Babies are so adorable. They remind us of our very own childhood. And this somehow helps bring back the fond memories we had as babies ourselves. In fact, we are pretty sure that, like us, your style of parenting is mostly a reflection of your experiences as a child being cared for by your Mom and Dad. This is actually how it works and how values and traditions are handed down from one generation to the next. And believe us, you are also thinking about the different gadgets, toys, playthings, and other personal items that your Mom and Dad used to buy for you as a baby. It is not really surprising then that in choosing the best baby gadgets to give your infant this coming holiday season, or perhaps on any other occasion or none at all, you will be mostly referring back to your memories of your childhood. You will be asking yourself what your parents bought for you when you were still a baby.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you try, you will end up empty-handed. You can only have the vaguest recollection of what you received as gifts simply because it was already a very long time ago. If you are already in your 30s, then that is exactly the amount of time that tons of information have been added onto your memory. You can therefore say that your memories of babyhood are very difficult to access.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help you. Not in recalling your memories of infancy, of course, but rather in choosing the best gadget for your baby today. Let our list of the top 12 baby gadgets be your inspiration in choosing which to provide your precious little tike.
How We Chose the Top Gadgets for Babies in Our List
So how do you choose the top gadgets to give your baby? Like we said, most of us would refer to our own childhood. That is, if we can still recall the exact gadgets or items given by our Moms and Dads or even any other person who perhaps attended our Mom’s baby shower event or who are friends with either mommy or daddy. But, of course, not everyone has the ability to really recall these gadgets of old. Besides, we now live in the 21st century and the gadgets we had before when we were very young infants are no longer the same as what we have now. As such, we really have to choose the top baby gadgets based on our understanding of how infants today grow and what child development experts have discovered through the years.
Given this scenario, we tasked our researchers to carefully examine all infant products in the market today and determine which ones should be included in our list. We had to make sure that these gadgets are safe, first and foremost, meaning they must not contain any harmful chemicals and that their construction should be sturdy and reliable. Additionally, because babies have a knack for putting their hands in their mouths, including objects that they hold in their hands, it is crucial that infant products don’t have very small components which can be ingested by babies and serve as choking hazards. That would be utterly dangerous.
This also means that we had to look at how the gadget was constructed. And while we really cannot go directly to the company’s manufacturing facilities, we can nevertheless assume the level of quality they put into the design and manufacture of these products through certifications from reputable quality control organizations. Additionally, we had to consider any award or recognition which may have been given to either the company itself or the product they manufacture.
Lastly, the voices of other parents and consumers who have tried the product must also be taken into account. So, we had to read feedbacks and customer complaints, if any, to create an impression about the overall acceptability and usefulness of the product.
Today’s Gadgets and Our Children’s Development and Safety
Can you recall the very first gadget your parents gave you when you were still very little? Chances are, you won’t even have the slightest idea of what they gave you; except perhaps if you still have photos of your childhood using these devices. Even then, it will only represent a fraction of the number of items that Mommy and Daddy bought for you when you were still small.
The point is, 30 to 40 years ago, almost everything that were given or provided to young children is complete different from what we now have. For example, we didn’t have digital thermometers that were designed like a pacifier before. Today, taking our baby’s temperature has never been made easier. Thermometers are as easy as point and click and you now have your kid’s temperature readings. How about interactive and educational toys that integrate visuals, sounds, and tactile experiences to help stimulate optimum brain development? Before we had to use our imagination to pretend that a small block of wood was actually a bus and that a long stick is the steed that will help us gallop across the prairie. Today, we are inundated with very realistic replicas of modern buses complete with honking horns and realistic engine sounds.
Man today has clearly redefined the way children grow. However, the principles of child growth and development remain the same. It’s only the instruments and tools that we use to help ensure their development and growth that has changed through the years.
Today, gadgets allow us to help ensure the development of our children by integrating a lot of components that provide a variety of benefits to infants and young kids. Many utilize the advances made in information and communications technologies as well as computer programming to help make our task of caring for our kids and helping them to grow optimally a lot easier.
Toy companies and organizations that design and manufacture baby and infant products are becoming more sensitive to the needs of infants and are especially cognizant of the increasing power and influence of today’s consumers. Before, companies dictated what consumers should buy. Now, it is consumers dictating what companies must design and manufacture. And they must do it in a way that it is developmentally appropriate and safe for kids, especially the younger ones.
Developmental appropriateness doesn’t only refer to the inherent quality of a toy to help ensure the completion of the expected developmental tasks of a child at any given age. It also includes all other kids’ items as these eventually has an impact in their progress as kids. Technically, in order for items or objects to be considered developmentally appropriate, they need to be able to help children enhance at least one of the following developmental areas.
- Physical – Infants grow rapidly in the first year of life. Their birth weight gets doubled by age 6 months and tripled by the 12th. Additionally, they learn to control the different groups of muscles, first controlling the movements of their head and neck before progressing downwards. They then start rolling on their tummies to help strengthen their core muscles. By age 4 months, some babies can already sit while being supported by Mom or Dad. They then learn to pull themselves up to a standing position. Before you know it, they are already cruising around your house. This will also require the development of their proprioceptive senses, their visual and motor coordination, and, of course, their balance.
- Cognitive – The first year of life is dedicated to the accumulation of experiences through the use of the senses. The things that babies see, touch, smell, taste, and hear eventually serve the database upon which their brains will process and integrate into more meaningful concepts. As they grow older, their cognitive abilities also start to grow. By the 12thmonth, they will already have a rudimentary understanding of how certain things work. They can remember things and solve simple problems. Their curiosity grows and this helps in their cognitive development.
- Language – Even before babies start saying “Mama” or “Dada”, they are already building on their vocabulary by watching you talk and trying to make sense of the sounds they hear. This can be considered a part of cognitive development but child experts believe that it merits a developmental area of its own.
- Emotional – Babies cry. They smile. They exhibit behavior that, to most of us adults, tell us babies are happy, in pain, upset, or even angry. Their communication skills are not yet developed but they are already forming an idea about their feelings and how these are expressed.
- Social – With constant stimulation, babies can start discerning a friendly and trusted face from the not. This is why they may exhibit separation anxiety and stranger anxiety. They always equate the hugs of Mom and Dad as comforting and safe. Mommy and Daddy are the only persons that baby can trust and rely on. However, as they grow, they also begin appreciating the role of other people in baby’s life.
Of course, developmental appropriateness is not only the parameter we have to consider in choosing items or objects for young infants. It is also crucial to look at the safety of these products. For example, we all know that babies love to reach for almost anything in their surroundings. As part of their gross motor development, they will try to grasp an object with the whole hand instead of using only the thumb and forefinger. This is normal since their ability to control fine muscular contractions are not yet fully developed so they tend to rely mostly on larger muscle groups. This allows them to bring whatever is in their hands to the mouths. And if the object is small enough, babies might choke if they ingest these objects.
This is why it is very important to choose baby items that don’t have small removable components. This is also the reason why it is best to provide infants with clothes that don’t require buttons or even are designed with small trinkets which babies can pull and put in their mouths. This also extends well into how we organize baby’s room. There should be no clutter so that our little ones will be barred from reaching these otherwise potentially-harmful objects.
The Bottom Line
Gadgets, both then and now, help us better care for our babies whether it is to help them grow to their optimum development or to help provide a safe and comfortable environment for them. It is therefore, up to us to be wise in our choice of the best gadgets to give our young children. With our top 12 baby gadgets, we are 100 percent confident you will be more inspired to choose one for your kid.