Before I had a child, I was terribly busy. A career, family, friends, and simply life on its own is enough to have anyone pleading for just a few more hours in each day. And with a child, life, not surprisingly, got even busier.
Thankfully, there’s lots of baby gear that can help alleviate some of that stress, and make life easier for busy moms and dads. And some of the latest advancements and features in three key product categories – car seats, monitors, and strollers – are making that even more so the case.
Choosing which car seat to get is one of the toughest decisions for parents. I see the question “which car seat is the best?” at least once per week in my local social media mom groups.
That’s for good reason: not only is the car seat what’s going to protect your newborn while you drive from place to place, but you will also be taking baby in and out of it quite often, so you want it to be simple to use as well as safely-designed.
With a newborn, you won’t even be able to leave the hospital without showing the nurses that you have a proper car seat, and have baby properly secured inside it.
The Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air McKenna Convertible Car Seat has some great added security features, like Air Protect side impact technology that the company says uses air to reduce the force of an impact, by deflecting more crash energy away from the baby. Its one-click latch system makes it easy to install, and the SecurTech locking indicator confirms that the handle is locked.
With the ability to install it with or without a base, the Evenflo Embrace Infant Car Seat uses a quick connector latch for quick and easy installation. The energy absorbing foam liner helps with both comfort and safety for your baby.
Some of the latest and greatest developments in baby monitors are, of course, video capability, Wi-Fi connectivity, and motion detection, among others. But lately, we’re seeing improvements even beyond that to make an even bigger difference in your life with baby.
I used a Motorola video monitor when my son was a baby, and loved it’s simplicity through operation on the reliable 2.4GHz network, and high-tech features like pan/tilt capability, two-way audio, night vision, and built-in lullabies. The latest model, the MBP36S 3.5” Digital Video Baby Monitor with Pan/Tilt, has been lauded by users for its stellar zoom capabilities, which are great for discerning whether your baby is staring into space and wide awake, or actually asleep. Plus, you can see the room temperature to ensure it’s not too hot or cold, and receive a notification if the battery is low or you’re out of range. Sure, you can’t tap in remotely since it isn’t Wi-Fi-enabled. But I found I never really needed that capability. And now that my son is four, we still use the monitor to keep an eye on him when he’s up in his room playing, or to see when he’s officially fallen asleep at night.
If you decide to go the Wi-Fi route, so that your spouse, for instance, can view baby while at work, or you both can tap into the feed while you’re enjoying a night out and baby is at home with a sitter, there are plenty of new advancements in that realm.
With D-Link’s Video Baby Monitor with Wi-Fi & Pan/Tilt, your Android or iOS smartphone becomes the monitor. You can watch from anywhere there’s an Internet connection through the mydlink app. When you’re at home, or up at the cottage, connect your device to the camera’s own wireless network and check in without the need for an Internet connection.
Particularly fitting for those with more than one child is Summer Infant’s Side by Side Split-Screen Monitoring System. On the 5” screen, you can view feeds from two cameras, side-by-side to keep an eye on the newborn sleeping in his crib and your toddler taking a nap next door. Or even view up to four rooms at a time. Then, pan, scan, or zoom into each camera for a closer look.
In an interesting twist on the concept of a “monitor,” the MonBaby Breathing and Rollover Monitor actually clips to your baby’s clothing and will notify you if breathing changes, or if he rolls over on his tummy during bedtime. It snaps on easily to a pair of warm pajamas, and the app works with Android and iOS devices.
A comfortable seat, safety straps, and a handle are all a good stroller needs, right? Not quite. When we were shopping around for a stroller for my son, I had to question if it was a new car we were buying! There are so many features and considerations, that we might as well have been in a car dealership ready to drop some serious coin on a new set of wheels.
The way a stroller moves, navigates around corners and on different terrain (snow vs. grass vs. a shopping mall floor), how quick and easy it is to fold and unfold, how big the undercarriage basket is, how cumbersome the straps are, how lightweight it is, and more, all factor into the decision. And don’t get me started on double strollers, should you end up needing one of those, or a secondary umbrella stroller for trips to the fair or for travel.
The Evenflo SmartFold stroller, as its name implies, focuses on easy transport. It employs the company’s SmartFold travel system, which the company says enables you to fold it in seconds.
Active city dwellers will appreciate technology found in models like the Mountain Buggy Terrain Jogging Stroller, which comes with two sets of wheels – 16” and 12” – so you can switch it up based on where you’ll be walking that day. Plus, there’s a curb pop feature that makes it easier to get over those annoying humps. And Mountain Buggy says the stroller can fold quickly and easily using just one hand – ideal for multitasking mamas and papas.
With the guzzie + Guss Connect+ +3 Stroller, you get more than just a single-use stroller. It converts to a highchair, rocker, and Casita pram body. The 12” pneumatic tires allow for smooth riding outdoors. There’s even a secret storage slot for keeping your purse or smartphone, so you can wheel baby around, and keep track of important notifications at the same time.
Check out a full selection of baby products at Best Buy Online.