Have a baby? There’s an app for that!

Science, Technology 2014-06-10

As technology and gadgets continue to become integral parts of our everyday life is it right that developers are targeting a market that can’t even say mum yet?


The market for gadgets and technology aimed at new parents is booming and with such a new market opening up everyone from paediatricians to mums have an opinion.


The value of the baby durables industry is at $2.6bn in the US alone so it’s hardly surprising that more and more gadgets aimed at parents are appearing all the time. The Owlet sock is one of many high-tech baby monitors appearing that will keep track of everything you could ever hope to know about your baby, from heart rate and blood oxygen to sleeping patterns and position, all via a mobile app. Other products available to parents include a cocoon forming car seat and Smart diapers that can help you detect urinary infections with a QC code.



Is this new technology ‘best for baby’ or is it just there to tempt overly nervous parents? To some parents the new technology is a helpful innovation that makes the challenge of parenting a bit easier whilst some think it is all a bit unnecessary.


Research by the University of Stirling has shown that technology, as long as it is in the right dosage, doesn’t pose an obvious risk to development. The amount of technology present when growing up isn’t likely to affect you, but the relationship your parents have with technology will.  So the worry may no longer be about whether baby gadgets are ‘best for baby’ but if they are healthy for parents.


According to paediatrician Dr Rahul Chodhari, from the Royal Free Hospital, the start of an unhealthy relationship with technology could be a sleep-induced purchase of something like the Owlet Sock. Syncing your baby to your mobile may be a tempting prospect for worried parents, but too much can cause paranoia.  There is a worry that being able to monitor your baby 24/7 might cause parents to ignore their instincts and make unnecessary doctors visits.


It’s not all bad news though, providing toddlers with technology is likely to be helpful for their learning. Research from the University of Wisconsin found that by giving toddlers a screen to interact with they were far more likely to respond and learn faster.


So how much is too much? The general message is if you are lost when the batteries run out then you may need to switch off for a bit.


Let me know what technology you can’t manage without @GabyAtNotch


Image courtesy of Owlet –  http://www.owletcare.com