface in a pre-determined amount of time, while the non-swimmer’s version will inform the parent if the wearer comes into contact with any river, lake, pool, or pond.
Sunburn can be terribly dangerous to children. Kids who get badly burned at a young age are several times more likely to develop melanoma and skin cancer in later life.
You can take the worry out of the never ending school summer holidays with the SunFriend wristband.
It can measure both UVA and UVB rays and will alert the user that it’s time to add more sun cream well before any permanent skin damage is done.
The band can also be programmed to match the person’s skin tone, from 1 for very light to 11 for very dark.
At what age should your kid be given a mobile phone? It’s not uncommon to see very young children playing games on their parent’s phone, but giving them their own phone is a much more hazardous idea – they could experience cyber-bullying, spend hundreds of dollars in app stores, or run up huge bills calling their classmates.
Bocco – a robot designed in Japan – aims to provide a solution.
Instead of trying to be a real human or provide entertainment, Bocco only has one purpose – to send and receive voice messages to smartphones that are running the associated app.
To keep things simple it only has two buttons – one to record messages and one to play them back. It’ll give you a free and easy way to stay in touch no matter where in the world you are, giving both of you a level of reassurance.
One thing to remember is that Bocco will not allow your kids to call the emergency services, so you’ll still need to teach them how to use the landline in case such a situation arises.
What Devices Do You Use?
What devices do you find make the job of being a parent easier? Have you used any of the ones we mentioned above?
We’d love to hear your tips and experiences, let us know your feedback in the comments below.