I spy with my little iPad: devices that monitor baby’s every move

From monitoring fetal kicks to watching babies online, there are many smart ways to soothe nervous parents

In today’s high-tech world, you can get a gadget or an app that will solve almost any problem. It seems that nothing is immune to the high-tech touch – and that includes baby products.

There are plenty of gadgets aimed at parents that range from the useful to the absurd. The problem is telling the difference. All sorts of crazy and wonderful products have sprung up in the past couple of years offering parents the chance to keep a close eye on their children, help their development along or simply just keep them entertained.

Do you need a bottle that will tell you how much milk your child has drunk? How about some smart pyjamas that will allow you to choose your child’s bedtime story? And who could forget the iPotty, the product no one asked for but CTA Digital chose to make anyway? It’s a minefield.

Remember the days when baby monitors were simply audio, alerting you to when your child cried? Those days are long gone. Of course you can get an audio-only baby monitor but these days it is far more common to have video built in too.


The monitors range in sophistication, from those that will broadcast within the house to monitors whose video feed you can hook up to wifi and access over the internet no matter where you are in the world.

While that might seem like overkill, they are useful for parents who travel often but still want to check in with their baby.

Remote-controlled lullabies

Withings, for example, has a Smart Baby monitor, which connects to your iOS or Android device. It not only provides video but will also monitor temperature and humidity in the room, and can send an alert when noise or movement reaches a certain level.

You can turn on a night light, or set a lullaby to soothe your baby to sleep from the WithBaby app and, through Withings’ website, you can access the feed remotely and even talk to your baby.

That will set you back €250 and requires you to have a smartphone, tablet or laptop on standby to use it.

For something a little more budget friendly, there’s the D-Link Eye On Baby Camera DCS 825L. It offers the same functions – video, remote access, even the ability to take photos and video clips – but it costs €130.

It also comes with a mounting kit so you can put the monitor out of baby’s reach. If you’re an Android user, the app also performs better than it does with Withings’ version, which was originally made for iOS.

But that’s not all. Monitors are becoming wearable. Parents may be familiar with the Angelcare monitor, which uses sensors under a cot or Moses basket mattress to alert them when it doesn’t detect movement for a certain amount of time.

But there can be false alarms – just what you need at 3am – if the sensors are positioned incorrectly or baby rolls away from the sensor pad.

But things are getting more sophisticated – and wearable. The Mimo (shown at CES this year when Intel unveiled its Edison mini computer, which has links to Intel's Irish base) takes baby monitors to new heights. Instead of relying on sensors underneath a mattress or a video monitor to tell the temperature, this new baby monitor is wearable.

Nappy monitor

It straps to a baby’s onesie, measuring respiration, skin temperature, position and activity level.

All information is then sent from the monitor – the turtle – over a Bluetooth low-energy connection to your smartphone, via the wifi base station and charging cradle, known as the Lilypad.

Starter kits, which include the monitor and base station, are being sold in the US for $130 (€95.50), but because babies grow, you’ll need to invest in the special “kimono” onesies. That means an additional $30 for a twin-pack of sized vests, which can add up.

Another product coming later this year is the Owlet, a “smart sock” that fits to your baby’s foot and measures everything from activity to oxygen levels.

Or you could opt for the Levana Oma+, a baby monitor that clips to your child’s nappy and detects movement.

If it fails to pick up anything for about 15 seconds, it will vibrate gently to try to prod your child into action of some sort. Levana Oma+ is available in the US for around $100.

So, not even nappies are immune from the high-tech march. A range of smart diapers from Pixie Scientific, which was featured as a project on Indiegogo (crowd funding), promises to help you keep track of your child’s health by monitoring for signs of urinary-tract infections, dehydration and developing kidney problems.

Each nappy has a QR code on the front, which you scan with your phone once a day when the nappy is wet, and the app will analyse the information contained in the code. It’s an anxious parent’s dream.

The Indiegogo campaign failed to reach its target last year, but the project seems to be ongoing – just not on the shelves of your local supermarket just yet.

Feed monitor

When it comes to feeding, parents are offered an array of choices. From Iiamo, a self-warming baby bottle, to a Nespresso style formula dispenser, there’s a mind-boggling array of technology that is supposed to help simplify the process.

One project, Sleevly, monitors and records your baby’s feeding times and intake, transmitting the data from the bottle cover to your smartphone app via Bluetooth.

And if you are a fan of camping or simply want a more convenient way to sterilise bottle, a upcoming Irish product from Numum will take care of it.

Once fully charged, the device uses UV-C rays to sterilise bottles while you’re out of the house, completing the process in three minutes and killing off germs and bacteria such as E-coli, salmonella, Pseudomonas and listeria.It’s not for sale just yet, but it’s expected to hit the market soon.

And to round all that off, you can keep track of your baby’s weight with Withings Smart Kid Scales, a €180 smart scale that connects to your smartphone and monitors your baby’s growth. It will convert to toddler scale, so you can keep using it up to 25kg.

On the clothing front, parents can choose from smart pyjamas that allow you to choose a nightly bedtime story for your child by scanning one of the many codes printed on the fabric, to a temperature changing body suit, baby Glow, that will help you figure out if your child is too warm, or running some sort of temperature, merely by glancing at their nightwear.

The ones you definitely don’t need . . .


There’s much debate over children’s presence on social media while they’re infants and the privacy issues that go along with this. But for some it starts even before that. The Kickbee is a band that comes with embedded sensors that you place on your stomach. As it senses movement from the baby, the device automatically posts to Twitter or informs friends via text.

Just no.


Encourage your child to tackle toilet training while using your iPad as a bribe (it attaches to the potty to provide entertainment). The iPotty is designed to ensure that your precious device will remain splash and smudge free. Or you could just try it the old-fashioned way and bribe them with toys or sweets.