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'Baby Tech' - Help or Hindrance?

Updated on June 6, 2014

Those crazy Victorians and their morphine!

It is well known that in the Victorian era, substances like cocaine, arsenic and morphine were readily available for almost any ailment.

Morphine remedies were even available for your children! Cough medicines and even teething gels contained opiates.

But did you know that Codeine, a commonly prescriped analgesic, is a form of methylated morphine? It seems as though we're just as happy to use opiates as the Victorians ever were.

Cavemen didn't have smartphones

OK, so cavemen is a bit of a strong example, but in our modern society, it's easy to overlook the fact that even a hundred years ago, new parents had to rely on their instinct when it came to their baby.

Accidents happened, and occasionally tragedy would strike, but surprisingly no more frequently than today. Another consequence of modern society is that news is now instant. If a child goes missing halfway around the world, you'll hear about it on your Twitter or Facebook feed almost immediately. Society responds more strongly to the plight of children, so it stands to reason that technology would be developed to safeguard our offspring.

Track your baby's sleep patterns? There's a hundred apps for that!

Everything you could possibly want to track, record, search, research or share is now covered by an app, it seems. But do we really need more than one app on our phones to track our diet and activity? Do you really need to record each feed on your iPhone when you'd have to turn it off if you were in a hospital. What ever happened to the humble pen and paper?

I'm not saying that technology can't be useful, but we are in danger of becoming to reliant on it, and how much do you actually think about what you are about to buy?

In the event of a crash, the Carkoon® deploys an airbag system that cocoons your baby, protecting him from injury and flying debris
In the event of a crash, the Carkoon® deploys an airbag system that cocoons your baby, protecting him from injury and flying debris | Source

Carkoon®

Protect your baby when you're out in the car with Carkoon®!

Car safety is one of the most important things that you need to worry about when you have a baby, so what could be better than a car seat with airbags?

"The Carkoon® by Julian Preston-Powers is a Next Generation safety seat that will be £499 - about the price of an iPad or designer handbag - just with far greater benefit".

OK. But I don't have the money to buy an iPad or a designer handbag, so I can't afford to buy a car seat with airbags either. What can the company say to try to convince me to spend money I don't have?

Using the ISOFIX system, user feedback allows you to see with a colour change if your Carkoon® baby car seat is secure.

Yeah, but my car's from before ISOFIX was a standard feature.

Some statistics say that up to 90% of car seats on the road today are incorrectly fitted. We don't know if that is the case, but what we do know is that Carkoon® shouldn't be one of them. With the introduction of ISOFIX systems in most modern cars, installing Carkoon® correctly will be simple. For people with cars that are pre ISOFIX, seat belt methods can still be used with clear instructions.

So seat belt methods, which the company themselves say aren't an acceptable method of fitting car seats, can be used to fit their car seat. Anyone else seeing a double standard there?

This seat has a lot of potential, and I'm sure if you have all the money in the world then it may be a good investment, but not everybody has that sort of money, and there are other things new parents could be spending their money on than a bells-and-whistles car seat, such as food, nappies, clothes, a cot - all of which can be bought within the £499 (around $840) that you'd be paying for the Carkoon®, with change left over for a cheaper car seat.

Also, think on this - in the event of an accident, it's recommended that you replace all child seats in your car. Do you really want to be paying that sort of money again? And if you have twins, triplets or more? That's a lot of money to be spending on new car seats.

Sleevely Smart Sleeve

Sleevely records the volume of your baby's feeds, the data from which can be accessed from the Sleevely app or website.
Sleevely records the volume of your baby's feeds, the data from which can be accessed from the Sleevely app or website. | Source

What I love about the Sleevely is its simplicity. It just slips over your baby's bottle and records data about each feed.

Data is transmitted via Bluetooth Smart technology when the bottle is idle, so you don't have to worry about signals frying baby's brain.

When one in four babies has feeding issues, this product could save lives, and certainly make the early months less stressful for mum and dad.

Plus, Sleevely is compatible with the bottle you already use for your baby... Except that it probably isn't. At the time of writing this article, Sleevely is only compatible with Phillips Avent Classic 4oz and 9oz, MAM Anti-colic 5oz and 8oz and MAM standadr 9oz bottles. If you use any other brand, such as Munchkin or Tommee Tippee, then you're out of luck. Sleevely say they will attempt to make it compatible with as many brands as possible, but I'm not holding out much hope for compatibility with Tommee Tippee's Closer To Nature range.

Plus there's the ethical issue. Hidden away on the 'Legal' page of the Sleevely website, you'll read that

EnableteQ Ltd., which owns "Sleevely", is an Israeli Company based in Ramat Poleg Israel, and registered in the Israeli registrar of companies under registration no. 514974237.

With tensions running high over Israeli made products, it's worth noting that that Sleevely are owned by an Israeli company.

4moms Origami Stroller

The Origami is the world’s first cell phone-charging, mileage-counting, LCD-sporting stroller.
The Origami is the world’s first cell phone-charging, mileage-counting, LCD-sporting stroller. | Source

The Origami stroller by 4moms charges as you walk, is capable of charging your phone, and it folds and unfolds at the touch of a button.

Except that it does none of those right out out of the box. The battery needs charging before any of the electronic elements will work, which means plugging your brand new $850 dollar buggy into a wall overnight. To charge your phone you have to buy an optional accessory, and if you want to fold or unfold the buggy without the hassle of actually folding or unfolding it, then the battery needs to be charged.

And despite being 'the world's first cell phone-charging, mileage-counting, LCD-sporting stroller' it's only available in the US and Canada. So that should read 'North America' s first...'

What's more, the buggy and LCD is all you're getting for your $850 dollars. Want to use a car seat with it? Then you'll need to buy the car seat adapter - which is for use wit a Graco car seat - which you'll have to buy separately. Want to use the buggy to charge your phone? Then you'll have to buy the optional phone charger kit. Want to keep baby dry? Buy the optional raincover at $50!

Basically, to buy everything you need for the travel system, you're looking at spending over $1,100, with the purchase of a compatible car seat on top of that.

But it makes up for the expense by providing you with four cupholders. Presumably for all the coffee you're having to drink while holding down the two jobs you need to pay for the thing. Seriously, who needs four cupholders?

Surely if you need to track how far you walk with baby it'd be more cost effective to buy a Hauck or Graco travel system, which come with everything you need at less than half the base price of the Origami, and download a pedometer app for your smartphone.

I'm not entirely sure I'd be comfortable putting my baby in a buggy with wires running everywhichway through it. The more gadgets and features it has, the more there is to go wrong. And for a buggy that claims to focus on the safety of the infant, take a look at the photo heading this section of the page. Does that child look safe to you?

Do you think technology is a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to kids?

See results

© 2014 Rebecca Hillary

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    • brutishspoon profile image

      Amy 

      4 years ago from Darlington, England

      I knew about the Codeine thing and I've had problems with it. I would never let my daughter get her hands on it.

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