Baby-and-cell-phone-200x300As a new first-time father, who lives halfway across the country from my own parents, I naturally turned to technology to aid me in my child-rearing. Fortunately, there are plenty of electronic devices out there to help someone like me who has no idea what he’s doing. Unfortunately, they aren’t always easy on the wallet. With low-end baby monitors running from $50-$100 and musical night lights running around $25 apiece, low-cost alternatives are an attractive concept.

One of the latest trends in new smartphone apps is replacing single-use devices around the home. Nowadays, you can use your smartphone as a camera, television remote, a garage door opener, and countless other common pieces of technology, such as radios, PCs, and televisions. Additionally, your smartphone can also act as a cost-effective replacement for those traditional new baby “must haves”.

The Baby Monitor App by MVA, available free of charge in the Google Play store, listens for the sounds of your baby crying, and either calls or texts another number of your choice by way of alert. If you want to mount your phone to the crib in some way, it can also take a picture and send it as an SMS to the other phone to give you a quick check-up on your baby. If you’re willing to spend a little, you could also get the Baby Monitor and Alarm app by TappyTaps ($2.99 in the Google Play Store). This app does not support photo-monitoring like MVA’s app, but provides features which will play a prerecorded message by you or a preselected lullaby from your own Android device, when it detects your child fussing.

Alternatively, the free Baby Night Light app by Atlas SI acts as a nice alternative to musical crib-side night lights. It provides swirling, colorful effects while playing from a free selection of music, accessible through the app itself.

For those looking to their smartphones for the sake of convenience more than price, the popularBaby Einstein music CDs for infants are also available in the Google Play store – at a full dollar less per album then physical CDs, to boot! If your baby has a favorite, the songs are also downloadable individually at $0.99 apiece.

With smartphones slowly but surely replacing single-use devices around the house, life’s little difficulties are slowly becoming a little less difficult. Just never look for a smartphone to change a diaper for you – at least, not within the next 10-15 years.

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