Cutting edge

Eight pieces of tech to make parenting easier

There are plenty of gadgets aimed squarely at the pocketbooks of parents. While some are just cool pieces of tech to make people think you are into the hippest things every other mom and dad is into, others have a genuine purpose and can make your lives easier by helping around the house, looking after little ones or just making the little things easier. Here’s a look at eight pieces of parenting tech that meet those demands, with tips on pricing.

Security camera doorbells

One of the hottest home-tech trends of the past few years has been a doorbell with a security boost beyond just the tone that warns you about a visitor. Instead, the smart doorbell includes a camera at the top which shows who is at the door. You can watch them from a special unit that comes with the device, or you can view a live stream of your front porch from your smartphone. Some of these hi-tech doorbells also feature devices where you can speak to whomever is at the door. The Ring company has several available, and the price range is pretty wide, from $100 to $500. Find out more at

High-tech strollers for baby

If you search around the internet for sophisticated strollers, you might get some sticker shock. The range looks to be anywhere from $1,000 to an eye-popping $5,000. One exception is from a company called Mockingbird, which has several features that go beyond the standard, but in a compact package that costs just $350. It has wheels that mirror the style of car tires, a canopy with what is, in essence, a sunroof, and a modular system that can switch from forward to parent-facing mode quickly. Find out more at

Smart mugs for hot drinks

This is a simple one that is actually pretty ingenious. If you pour the morning coffee or tea and then have to leave it on the counter to take care of a kid need, errand or work from home, you might return to a cold beverage. With the Ember smart mug and coaster, you get a synced app that heats the mug in the coaster to the temperature you best like your drink, just program that proper heat with the app itself. It retails online at about $100. Find out more at

Track your kid on GPS

Don’t think of it as spying—think of it as security. There’s a small tracker available that can clip onto a backpack or piece of clothing, available from Jiobit, that syncs with an app so you can see the location of your kid in real time. You can also program alerts and specific location destinations. It’s available from Jiobit and is priced at about $100. Find out more at

Put home safety first

A standard-issue part of any family’s home is the smoke alarm, but there are some great high-tech options that go beyond the batteries and the beeps. A company called Nest has one that also detects carbon monoxide, and they go a step further by making it wifi compatible, so it can warn you if there’s an alarm while you aren’t at home. It retails for about $120, and you can read more about it at

Cooking by remote

If you are a busy parent that needs to put the food on the table for the family, it’s become the thing to do to get a crock pot and cook dinner while at work. A high-tech version of this concept is the Instant Pot, which goes beyond just slow cooking to also be used for pressure cooking, a rice maker, or for steaming, and it’s fully programmable. Prices range from $90 to $150. Get more details at

An easy temperature check

When you suspect that the kids are sick—or maybe even mom and dad aren’t feeling quite right—you need a thermometer that’s easy to use. There are many that fit that bill, but one of the most interesting is from the company iProven. It works both in the ear and on the forehead and has a compact style and easy readout. Plus, it’s priced at about $30. Find out more at

Stay in touch, literally

Another trendy gift in past years has been the Amazon Echo Show. With its latest iteration—the Amazon Echo Show 5—it still lets you stay in touch with family from far away with its video call capabilities. That’s not all it does, of course: there are also ways to control home devices, listen to music or answer questions you’re too lazy to look up on your phone. It retails for about $65. Find out more about it at