Of course you don't need gadgets to raise a little one but they sure do help! So being a technology reporter, I decided to offer up a few high tech tools to help you rear your youngins!
Luvion Grand Elite Baby Monitor: This monitor ties with the Lorex Live Sense for my favorite baby monitor systems. They are VERY similar and you won't be disappointed with either but the Luvion has a bit of a better screen. It has a 3.5-inch near-HD color screen that can be split for multiple cameras if you have multiple children. It also has a talk-back feature that lets you speak into the camera to calm your little one down if he/she needs a little soothing to go to sleep. The screen also has a temperature gauge with the ability to alert you if the temperature rises or drops in your nursery. You can also record to an SD card. Again, the Lorex Live Sense does all of these things too. They are both great systems. The Luvion costs just under $300 and the Lorex can be found on Amazon for just under $200.
Gro-Egg Room Thermometer: This is one of Nathalee's picks. It doubles as a night light and a room thermometer. It is nice to get a gauge of the temperature in baby's room at a glance. Cooler temperatures are said to prevent SIDS so it is important to know that your little one can sleep comfortably and safely. This is available on Amazon for about $23.
Cobra Tag: If you are prone to losing your keys and your smartphone in your black hole of a diaper bag, you need the Cobra Tag! This is a great stocking stuffer that will help the parent who feels a little scattered feel much less scattered. The tag goes on your keychain and pairs with your smartphone. Then your keys go missing, you use the smartphone app to find them. And if your smartphone goes missing, you can use your keys to find it too. If they are both missing, you're hosed. I don't know anyone who couldn't use this product! It is temporarily sold out on Amazon but you can order it through Cobra's site. It works with BlackBerry and Android phones for now. No iPhone support just yet.
Sony NEX-5K: A good camera is a great investment in your family memories. This is one of the best portable cameras I've used. A friend who works at Sony sent me a tester and it takes GORGEOUS photos! It isn't cheap but it is a little cheaper than the expensive and complicated D-SLRs on the market. This is not an SLR. It is a point-and-shoot with all the features of an SLR including a beautiful zoom lens, shutter control, and several fun features to change the look and coloration of your photos.
Sonos Sound System: Again, a bit of a luxury item but if you want to get a gadget that is great for baby and the whole family, this is one of my favorites! We use these speakers in most rooms of our house to stream music, podcasts, Internet radio, and more. I like to play Baby Mo the Disney radio station on Pandora and it is easy to do with the Sonos app that you can use to control any speaker in any room of the house. This is an investment in your home system but in my opinion, a worthy one.
iPad 2: I know, I know, gadgets are expensive. And the iPad 2 is not cheap but I honestly can't imagine being without it. My iPad is basically Baby Mo's iPad. It is FULL of learning apps, music apps, drawing apps, book apps, etc. It doesn't hurt that I review children's apps for Consumer Reports but my little one really does learn from these apps! And in a pinch when he is getting antsy on a shopping trip, I can always rely on some apps to keep him occupied when mommy needs a minute or two more. I know an iPad is not a babysitter or preschool teacher but it sure is a great supplement!