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Baby Tech

Gadgets and new innovations for babies and their parents.

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Baby’s First Bluetooth
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I love my Bluetooth wireless headsets and own two of them. They come in handy for playing music or TV at night without bothering my neighbors, for doing household chores without being tethered to my audio source,  and for exercising accompanied by my favorite music.

So I was delighted to come across the LilGadgets Untangled Pro Children’s Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, which include all the features of grown-up headphones, but are tailored to younger ears and fingers.

The headphones, which have gotten a 5-star overall review from Amazon buyers, have a 10-hour charging life and a 180-hour standby; they come with a USB charger and a 3.5mm cable so you can use them wired to an audio device if the battery runs down. The headphones have a 30-ft range from their source device, and come with a one-year warranty.

The earphones and headband are made of soft, meshable fabric that’s friendly for young ears and heads. Although the official manufacturer’s recommendation is for use at age 4, many parents report that their 2 year olds use the headphones and love them.

The Untangled Pro Children’s Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are available here.

Countdown till Birthing Day
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Looking for a fun, yet inexpensive, baby-shower or new-grandparent gift? The Baby Edition Countdown Clock, currently priced at $13.95 on Amazon.com, fits the bill.

The countdown clock can be easily set to display birthing due dates and other milestone events. It comes with four template overlays for baby’s due date, baby’s first birthday, baby’s first Christmas, and first day of preschool.

As your child grows and learns to tell time, you can use the countdown clock to mark important future events.

An order form is included for purchasing additional overlay templates for first day of school, summer vacation, chanukah, and braces off.

The clock runs on one AA battery (not included) and weighs a mere 6.4 ounces. Instructions to set countdowns are available online. The countdown clock can be purchased here.

Little Apps for Little Hands
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Tired of your little one grabbing your phone or tablet? V Tech has an app for that–or rather, a bunch of apps. The Little Apps Tablet provides hours of fun and learning for 2- to 5-year olds (although Amazon reviewers report babies as young as 18 months being able to use it).

The electronic tablet comes with a color-changing screen, musical keyboard, and applications that teach counting, words, and letters. There are also four interactive apps included with the tablet: music play, a calendar activity, a pretend camera game, and a fun question and answer chat feature.

Two AA batteries (included) serve as the power source. The tablet measures 11.8 inches by 9.5 inches and is two inches thick. At only 1.2 pounds, it can be carried around by your child. (Many parents say their kids love using it on car trips.)

The Little Apps Tablet is available here.

Lullaby your baby with a Munchkin melody
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Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 1.33.15 PMIdeal for restless babies or to drown out surrounding noise, the Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System is a low-cost integrated music-and-light show that helps lull little ones to sleep.

The sound system includes 10 comforting sounds, including Heartbeat, Ocean, White Noise and Rain. Lullabies include: Rock-a-Bye, Hush Little Baby and Brahms Lullaby. Mozart Songs include Mozart Lullaby, Twinkle Twinkle and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

Three image cartridges are included to play soothing images on the nursery wall or ceiling: Soothing Sea, Calming Rainforest and Sleepy Sky. There’s also a soft-blue nightlight at the base of the unit.

The sleep timer allows you to set the running time for 15, 30 or 60 minutes (the Munchkin can also play continuously) and the voice-activation option turns on the unit when baby wakes up and makes a noise.

The Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System plugs into any AC outlet and comes with a 4-ft cord. It’s available here.

ClearBlue Monitor: Fertility-Friendly
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Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.02.12 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 1.02.01 PMThe ClearBlue Fertility Monitor is an easy-to-use fertility tracker that detects both LH and estrogen hormones, and provides indicators for Low, High and Peak fertility days.

It’s non-invasive, and the manufacturer contends that results are comparable to serum-hormone measurements and ultrasound technology in gauging fertility–yet you can test yourself at home.

Test strips are sold separately.

The ClearBlue Fertility Monitor stores up to six months of your daily records at a time, and provides advance notice for peak fertility. It tells you when to test and the level of fertility every day, requiring no subjective interpretation.

(Note that the monitor does not accurately work for women with PCOS, and for women taking some antibiotics.)

Instructions are as follows:

  1. On the first day of your period, you will press the M button to let the monitor know a new cycle has begun.
  2. Each day, you must switch on the Monitor and follow its directions.
  3. On mornings when the Monitor requires further information about your hormone changes, a test will be requested.
  4. Simply remove the test stick from its wrapper. (The majority of women need 10 test sticks each cycle. Women with irregular or long cycles may have to use 20 test sticks each cycle.) Point the Sampling End of the test stick downward in your urine for 3 seconds.
  5. Take the cap off the handle and place it over the Sampling End of the test stick and remove any excess urine.
  6. Holding the test stick by the cap, insert the test into the Monitor’s Test Stick Slot, pressing down until it clicks into place.
  7. The display will flash for approximately 5 minutes while reading your information.
  8. After 5 minutes, the Remove Test Stick symbol will flash. Once you have removed the test stick, your fertile status will be displayed.

The ClearBlue Fertility Monitor is available here.

 

 

Keep track of your kids with the Filip watch

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A wearable tracker can locate your kids wherever they are, combining GPS, cell tower location, and Wi-Fi triangulation to provide the most accurate location information indoors and out.

