Parents of newborn babies are an easy target.
Being perpetually exhausted and overwhelmed makes a person way more likely to, say, shell out $30 on a single baby bottle, or fork over hundreds more for a fancy bluetooth-enabled swing.
Then there are the baby monitors. No longer is it enough to simply hear one’s baby howling from the next room, with a walkie-talkie style audio monitor (or, for that matter, through the walls). These days, there’s enough technology out there for parents to create a Batcave-esque baby-surveillance command center—built on live video feeds, wearable temperature trackers, breathing and movement monitors, and more.
But which of these devices, if any, actually keep baby safer? And how are parents supposed to separate the legitimately useful technology from sensor-equipped snake oil?
Whether this level of attention is necessary, or even helpful, is perhaps a matter of personal preference. But like many questions in the realm of parenthood, it’s also a source of much debate. “We send parents home from the hospital with a sheet of paper to record wet diapers and poopy diapers,” says Lisa Asta, a pediatrician and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “That piece of paper is useful for about three to five days, and after that, there really isn’t any recommended technology.” New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that parents and infants should share a room (but not a bed) for the first year of life anyway—a recommendation that makes remote-surveillance tech seem rather unnecessary. The best way to track your baby, pediatricians will tell you, is with your own two eyes.