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The "Connected" Baby & The "Smart" Nursery

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I was recently sitting at a dinner and was speaking to a young expecting couple. For years, expecting parents have had high anxiety for their new infants especially high within the first month. I notice that expecting parents educate themselves to stay self-informed about child rearing and the newest ways of improving that traditional process. They are also among the most likely to disregard budgets and will be selfless in their personal finances to sacrifice for their children. The concept of frequent infant surveillance with baby monitors and real-time video equipment has allowed for improvements in monitoring over the years to track sleeping habits, breathing rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen, heart rate and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I found myself across the table discussing advanced pathologies including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome with new parents who were very knowledgeable. I decided to write this article for expecting mothers and fathers who have the same important questions. This represents some of the ongoing developments in the childcare market. Technology has allowed for parents to collect biometric data remotely and share them with a partner, nanny or grandparent using smart devices.

Staying connected with your child has become a key variable in the next generation of smart nursery products available on the market. They are suitable for children from birth to 18 months and allow parents to monitor real-time data including the baby's breathing, sleep activity, body position and skin temperature with their smartphone or tablet. The smart baby monitor called Mimo is a real-time audio feed which allows you to listen to your baby via machine washable onesies and a monitoring device. Monitors are also used along with sensors that attach to your babies clothing with Monbaby Smart Baby Monitoring. Connected clothing is a fundamental for a smart nursery foundation to build upon.

There are versatile sensors to track family and nanny's entering and leaving your child's nursery to ensure they are getting the attention they need. They can be utilized for toddlers transitioning from a crib to beds as smart lighting of the hallway can automatically triggered outside the nursery. If your child gets the urge to wander at night, it becomes harder to do it in the dark. Sensors can be a great addition to your front and back door, kitchen cabinets, the front yard gate and drawers to prevent toddlers from leaving the nursery and exploring new areas without your knowledge. There are sensors that can alert you to break-ins, medication or activity reminders and let you know when someone enters your child's room. This can be done via Mother and 4Motion Cookies Versatile Sensors. Dropcam wireless video monitoring cameras can assist you in monitoring your child as part of a more manually intensive solution.There are wearables that monitor temperature, heart rate, motion and positioning such as Sproutling Baby Monitoring and the Owlet. Alarm alerts can allow you as a parent to leave your child more comfortably in the hands of grandparents, nannies or the babysitter while helping you prevent diseases such as SIDS.
Creating an environment with optimal lighting and music for routine stimulation are technology utilities which have been underutilized. The Belkin Wemo Light Switch and "smart lightbulbs" allow you to manage your child's lights from anywhere in the world via a mobile app and save energy by setting timers or turning on before you need to enter the room. This can also help when you sleep train your child during those initial sleepless nights as part of a comprehensive sleep training plan. Monitoring the temperature, humidity and light levels in your child's room via mobile device has been an area of development with climate control sensors such as Wimoto. There are smart play toys such as Kumki which are Bluetooth-enabled to become connected to a child and play music and stories. These "white noises" can also help block out the sounds in the house that may wake your baby.

Smart devices include smart bottles, smart clothes, smart measuring devices and improved wearables/video monitoring keep mothers and fathers closer to their children. The development of your child is managed with intermittent weight monitoring among other clinical indices noted by your pediatrician. There are ways to collect further information on a more regular basis with the use of "smart bottles" to calculate the amount of milk intake as well as "smart weight scales" such as Withings to track your baby's weight gain on a more regular basis. This is a new form of actionable data to improve parenting and diagnose problems sooner on the consumer level. It would be great to see a layering app to connect all these sensors and applications under one application to allow for a simpler user interface of their nursery. Parenting gadgets can help facilitate men and woman going back to work sooner if they choose to or in different countries with shorter maternity leaves. Welcome to Nursery Version 2.0.

Biography: "Dr. Sunny Malhotra is a US trained Cardiologist working at AdvantageCare Physicians. He is an entrepreneur and health technology investor. He is the winner of Best in Healthcare - Notable Young Professional 2014 and the national Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. Instagram/Twitter: @drsunnymalhotra"