Baby gear aficionados are all a-buzz about the latest gizmo: baby monitoring smartphone apps.
Simply, these apps convert your iPhone, Blackberry or Android into a monitoring system by essentially turning your phone into a receiver unit. Run the app on your phone and leave it in your child's room. When your phone detects your child making noise (crying or cooing), it will automatically place a call to a selected secondary number, such as a landline or another mobile phone. You can even set the sensitivity level on most of these apps so you can control how loud or soft your child must be before your phone places the alert call.
The main drawback is that you have to leave your iPhone with your child. Think about: you won't be able to receive any calls that come through on your cell phone. Plus, you'll miss using your phone for things like social media, music or a calendar. It's not the most practical solution for day-to-day use, but it can be a great option for times when having a traditional monitor isn't an option (think: family travel) or for families who only need a baby monitor occasionally.
There are several baby monitor apps on the market. About.com's Elise Weiss gives the BabyPhone app for the iPhone (*Est. $2) positive feedback, as does Parents magazine. The Best Baby Sleep Monitor (*Est. $5) is a good option for Blackberry users. The newer Baby Monitor & Alarm app (*Est. $3) is compatible with the iPhone or Google's Android.
Perhaps the biggest development in the smartphone-to-baby-monitor market came earlier this year when Withings debuted a video baby monitor unit that allows parents to live monitor their child from an iPhone, iPad, iTouch or Android. The Withings video camera unit is placed in the baby's room and parents can then use their selected gadget to monitor them. The camera unit even has night vision. The product is not yet available, but should hit stores by September 2011 and will cost somewhere in the $200-$300 range.
No matter which baby monitor you pick, these smartphone apps are a great backup unit and can provide peace of mind wherever you are.