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Baby Tech

Gadgets and new innovations for babies and their parents.

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Fit and fun, all in one
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Leapfrog’s LeapBand fitness tracker, available at Amazon for under $25, makes it fun for kids to be fit.

Geared toward children ages 4 through 7, the LeapBand can be preloaded with 50 different activity challenges, from wriggling like a worm to marching like an elephant.

There’s a built-in reward factor, in which activities garner points and prizes once completed. And kids can choose a pet mascot from among an array of eight, name the pet, and use rewards for challenges to feed their pets or simply help their pets thrive through the children’s physical activities.

The LeapBand also functions as a digital or analog watch, and helps children to learn time through verbal cues. It runs on a rechargeable battery that can be charged via a USB port, and includes parental controls.

Leapfrog’s LeapBand is available here.

A bathing tub for even the most wriggly babies
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Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 3.00.37 PMPriced at under $20, the First Years Infant-to-Toddler Tub is a great deal with great Amazon reviews from parents who use it. As its name says, the ergonomically designed tub grows along with your baby. It comes with a soft mesh netting and a padded headrest that cradles baby during bathtime in either tub or sink, and both the mesh and the headrest are mildew-resistant.

The drain plug changes color and alerts parents when the water is too hot, and the well at the base of the tub holds bathingsupplies and toys. The angle is adjustable from a slight slant for young babies to a straight back once baby can sit up.

Reviewers notes how the mesh hammock keeps baby in place during the slippery proceScreen Shot 2015-02-22 at 3.00.46 PMss of bathing, and the sturdiness of the tub. They also love the fact that it props newborns for beginning sponge baths, but is just as handy for immersion bathing once baby grows in size.

The tub fits both single- and double-wide sinks, and easily drains out the dirty water when you’re done bathing baby.

Reviewers point out that once baby reaches toddler size and mobility, it’s sometimes easier to just place baby in the bathtub, especially if baby moves around a lot. But most agree that for newborns and babies under 18 months, the tub provides unbeatable stability, ease of use and convenience.

The First Years Infant-to-Toddler Tub comes in blue or pink, and is available here.

 

Stroller organizer for busy parents
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Parents on the go will lovScreen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.29.49 PMe ZenKid’s stroller organizer, currently on sale at Amazon for about $25. The collapsible and durable velcro-attached bag includes room for a few large bottles, keys, wallet, cell phone, wipes, diapers, snacks and other miscellany and keeps your hands free from purses and bulky diaper bags while walking baby or using a jogger.

The organizer comes with an insulated cup or bottle holder, which keeps temperatures stable, and both a zippered and mesh mini-compartments. The velcro straps are long, and adjustable, so the organizer fits even the bulkiest strollers.

Amazon reviewers love the organizer bag and have rated it 5 stars. They point out that it’s easy to clean, holds as much as far-bigger diaper bags, and is a lifesaver on family outings where you’d bring a stroller.

The organizer weighs only 8 ounces, and measures 13 x 4 x 6.5 inches. ZenKid offers a no-hassle money-back guarantee and will provide you a full refund if you aren’t happy.

Buy it here.

Two years’ worth of fun and learning
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Yet another amazing learning toy from VTech: Its Touch and Learn Activity Desk, geared to toddlers aged 2 to 4 years old, will provide your child with hours of educational fun.

It comes with four double-sided activity mats that overlay the top of the desk and include activities that introduce numbers, letters, animals, people and more. Flip up the desktop and there’s a chalkboard/easel for your child’s creative masterpieces.

The desk, which runs on four AA batteries and has an LED display, includes 30+ learning activities, 20+ songs, and 160+ vocabulary words. There’s a volume control for sound, and an auto-shutoff feature to prevent battery rundown.

The Vtech Touch and Learn Activity Desk is currently priced at just under $50 on Amazon and is available here.

Making formula is now a Breeza
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Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 2.19.28 PMBaby Breeza’s Formula Pro makes preparing bottles a snap for parents and caregivers, especially in the middle of the night.

The Formula Pro measures and mixes your powder and water, and heats it to an optimal 98 degrees F at the best consistency. Water and formula are stored in airtight compartments in the unit, so you can start making a bottle with the push of a button.

You can also determine the capacity of each bottle, by setting the Formula Pro to produce  bottles with 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 ounces of formula. Prepared bottles can also be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. The formula reservoir holds enough powder to make 20 8-oz bottles.

Amazon reviewers of the product stress the necessity of reading the instructions, as well as routinely washing the Formula Pro, for its optimal performace. Buy it here.

