Posts Tagged ‘ parenting apps ’

Can’t Tell If Your Baby Has Jaundice? There’s an App for That

Friday, August 29th, 2014

jaundiced-babyNo new mom worth her salt is without a smartphone in the days after baby is born. After all, those cute newborn pictures aren’t going to take themselves! But a new app designed by physicians and engineers at the University of Washington may just give parents another reason to keep their cells close by.

Bilicam is designed to detect jaundice in infants using a smartphone’s camera and flash and a special card that calibrates for various lighting conditions and skin tones. After downloading the app, parents place the card on baby’s belly and then snap a picture of the skin and card together. Data from the photo goes to the cloud, where it’s then analyzed by algorithms. Results are sent to your smartphone. (Start to finish the whole thing takes just a few minutes.) Using that information, your doctor can figure out whether your baby needs a blood test or can skip the needle prick altogether.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of high-tech advances for baby (hello, smart diaper), but what I think is pretty incredible about this app is that it targets a very common condition in newborns. Jaundice happens when the body can’t efficiently rid itself of the chemical bilirubin, and the skin and eyes turn yellow. Sometimes you can spot it, but other times you can’t. (My son had it for a couple of days right after being born, and I never saw a hint of discoloration.) And although it’s a fairly normal condition, if left untreated, jaundice can cause serious complications, like brain damage.

As James Taylor, a UW professor of pediatrics and medical director of the newborn nursery at UW Medical Center, pointed out, babies are discharged from the hospital “before bilirubin levels reach their peak. This smartphone test is really for babies in the first few days after they go home. A parent or health care provider can get an accurate picture of bilirubin to bridge the gap after leaving the hospital.”

But don’t go searching for Bilicam in the app store just yet — it’s still in development. According to UW, the app could be available to doctors within a year and be suitable for at-home use by parents within two years, pending FDA approval.

Tell us: Did your baby have jaundice? How early was it diagnosed and how long was the treatment?

Is it a belly ache or something more serious? Consult our Baby Symptom Checker to see if a call to the doctor is in order. And don’t forget to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news!

When to Worry: Jaundice
When to Worry: Jaundice
When to Worry: Jaundice

Image of newborn courtesy of Shutterstock

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Don’t Forget Your Baby in the Car! There’s an App for That

Friday, July 25th, 2014

baby-in-carseatFifteen minutes is about the time it takes for most of us to run a quick errand. But it’s also how long it takes the inside of your parked car to climb to 109 degrees hot in the summer months — and that’s with the windows cracked open a couple of inches. Sitting inside such sweltering conditions, of course, delivers a punishing blow to the body, especially so for babies. Think brain and organ damage, heat stroke or even death, a nightmarish scenario we’ve seen play out too many times this summer. (Scary fact: 36 children die in overheated cars in the United States every year. Read this eye-opening Parents magazine piece about hot car dangers.)

But two new apps are hoping to put an end to this very preventable problem — and offer overwhelmed, distracted, exhausted, busy parents a helping hand. The first, “Precious Cargo,” was designed by a North Carolina dad of a one-year-old and is simple yet effective, reports Today: When you sit down in the car and Bluetooth is activated, you’ll receive a message from the app asking if you’re traveling with precious cargo (i.e. your baby). If you are, you enter the child’s name, and once the engine stops, you’ll receive an alert to remind you there’s “precious cargo” in the car. If you’re driving sans baby, the app is deactivated until the next time the car starts up.

The second, Kars4Kids Safety, is also a piece of cake to use. An customizable alarm goes off whenever you and your phone exit the car to remind you to retrieve your baby from the carseat. The app, created by the nonprofit Kars4Kids, just requires a Bluetooth-enabled phone and car.

Personally, there are just a few apps that can actually help make my life easier. These are among them. Besides the fact that they’re insanely user-friendly, they also reach us in a most reliable place — our cell phones — which most of us won’t even walk down the hall of our home without carrying. And they’re affordable to boot — Precious Cargo is 99 cents, while Kars4Kids is free. But the peace of mind these handy apps can offer us wiped-out, on-the-go parents? Invaluable.

Tell us: Would you use an app to help you remember to take baby out of a parked car?

Study: Car Seats, Vehicles Not Always A Good Fit
Study: Car Seats, Vehicles Not Always A Good Fit
Study: Car Seats, Vehicles Not Always A Good Fit

Getting ready to go on a trip? Visit our Diaper Bag checklist to make sure you don’t forget a thing. And remember to like All About Babies on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby news! 

Image of baby in carseat courtesy of Shutterstock

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