The other day, I was helping my neighbours with a backyard project. While doing this, they were using a video-based monitoring tool on their smartphone to keep watch on their infant daughter who was sleeping.
My kids are a bit older, so I wasn’t up to speed on all of the new IoT gadgets for infants. In addition to sleep monitoring sensors, there are now smart clothes, smart thermometers, automated swings and so much more. When I started to do some research on this, it was mind boggling.
The idea/goal behind these items is a noble one – keeping your child safer while providing you with more information to make (in theory) better decisions. If you could spot a trend, like your child being too warm when they sleep, you may be better able to pass along valuable information to a medical professional in the event that something happens. Again, very noble., says Larry Bellehumeur, M2M / IoT Consultant, Novotech Technologies.
However, at some point, we need to slow down this progression. Kids have been born/raised for centuries and amazingly, they were able to survive without IoT solutions. Kids were able to sleep, learn to walk and even be “rocked” to sleep by a parent. Parents did this by learning things from their elders and by using learned parental instincts…namely trial and error.
By relying on a data-driven approach to raising children, parents fail to learn how to observe things that may not be easily quantified: Is my child’s pattern of behaviour different? Is the colour in their face unusual after taking a medication? Is there an odd, glazed look on their face that is different? Depending on the child, these may actually be true signs of distress, ones that aren’t always picked up by an IoT solution.
The Bottom Line
Please don’t think I don’t see any value in most of these items. Having a baseline history of your child’s sleeping temperatures may be vital information in the event of an infection, flu or other illness. As well, technology has done wonders in reducing tragic incidents of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other illnesses.
However, technology needs to be used as a tool, not a substitute. It needs to provide additional information to help parents when their parental instincts require it. Being attentive (or “knowing”) is often the best line of defense to protect them. My wife was exceptional at this….she would easily have been able to see when the kids were making a “boom-boom” before any IoT solution could have, I would wager….
The author of this blog is Larry Bellehumeur, M2M / IoT Consultant, Novotech Technologies.