How to Use Smart Devices to Baby-Proof Your Home
There are tons of different smart devices out there, but can they help you protect your kids? Find out how to use the latest technology to make your home a little safer.
Anyone with a curious crawler or preschooler knows how tough it can be to childproof your living space. Just when you think you've got everything on lockdown, there's your toddler finding some new way to make a mess, or worse: get themselves into a dangerous situation.
But can all the new smart tech today really help? If you've heard about smart home devices, you've probably heard about things like smart lights and locks. Yet there are tons of other types of smart gadgets on the market and some of them can help keep your little ones safe (and your house in order).
For infants: 0–6 months
Your newborn might not be trying to bust into the bathroom cabinet, but you still want to know that they're safe—especially while they're sleeping. A few devices can help do the trick.
- RELATED: Baby Safety Tips for New Moms
Smart sleep and breathing monitors
Smart baby monitors have some of the most impressive features of any kid-focused safety device, and they can totally change the way you approach naptime.
Gabe Turner, director of content for Security Baron, says, "Smart baby monitors let you see and speak to your baby remotely through a mobile application. Some monitors come with breath monitors either built-in or as a wearable, attached to your baby's diaper."
Some of these monitors can also track movement and alert you if your baby hasn't moved for a while. Whichever features you choose, the idea is that both you and your baby will sleep better when you're not bending over them every hour to make sure they're OK.
- RELATED: 5 Steps to a Safe Nursery
If you want full vitals tracking you can see in your smartphone (including oxygen saturation and heart rate), then go with something like the Owlet Smart Sock 2. But you can get cheaper and less invasive devices like the MonBaby Smart Button or the Babysense 7 that will just make sure your baby is breathing and moving regularly.
Video baby monitors
Today's baby monitors go way beyond the little radio devices your own parents used. Now you can get cameras that let you view your baby sleeping soundly in their crib from a monitoring screen or even just your smartphone.
Some video baby monitors, like the Arlo Baby, also come with features like color-changing nightlights, lullaby music, and air quality sensors. (Just remember they're not a replacement for reliable smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.)
For crawlers and toddlers: 6 months–3 years
When your kid is on the move, it's all hands on deck to keep potentially dangerous items away from little hands. Smart devices like sensors and cameras can help you make sure those cabinet locks are holding strong and your toddler hasn't gotten into the cleaning supplies.
These sensors usually come with full-on security systems and go on doors and windows. But you can also use them on important drawers and cabinets to keep out curious kids.
Cabinet locks are all well and good, but if your child manages to break through one, an entry sensor will let you know about it immediately.
Flood and leak sensors
Sometimes it feels like four sets of eyes still wouldn't be enough to keep track of your toddler. And your child wouldn't be the first to sneak into the bathtub and turn on the water.
Flood sensors can alert you the moment they detect water. To help protect little ones, you can keep a sensor in the bathtub, or just keep one near the floor on the toilet so you know if your toddler goes for a splash.
Indoor security cameras
There are tons of great indoor security cameras on the market these days, and you don't have to pay a fortune to get one. Affordable cameras like the Wyze Cam v2 and the Amazon Cloud Cam can help you keep an extra (digital) eye on your child—whether they're with the babysitter or just watching TV while you're in the restroom.
Smart vacuums like the iRobot Roomba come highly recommended by Brianne Sandorf, a safety expert for ASecureLife.com.
"I'd recommend getting a Roomba or Neato—really just any vacuum that will do its job without your help. A smart vacuum keeps the floor clean so baby doesn't eat something that's a no-no," says Sandorf.
You can tell the Roomba to vacuum the floor when and where you want it to so the carpet stays clean for playtime—a great way to keep Baby away from germs and give you a break, too.