In this ongoing update, we’ll fill you in on the latest in gear, gadgets, and new ideas that can make caring for your baby safer, more efficient, or more fun.
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When adults and even children use video conferencing, we of course recognize that the screen is merely showing us an image of someone far away as we speak. Babies? Not so much.
Science News reports on a new study looking at how young children respond to video calls. “Lots of families use video calling to connect with long-distance relatives, but scientists don’t know how babies handle the technology,” the article notes.
The researchers at Georgetown University are studying how young children interact with video communication technology like Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts. “There’s almost no research that explores how children under age 2 are using video calling at home, yet these are the children who are most likely to benefit from it,” they said.
The full article is here — as the reporter and her child participate in the study.
Two companies are offering tongue-in-cheek pacifiers with “mute buttons” to muffle a babies incessant sounds.
“Sometimes you just need your little angel to be a little less…noisy,” says Personalized Pacifiers. Its Mute Button Pacifier “is the perfect way to please your baby,” the company says, and is made of non-toxic, hygienically formed, natural bite-resistant materials designed to form naturally in the mouth, “satisfying babies need for supplemental sucking and providing parents with peace of mind.” It’s $5 here.
Big Mouth Toys’ Mute Button Pacifier looks more like a real mute button. It’s BPA free and exceeds CPSC safety standards, the company adds, and costs $11 here.
With the AlphaZoo Spinner, children can “press and spin their way to early reading skills,” LeapFrog says.
Toddlers can listen and learn the names of the letters when in Letter mode, and the names and sounds of animals when in Animal mode, “all while building gross and fine motor skills. Children learn more when they’re having fun,” the company adds.
It’s $20 here.
Pediatrician Dr. Jen offers a new free app for your mobile device that provides parental tips and advice.
Baby Bundle is billed as a the first comprehensive app that “helps new parents be the best parents they want to be by simplifying the process of recording milestones and medical information, and delivering guidance and reassurance from Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg.”
The Parenting Guide includes expert tips from Dr. Jen and is particularly relevant and useful for expectant parents. The Monitoring Tools let you easily record your baby’s daily activities (sleeping, feeding, diaper changes, and pumping/expression.) The Growth Tracker records weight, length, and head circumference.
There’s also a vaccinations and check-up planner, and a photo organizer.
Dr. Jen is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and mother of three children.
The free app is here.
Could this app help your child prepare for school? Studies show preschoolers who watch Sesame Street perform significantly better than those who don’t, the Sesame Workshop says.
With Sesame Go, your children can instantly watch hundreds of episodes of Sesame Street, Sesame Street Classics, and Pinky Dinky Doo episodes. The shows are presented in a secure, ad-free, and child-friendly environment. They can watched on a PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. “Sesame Go’s video player was specially customized with little hands in mind,” the developers add, saying its “colorful, easy-to-control buttons will make it simple for your child to use.”
The video subscription service is $4 a month, with a 2-week free trial.
The “Life in The Amazon” Triple Fun Active Learning Center “offers parents a safe alternative to walkers,” maker Evenflo says.
The center has eleven age-appropriate toys that “help your baby achieve important developmental milestones,” the company adds, “with rock, spin and bounce actions that provide your baby with plenty of exercise to strengthen legs, back and neck muscles” to help develop fine motor skills, object exploration, and tactile development.
It’s good from newborn to 24 months with a 3-position height adjustment that “grows with your baby.” The playmat, “exersaucer,” and activity table are one unit, and fold to “significantly smaller to make travel and storage easy.”
It’s $90 here.