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Baby Tech

Gadgets and new innovations for babies and their parents.

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The one thing your family should do NOW!
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Last year ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) announced that they will be releasing many more Top Level Domains (TLDs) for web addresses. Gone are the days where you only had three choices: .com, .net, and .org. Now there’s everything from .buzz to .youtube–a full list of all TLDs can be found here on Wikipedia.

Whether you’re expecting, have a family of your own, or want to have a gathering place for all of your relatives, you may want to consider grabbing your .Family domain name as soon as possible from Name.com. Chances are, YourLastNameFamily.com is taken, but there’s a good chance you can get YourLastName.Family if you register it early.

If your family name has not yet been registered it could cost as little as $19.99 per year or as much as $1,250 depending on the popularity of your last name. The registration process is easy. Just go to Name.com, search for your .Family domain, and if it’s available, add it to your cart and check out. Once its registered, you can use a platform like Squarespace or WordPress to create an online baby announcement, share photos of that family vacation, or blog about your pregnancy. An additional benefit is that you can create family member email addresses like YourName@LastName.Family.

For more information and to register your .Family domain, visit www.Name.com.

A Tampon-like Music Player for your Fetus
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So here’s a controversial question: would you insert a music device into your vagina to serenade your fetus? The makers of Babypod certainly hope so (www.babypod.net).

Believe it or not, the makers claim that 100 babies have been born who were exposed to music via Babypod have had no damage to their hearing after the mom used the product during pregnancy. However, they don’t indicate whether or not the mother had side effects or if the baby had other problems after birth that did not involve hearing. Per the manufacturers, it should not be used in case of women with contractions, dilation of the cervix, high risk pregnancies, or repeated/active vaginal infections.

Positives could be that the fetus could hear music that would be soothing to it in utero, but we’d recommend some of our previously reviewed Baby Tech products that goes around the belly: the Prenatal Music Belt or the Nuvo Advanced Pregnancy Audio System.

Would you use the babypod? Let us know!

Baby Tech’s 2015 Gift Guide
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Looking for that perfect gift for your favorite baby, pregnant woman, or older child? Here’s a year-end review of our favorite Baby Tech items from 2015.

Click through for the full BabyNames.com gift guide with the perfect picks for pregnant women, babies, toddlers and kids in your life!

For pregnant women:

For babies and toddlers:

For older children:

Baby in a Longboard? Check it out!
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Strollers manufacturers are constantly trying to outdo one another, and this one is no exception.

The Quinny Longboard Stroller allows adults to skateboard with their baby riding sidecar in an attached stroller seat. Safety is somewhat controversial, however, since it is only approved in Europe and not in the U.S. The strollers are available for European buyers for a purchase price of 599 Euros (nearly $650 at this writing).

My advice: if you want to exercise, get a jogging stroller. You have more control over the baby’s safety. When your child is ready to skateboard, teach her so you can ride alongside each other, instead of using your baby as a bumper!

Is the Quinny Longboard Stroller right for you?

Is the Quinny Longboard Stroller right for you?

Merrily down the streaming videos
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Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 12.41.40 PMAmazon.com has just added a slew of educational videos for babies to its video streaming service.

Geared toward ages 6 months to 2 years, the videos cover everything from vocabulary to shapes to numbers to movement to sounds.

Baby Playpen Intro to Color Movement and Games (six episodes), Peekaboo I See You; Surprise! (five episodes), and Vocabulary with Fred and Fiona (four episodes) are all each about 30 minutes long and provide hours of enjoyable learning that can be shared between parent and child.

The videos are available for streaming for free to Amazon Prime members; each episode is available for streaming for either $1.99 (for standard definition) or $2.99 (for high definition).

 

Pregnant? Here’s an app for that.
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Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 4.15.04 PM
Winkpass Creation’s iPregnant app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) is a pregancy tracker chock-full of features.