 

Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 7.16.15 PMThe Fisher Price Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing soothes the most restless babies. It includes two swing settings–back and forth or sideways–and six swing speeds, easily adjustable through the swing’s controls on the top. It also includes 16 songs to play–and a volume control–plus ambient noise including nature sounds.

The seat is padded with a soft, washable insert that includes a head support, and a mobile that can be set so little birdies circle above baby’s head. The seat is position-adjustable by a button, and accommodates babies up to 25 pounds.

The swing, which is easily assembled with a Phillips screwdriver, runs on AC power (adapter included) or on four D batteries, and can be folded up for storage or for travel.

The Snuggabunny Cradle ‘n Swing is available here.

Toddler Bed for Travel or Transition
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The Shrunks Indoor Travel Bed, pictured left, is geared to young ones who’ve outgrown their cribs. The lightweight, portable, inflatable mattress comes with an electronic airpump, a repair kit and a travel bag, and weighs only 6 pounds.

Each side of the bed has a security rail that prevents your little one from falling, and a sheet-tuck feature that works with any crib-sized sheet.

You can use the bed for camping, travel to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, in hotel rooms, or at home as a transition bed between crib and toddler bed.

The Shrunks Indoor Travel bed is available here.

A toy that grows with your baby
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It’s an activity toy, and it’s a walker.

VTech’s Sit-to-Stand Walker, part of the company’s Infant Learning product line that grows along with your baby, offers a variety of stimulating activities for babies as young as 1 year old.

Baby can play with learning games about animals, colors, music, shapes and numbers. The music mode has a keyboaScreen Shot 2015-01-25 at 5.13.16 PMrd, and buttons to press for animal sounds. A play phone lets baby hear animal sounds.

 

 

 

As baby grows into a toddler, the activity panel can be attached to the sturdy wheeled walker frame, which is motion-activated to play melodies as sound effects as baby walks. Its rubber wheels keep baby steady while baby’s learning to navigate walking, and the rear wheels lock for stability and standing while baby’s learning to stand.

The walker runs on 3 AAA batteries (included), and comes with a user’s manual.

The Sit-to-Stand Walker is currently priced at under $35 at Amazon and is available here.

 

 

 

 

Keep an eye on baby day or night
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Infant Optics’ Video Baby Monitor with night vision is a compact, wireless, durable system that let’s you keep an eye on your baby wherever you are at home.

To set up the system, just plug the adaptor into the camera and monitor, then turn them on.

The monitor has a range of up to 800 feet in open areas, and 150 feet through walls and ceilings. The night-vision V mode turns on automatically, and offers a clear digital black-and-white picture of baby. (Day vision is in color.)

A voice-activation standby mode saves power by shutting down if there’s no noise for three minutes. There’s also a white-noise mode that filters out extraneous sound. You can buy additional cameras for the system too; the monitor will work with up to four cameras at once.

The system can be purchased here.

Killer Apps for Kids: Part 2
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We asked educator and BabyNames partner Kate Glinsmann for her favorite apps for children. This is Part 2 of her report:

The following apps are ones that I use with my English Language Learners who are in grades pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade. I think all kids at this age would benefit from and enjoy these apps. I try to make sure they all are academic in nature, although some might not seem like it at first. The kids really love using the iPads and look forward to Fridays, which is when I bring them out.

Flow Free by Big Duck Games. FREE! I love this puzzle game where you have to connect the colors to each other. It starts out very basic, which is great for the younger kids, and the puzzles get progressively harder. There are different sized grids starting with a 5×5 block grid and up to a 9×9 block grid. A great app for everyone, whether a child or a senior. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flow-free/id526641427?mt=8

Letter School by Sanoma Media, $4.99. This app is the best one I’ve found so far for teaching young children how to make letters. I love how versatile it is, allowing you to set the alphabet for Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian or Handwriting Without Tears style. Kids can work on upper case, lower case or numerals 1-10. For each letter or numeral the child starts by tapping the button where each stroke originates, in order. The second part has the child trace the path of the strokes and the third part has the child produce the letter/numeral independently. If s/he has trouble then arrows or lines appear to help. I feel that this app is well worth the cost. http://www.letterschool.com

Kids Learning Photo Touch Concepts by Innovative Investments Limited, $.99. This is a great app for young children (2-4 years old) or English Language Learners. It emphasizes basic vocabulary and concepts like positions, colors, shapes, quantities, and other basic concepts. Adults are able to choose which concepts the child can work on so it is easily adapted to each child’s needs. There is even a setting for displaying hints. I like that this app uses photographs instead of drawings, and this makes it engaging to even the youngest child. Even though I set the age to start at 2 years old, a younger child could even benefit from this app with adult help. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kids-learning-photo-touch/id423247346?mt=8