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When Emily Butler takes her 2 1/2 -year-old daughter, Caroline, to restaurants near their home in Washington, D.C., there's one thing she never leaves at home—her phone. That's because she knows that it can serve as her lifeline if Caroline gets upset. She simply turns on one of her tried-and-true apps, like Butterscotch.com's Trancit Lite Edition 1.3 , and the screen fills with swirling colors and images that never fail to engage her daughter through the meal.
"At a restaurant it comes in handy if your baby is crying," says Butler, 34. "They kind of zone out, staring at the lights. You (and everyone else) get to eat in peace and they get their colors on."
Smith isn't alone. In recent years, parents everywhere have learned that no matter how many toys, books, and instruments that they purchase for their babies and toddlers, there's one device that never grows old: the cell phone.
To make sense of all the apps out there aimed at kids, we turned to tech expert Katie Linendoll (talknerdytome.net) who is a regular contributor on CNN and The Early Show, to share some of her favorites.
"I call the iPad the ultimate babysitter," says Linendoll. "Because it's very easy to use, there's no manual, and when the price point is typically free or 99 cents, you can't go wrong in downloading a bunch and seeing what you like."
Click through to see Linendoll's top kid-tested picks.
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