Its Journal feature provides room for tracking weight, doctors appointments, and notes as your pregancy progresses. You can customize reminders (a lifesaver if you have the all-too-common “pregnancy brain”) as well as questions for your doctor.

The Photos feature allows you to add your own titles/captions, and you can choose various color themes and calendar styles.

The week-by-week guide shows you the estimated size, length and weight of your baby, as well as 3-D graphics of that stage in utero.

The app also has special sections of interest for parents of multiples, teen parents, high-risk pregnancies and pregnancies to women older than 35.

The iPregnant app is free; you can find it in the iTunes store or here.

This ball will make baby move and crawl
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Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.30.31 PMVTech’s Move and Crawl Baby Ball, currently priced at $15 with free shipping for Amazon Prime members, is a learning toy that also provides exercise for your little one.

Once the toy is turned on, it rolls around by itself slowly, giving baby the motivation to crawl or walk after it. The ball, which runs on three AA batteries (included), has sound, touch and sight stimuli, and introduces baby to numbers, shapes, colors animal sounds and music. It includes over 40 sing-along songs, phrases and sound effects.

The ball is geared toward children six months to three years, although most parents who’ve bought it say that it’s best for children learning to crawl.

The VTech Move and Crawl Baby Ball is available here.

A common-sense guide to technology and young children
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Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 5.16.29 PMToddlers on Technology: A Parents’ Guide,” currently under $20 at Amazon, was written by a mom and two early-childhood educators to help parents choose how and when their children are exposed to various technology, from iPads to computers to cell-phone apps.

The book explains, in easy-to-understand language, why technology is so fascinating to little ones, what constitutes a “good app,” and how to match an app to your child’s temperament and learning style. It also helps gauge when technology is useful and educational for young children as opposed to when it’s used to “check out.”

Chapters cover today’s toddlers and how they’re most often introduced to technology; various hardware and software used by young children; balancing technology with non-technology play and learning; app reviews; and the science behind toddlers on technology.

Amazon reviewers currently give the book a solid five-star rating. Buy the book here.

 

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Soothing Slumbers Bear makes bedtime a breeze
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Is your little one fussy at bedtime? VTech Baby’s Soothing Slumbers Bedtime Bear will help Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 3.24.09 PMlull her to sleep with its soft, plushy fabric and an array of calming and tranquilizing tunes.

The Bedtime Bear, geared to ages newborn to 2 years, plays lullabies when the button on her tummy is pressed and stops automatically after 10 or so minutes (or before then if the button is pressed twice). Forty-seven comforting sing-along songs, melodies, sounds and phrases are included so baby never gets bored.

There’s a volume-control button (by the battery compartment), and a soft, pulsing red light to help soothe baby.

Currently selling for under $15 at Amazon, the Bedtime Bear, which runs on two AA batteries (included), makes a great shower or new-baby gift. Buy it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online homework helpers and learning activities
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Our last two columns reviewed some of the learning websites for younger children. This week we look at homework helper sites for older children.

Fact Monster includes homework help for a variety of subjects, from geography to writing to math to science. Each topic includes facts, timelines, quizzes and other self-paced learning tools. The site, which is free to use, is text-based and easy to navigate.

Scholastic.com’s School Success offers not only homework help pegged by grade level, but also helpful articles on how parents can best work with their children’s teachers, dealing with back-to-school jitters, and curricula guides for different grade levels. It also has a flash-card maker, a spelling wizard, and learning activities by grade level.

Enchantedlearning.com’s Zoom School has activities and quizzes for grade-school children across science, math, geography, and language arts. Although the site looks to be geared toward early-grade teachers, its activities can also be used by parents to help children directly.

BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper, created by a child and his dad back in 1996, is a site aggregator with links to other websites that offer help in math, English, science and computers. Links avoid websites with excessive advertising, and tend to be the “best of the best” when it comes to online learning. Homework Helper includes links to sites that help grade-school, middle-school, and high-school students.

No matter what age and learning level your child has attained, there are plenty of websites to help both you and your child.

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