With my background in technology, most assume that I advocate gadgets and technology wherever and whenever possible…but that’s actually not the case. Maybe because of my background, I know the extreme mark-ups in prices and bugs that invariably happen with the first few releases.
I think the reporter that contacted me for this piece thought that I would be on the “pro” technology side, but if you read my post, Interview: High-Tech Nurseries, you saw what my answers were to her questions. So, I wanted to see what you all thought of the article:
As high-tech devices become a part of everyday life, the nursery is the newest frontier
Picture a room with high-definition security cameras, a chair with vibration and motion settings and a surround-sound system.
Not thinking about a baby’s nursery? Most people wouldn’t.
But as each generation becomes more technologically connected, it’s inevitable that tech devices will soon become essential to the baby’s room. These new systems aim to make parents’ lives easier, while encouraging a child’s healthy development.
Following the trend of “smart” appliances, French technology company Withings has a smart baby scale that connects to the Internet, allowing parents to access their child’s weight from a smart phone or any Web-enabled device and share the infant’s progress with family, friends or the pediatrician.
Transportation is another growing area for baby tech. Pittsburgh-based 4Moms offers a futuristic-looking stroller, named the Origami because it can fold and unfold at the touch of a button. Not only does the battery-operated contraption charge itself (and your MP3 player), it has an LCD dashboard for active parents who wants to know how fast and far they’ve gone.
Another tech marvel for parents is the ability to accurately replicate the sound and gentle vibration of a car – some would even consider it the holy grail.
Veteran parents know a leisurely drive is an almost sure-fire way to put a colicky baby to sleep. Fisher-Price offers its own car-ride motion infant seat, the Cruisin’ Motion Soother. Another option is a smaller device from Sleep Tight, which vibrates and sounds like a car ride and can be attached to the baby’s crib.\
And home theater isn’t just for the family room anymore. Some parents are opting to play lullabies through surround sound speakers in the walls. Others have foregone traditional baby monitors in favor of intricate security cameras broadcasting images to another room, or even another building for working parents who want to monitor caretakers.
All this tech-talk might seem incompatible with nurseries, which are generally soft, warm places decorated in whites and pastels. For parents who desire this traditional style but still want the convenience of new technology, striking a balance is essential.
“Traditional style is still very popular, especially among my clients seeking a nostalgic feel for their nurseries to provide a soothing atmosphere for their baby and to inspire their own memories from childhood,” says Sherri Blum of Jack and Jill Interiors in Harrisburg, Pa. “It’s very important for the manufacturers of these devices to make them blend into the surroundings as well as possible.”
In some cases, that means the gadget needs to be hidden or inconspicuous. Cloud B, for instance, has a device that hides inside a plush monkey that plays a parent’s recorded personalized message over relaxing sounds.
One of the downsides of technology, of course, is cost. The Origami stroller’s suggested retail price of $849 might give pause to a new mom on unpaid maternity leave.
Kearney of Northern Virginia spent years in management positions for technology companies before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She now writes “A Detailed House,” a blog about interior design and home improvement.
Technology can enrich parents and babies alike, she says.
“My first baby had reflux and, prior to her diagnosis, cried unless I was holding her,” she says. “It was grueling, especially while recovering from a C-section, but an indoor infant seat that vibrated saved me.
“Prior to the advent of these products, my mother used to drive me in a car, and I’ve heard of mothers unwisely putting an infant seat on washing machines or dryers to emulate the soothing motion. If a product gives a parent any advantage, absolutely take it,” she suggests.
At the same time, tread cautiously. Don’t buy gadgets haphazardly without considering how much use they’ll actually be.
Blum says, “Talk to parents with toddlers who have already been through the sleepless nights and have tried various items.”
Kearney also advocates low-tech or “classic” toys that can stimulate a baby’s creativity and imagination and help develop important cognitive skills just as much as the high-tech gadgets, she says.
“The good high-tech toys and products are developed with input from educators and doctors to aid in a baby’s mental development and are not merely electronic babysitters,” Kearney says. “I think, as with anything, parents need to find what balance works for them.”
With interviews, you can’t always bank on what quote they are going to pull; there were other things I said that I wish were included in the article, but, oh well! I have been asked to write some articles, so I will have more control over the content, and I will post them here first 🙂
Ironically, I’ve been interviewed by many different media sources now and I’ve never contacted them, but my own hometown newspaper (I mean the tiny, local one, not a big one!) hasn’t and I actually contacted them! WTH?? Geesh!
Well, that’s all I have…I hope everyone is well and enjoying the day 🙂