These days, kids and technology seem to go hand in hand. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing a toddler playing on a phone or watching their favorite show on a tablet. But raising kids with limited screen time is possible. It’s a rising trend as parents have come to understand its many benefits, such as better sleep and reduced anxiety.
But not all technology spells trouble for your growing family. In fact, there are some devices out there that cater directly to your needs, increasing safety and giving you more oversight than ever. Many of these devices can be used as early as infancy to help you keep an eye on your new child and protect them from accidentally injuring themselves. Essential parenting tasks like baby-proofing your home have gotten much smarter over the years, creating the perfect opportunity to introduce children to technology in a positive way.
Here at Hippo, we believe in the value of technology — we even offer smart home kits free of charge to our customers for the same reason; to be proactive and preventative. Whether you bought a state-of-the-art smart home or are looking to upgrade your current space with baby-proofing technology for the first time, our guide has you covered. Wanting to take a step back and learn the basics? Check out posts on smart home trends and the best smart home devices before diving into the world of baby-proofing tech.
The days of installing hardware to every corner of your home before welcoming a new baby are long gone. What was once a time-consuming and physically demanding task, baby-proofing is now easier (and safer) than ever before, all thanks to smart home technology. If you’re unsure what smart tech to try out, we’ve broken down the best gadgets based on your child’s age and particular needs below.
When you first bring home an infant, your to-do list can seem never-ending. Though each task is important, it can be hard to tear yourself away from your baby’s loving coos (and who can blame you?). But with an array of smart home devices at your fingertips, you can get that list taken care of and keep your baby safe with ease.
- Baby monitor
- You likely already know a lot about this must-have baby product, but recent advancements in technology have made it even better. The Lollipop camera is easy to install and lets you monitor your child from any location. In contrast, the Eufy monitor is a great option for parents looking to take their spotty Wi-Fi out of the equation, taking your monitoring ability to the next level.
- Smart clothes
- Crib movement monitor
- While watching your baby sleep through a camera gives you peace of mind, it never hurts to be extra prepared. That's where a crib movement monitor like the Angelcare monitor can come in handy, alerting you to any unusual movement that you might not have spotted during the night.
- Smart thermostat
- You probably already use a smart thermostat to stay comfortable, so why wouldn’t you do the same thing for your baby? If you find your newborn is having trouble sleeping, try asking your smart thermostat to change the temperature up or down a bit in their room (thermostats like ecobee let you control the air in each room). It could make all the difference.
- Water thermometer
- Your baby’s bath time should be a wonderful experience. But if the water’s too hot or too cool, things can go south pretty quickly. Don’t rely on your elbow to let you know if they’ll be comfortable — use smart water thermometers like the Ozeri Turtlemeter to bathe with confidence. Plus, it doubles as a bath toy!
Toddlers love to explore and learn, but this can sometimes lead to them getting into things they shouldn’t. Help your inquisitive toddler stay safe on their next adventure and get the rest they need to tackle the day with these smart home devices made for every room in your home.
- Smart sound machine
- Bring in the comfort of soft light and soothing music with sound machines like the Hatch Rest smart sound machine. With multiple sound and lighting options, plus a timer to help your toddler learn when it’s time to get up, sound devices will help everyone get much-needed rest.
- Door motion sensor
- Toddlers are always on the move, and keeping up with them can be a challenge for any parent. Get alerted when your child has gone off on an adventure with a door motion sensor like the toddlermonitor. Plus, it’s easy to use — all you have to do is hang the device on your child’s doorknob and connect it to your phone.
- Entryway sensors
- There are discrete options if you want to know when your toddler opens any external window or door. And luckily, many popular security systems such as SimpliSafe include entryway sensors in their packages that you can attach to doors and windows to alert you as soon as anything opens.
- Water detectors
- Help keep your child from making a mess with a flood sensor, like this one from FIBARO. Best for use in kitchens and bathrooms, these sensors can be placed on floors, countertops and tubs to alert you when water is overflowing. These devices not only keep your child safe but they also help prevent costly water damage.
- Air quality sensor
- Turn your smart home devices into a learning opportunity with an air sensor like the IQAir. It shows indoor and outdoor air quality and how it affects your health and even weather forecasts. It’s the perfect device for families prone to asthma or for kids who love learning about science.
Once your kid reaches preschool age, their child-proofing needs will change. While they may no longer need smart clothes or a crib monitor, plenty of devices still cater to their needs. From smart nightlights to pool protectors, try out these devices for a smarter and safer home.
- Smart speaker
- When you think of smart speakers, you might not think of them as being kid-friendly. But popular models from brands such as Amazon, Google and Apple actually have versions created just for kids. They not only come in fun designs, but they also allow for total parental control, meaning your kids can ask to listen to their favorite song but can’t make any voice purchases.
- Portable night light
- While there are plenty of types of nightlights available to light up every corner of your home, if your child is prone to nighttime bathroom or cuddle trips, portable nightlights may be the best option. Brands like Munchkin offer fun lights that are as cute as they are functional.
- Pool monitor
- Robot vacuum
- Alarm system
From toddler to teenager: teaching your family about tech
Introducing your kids to technology in a positive way early on in their lives is always a good idea — and there are plenty of ways to do so. From teaching them how to use the phone in case of an emergency to helping them understand how your alarm system works, families can embrace the benefits of technology by focusing on devices that protect rather than entertain. Try out the following tips with your kids to establish a healthy relationship with technology:
- Teach them how to use the phone to call 911 (or a neighbor) in an emergency
- Show them where the fire detectors are, what sound they make and what to do if they hear it go off
- Explain what an alarm system is and why you use it
- Once they start using technology for entertainment, explain why you set screen time limits
- Show them how to use a smart speaker for lullabies when they have trouble sleeping
- Teach them how to turn on nightlights to avoid injuring themselves
Once they get older, however, your task is not to show them how to use technology but how to do so safely. By embracing technology rather than shunning it, you can help your children make good decisions regarding how they behave online. Consider the following tips for your tech-loving teen or preteen:
- Set ground rules about where phones are and aren’t allowed
- Before giving them a phone, download parental control and location-finder apps
- Get them involved in extracurricular activities for screen-free time
- Set a passcode for any online purchases
- Put a timer on their phone or tablet to enforce screen time limits
- Have them practice setting and turning off the house alarm
- Put their social media accounts on private
Does smarter mean safer? We think so, especially when it comes to smart homes. At Hippo, we believe in the power of smart home devices so much that we’ve made it a crucial part of our home insurance policies. That way, we can protect your home while you focus on what matters most: your family.