If you plan to have the smartest kid on the block, better set them up in the smartest nursery. Nowadays, there’s no shortage of integrated, interconnected, Wi-Fi-enabled, high-tech baby gear and baby monitors that’ll take care of your kid for you … er … help you take care of your kid. No, you’re not completely off the hook, but you can at least sit in the other room and have a beer while a smart device tracks your kid’s movements, heartbeat, breathing, air quality, sleep, and development. Then, you can use the data to make improvements in your kid’s quality of life (and, transitively, yours) or simply bask in the incredible job you already knew you’ve been doing. Because a smart nursery and a smart kid all start with a smart dad.
Best Bassinet: Snoo Smart Sleeper
Developed by the dude behind the Happiest Baby On The Block book, Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo Smart Sleeper uses three integrated microphones to monitor your baby’s (but thankfully not your) crying and soothe them back to sleep with an optimal mix of white noise and vibration. It automatically selects the type of noise (soft rain, heartbeats, etc.) and volume level, as well as the type of motion (slower swing, “faster jiggles”) and speed, based entirely on how agitated or relaxed your child sounds. And to make sure they sleep safe, the Snoo also comes with three organic cotton “five-second swaddles” (in sizes from five to 26 lbs.) that attach to clips in the sleeper to ensure the baby can’t roll over onto their belly.
Best Video Baby Monitor: Nanit
Out of the box, Nanit is an HD, night-vision video monitor that live streams your baby (hopefully) sleeping directly to your smartphone using local Wi-Fi or mobile Internet. It also takes the temperature/humidity in the room, offers one-way audio so you can listen in on (but not talk back to your kid), and sends smart notifications if your baby wakes, cries, or stirs. The big sell though is the camera’s “computer vision,” which monitors how your baby sleeps, noting total sleep time, wake time, and the number of times you come in the room. Then it crunches those numbers using an algorithm and shoots out a report you can scan in the morning on the app.
Best Wearable Baby Monitor: Owlet Smart Sock 2
Owlet is a home version of hospital technology that monitors oxygen levels while babies sleep, but in adorable sock form. It also tracks heart rate, skin temperature, and rollovers, then pipes all that data directly to your phone. No service? The base station bleeps and bloops if something’s up. Great for those who are concerned about their newborn’s O2-levels. Bad for those who are anxious or compulsive. Or, as they’re commonly known in psychology textbooks, parents.
Best Changing Pad: Hatch Baby
This electronic changing table with a built-in scale tracks your newborn’s weight before and after each feeding to calculate how much milk they’ve consumed and gives nervous new parents peace of mind. It also tracks things like diaper changes, feedings, and sleep schedule, and syncs it all on a free app because who writes things down nowadays?
Best All-In-One Soothing Center: HALO SnoozyPod
This “all-in-one soothing station” is equal parts white noise machine, bassinet vibrator, and nightlight. It includes two levels of soothing and (good, good, good) vibrations, three types of sounds, and an LED starry night ceiling projector. It’s designed for newborns to 2-year-olds and it’s obvious why ⏤ with the controls right on the side of the crib, it’s only a matter of time before your kid starts playing DJ/light tech instead of going to sleep.
Best Air Quality Tracker: Awair
Awair tracks a room’s temperature, humidity, CO2, VOCs, and dust and rates the air quality, which displays beside bar graphs and dots that follow a traffic light pattern: green is good, yellow is fair, and red is, “Didn’t I just spend weeks detoxing this place?” An app lets you specify areas for improvement: allergies, sleep, productivity, wellness, beauty, or pregnancy. Useful for helping your family sleep through the night or avoid the flu.
Best Sleep Tracker: Lully
Night terrors are a specific kind of awful for parents — like nightmares but way more physically violent — that occur when preschoolers and toddlers fall into a deeper than normal sleep. Lully learns your kid’s sleep pattern, and then stimulates them with gentle vibrations at specific times to keep them at a healthy depth of sleep all night. It’s been clinically proven to work, which, sadly, is more than you can say for your hugs.
Best Sound Machine: Baby Shusher
Babies, unlike a-holes in movie theaters, respond well to being shushed. It’s called white noise and it has proven benefits! Baby Shusher rhythmically replicates the “SHUSHHHHHH” of the womb and matches your baby’s volume if they cry (up to 95 decibels). Or you can use the $5 app to record your own shushes — although you don’t get the fun rocket shape. A timer shushes the shushes after 15 or 30 minutes, unlike at the movies.
Best Scale: Health O Meter Grow With Me
You don’t necessarily need one of these if your kid is getting regular checkups, but it can be helpful if you have concerns about their development, whether they were premature or you just want to make sure they’re eating enough. Grow With Me is accurate, reliable, and converts from an infant tray to a standing digital scale (up to 60 pounds) for when your toddler becomes a badass boxer and needs to make weight.
Best Night Light: Suzy Snooze
Suzy Snooze provides a reassuring, soothing orange glow while looking all cute with her little sleepy face. Connect the BleepBleeps app, and Suzy becomes an audio monitor that lets you to listen to your baby from up to 150 feet away. She also plays four different sleep-inducing light and sound combinations, promotes sleep hormones with optimized color output, and activates with a cry sensor. So all you’ll hear on that monitor is, “ZZZZZzzzzzz.”
Best Furniture: Curvilux Smart Nightstand
Curvilux is a single-drawer smart night stand with a minimalist aesthetic and all kinds of integrated tech that syncs to a phone app. First, there’s a built-in wireless charging pad and two USB ports to power the baby monitor, white noise machine, projector, etc. There’s also a high-powered LED strip that not only detects the best brightness setting for the room but also doubles as a sunrise alarm you can eventually use to sleep-train your toddler. The built-in audio system streams lullabies from any Bluetooth device and the motion-detecting nightlight pops on the second your kid eventually learns how to climb out the crib.
Best Toddler Monitor: Decco
The Decco Toddler Monitor is a Bluetooth-enabled motion sensor that hangs on the doorknob to your child’s room. When it senses the door open, it sends an alert to the iPhone app (no Android yet, unfortunately). Simple as that, you know your kid is on the run and headed for the sewer pipe. The app can monitor up to three devices (from three different phones), so you can also throw one on the front and back doors depending on your child’s age and/or level of precociousness. Or maybe just on the fridge if they like to enjoy a late-night juice box while watching Conan.
Best Curtains: Slide Smart
Slide is not actually a curtain itself, but rather a retrofit Wi-Fi-enabled, motorized device that attaches to and controls whatever curtains you currently have hanging on the nursery windows. It’s designed to work on all existing horizontal curtain systems, can control either one or two curtains, and installs in minutes using one of four different mounting options (rod, rails, etc.) — no handyman skills required. Once up, Slide syncs to a smartphone app where you can schedule the curtains to open and close at designated times. Eventually, you can also use it as a sleep trainer ⏤ “No getting out of that bed until those curtains are open, dammit!”
Best Fan/Air Purifier: Dyson Pure Cool Link Air Purifier
The Pure Cool Link, the latest iteration of the company’s series of oscillating, bladeless fans, not only keeps the nursery at the proper temperature but automatically measures a room’s air quality, and then eradicates any allergens and pollutants it finds. The fan’s filtration system is said to trap not only 99.97 percent of .3 micron small germs and particulates (including mold, bacteria, pollen, and pet dander), but also such gasses as Formaldehyde and Benzene. So there. The fan syncs to a smartphone app where you can schedule air purifying, set sleep timers, and even put it into a quieter, nursery mode.