“Parents want to keep in touch,” says Filip Technologies, which claims its FiLIP is the first location and communication device of its size in the world, “all contained safely within one small wristwatch.”

Why not a phone? The company cites a 2014 Family Communications Survey conducted online by Harris Poll in August among over 2,000 U.S. adults which found more than 20 million parents (85 percent of parents with children ages 6-12 in their household) do not believe it is appropriate to buy their child a smartphone until they are at least 11 years old. This is an increase of 21 percent in two years (64% in 2012). Also, “half of these parents find it at least somewhat challenging to stay connected with their kids during a typical weekday if needed while they are at school, participating in after school activities, etc.”

The first version of the wearable locator debuted in 2013; the upcoming FiLIP 2 has improved durability and a redesigned, sizable and closeable wristband, the company says. And the new app “makes it easier for families to stay connected and for parents to know where their children are.”

It’s available at an introductory discount of $100 here.

 

Glow App now helps post-pregnancy
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From prenatal to postpartum: We covered Glow in September when it provided ovulation and fertility tracking, but now the company has added a whole ’nother niche to its service: First, Glow would help you get pregnant; then Glow Nurture gave pregnancy tips; now it takes on the behavior and feelings you might experience after giving birth.

“The ‘4th trimester’ of a pregnancy can be just as crucial as the first three,” the company says. “Glow Nurture is proud to become the one and only pregnancy app to provide postpartum support. Glow Nurture Postpartum has been designed to take care of you, while you take care of your baby. We will provide you with the most relevant insights, up-to-date research, parenting tips, content from the funniest mommy blogs and tasks that help you heal faster.”

There’s more information here.

 

 

 

Great Gift: Kobert Waterproof Case

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phonekobertThis is a little more parent-tech than baby-tech, although if your baby is a drooler this may help! I received a Kobert Waterproof Case for review this week and the first thing I did was their suggested “tissue test.” Put a tissue inside, close the two clasps and submerge it into water for five minutes. (Better the tissue than my phone in case it didn’t work!)

Well I got distracted online and didn’t go back to it for about thirty minutes. But when I took the tissue out of the case, it was completely dry!  That alleviated any worries that my phone would get wet.

I have an iPhone 5 and it fit fine, even with its protective case, however they claim it will fit most cell phone models, including the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5, 4, Galaxy s5, s4, S3 and more.

The Kobert Waterproof Case comes with a stylus that worked well, even through the thick plastic. The only thing you can’t do is press the buttons on the side or top of the phone. It also includes a strap that allows you to carry it by hand or around your neck.

I tried it out in the bathtub, and checked my messages, Facebook and and even used the keyboard with my wet fingers! I can definitely see using it in the hot tub, kitchen, or at the beach…anywhere you might have a water issue.

I played classical music in iTunes and it sounded great through the case. No muffling. My daughter said to call her to check the sound of phone calls and we had a great conversation! I even used Siri to execute the command to call. No problems there.phonekobert2

Amazon sells the Kobert for a mere $12.99, which is incredibly affordable for any case. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 1-year replacement guarantee.

I should mention that last year I got a LifeProof case as a present and hated it–it was really hard to put on and take off my phone and I eventually ditched it. The Kobert alternative really works well for how I use my phone.

My daughter made me promise to buy one for her stocking!

 

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It’s Raining Babies
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Baby Shower Planner is an application for Android devices that’s a soup-to-nuts helper for organizing and planning–you guessed it!–baby showers. It comes pre-loaded with more than 125 items, and you can save/edit the app’s data to other computers for ease of entry. The app is password-protected, and doesn’t need an internet connection.

Features include tablet support, templates, customized lists and categories, color coding, an invitation-tracker, shopping lists, and a quick-add option. Lists can be exchanged with others by email and printed through email.

The Baby Shower Planner app costs $.99 and is available here for immediate download.

A Childbirth Tutorial for Those Stuck at Home
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Childbirth: A Multimedia Course & Resource Kit is a CD that was developed by a family physician and a registered nurse who teaches childbirth classes as a guide for pregnant women as well as for their partners and caretakers.

Its eight lessons include: 1. Your Last Weeks of Pregnancy (relaxation techniques, breathing, exercises, labor induction), 2. Early, Active and Transition Labor (breathing techniques, comfort measures, timing contractions, medical interventions, fetal monitoring, analgesics), 3. Pushing (breathing methods, pushing positions, episiotomies, forceps and vacuum use), 4. Delivering the Placenta (expelling the placenta, massaging the uterus, cord blood testing), 5. Special Situations (cesarean sections, breech and multiple births), 6. Postpartum Care of Yourself (physical changes, diet, exercise, sex life), 7. Care of Your Newborn (bathing, colic, cord care, diaper changing, sleeping, spitting up), 8. Feeding Your Newborn (breast feeding instructions and demonstrations, expressing and storing breast milk, breast care, formula preparation and feeding, feeding cautions).

Each lesson includes video clips, text and images demonstrating key concepts of delivery, infant and mother care, as well as an optional self-assessment. The resource kit that accompanies the CD contains birth-plan templates, a baby-shower planning guide, doctor-visit templates, and a video of an actual birth. The self-paced tutorial makes it easy for parents with hectic schedules or who are on bedrest to find out the nuts-and-bolts of prenatal and postnatal care, and also serves as a refresher course for subsequent pregnancies.

Purchase it here.