High-tech baby gear to the test: Is it worth the money?

High-tech baby gear to the test: Is it worth the money?

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The baby care industry is a nearly $50 billion a year industry, with thousands of products promising to make parenting little ones a little easier. Nearly every day a new product pops up on stores shelves.

FOX19 NOW put the newest high-tech baby products to hit the shelves to the test to see what local moms say.

Edgewood mom Leslie Meier has double the trouble with three-month-old twins Kate and Caroline. The babies are calm most of the time but every evening they hit what mom calls "the witching hour."

"I would definitely say 4-7 p.m. is a fussy time for them, and that's a good one for just being confused about what's going on, why they're so upset," Meier said.

So we gave Leslie the "Why Cry Baby Crying Analyzer" to put to the test. The device claims it can tell by the pitch of a baby's cry whether the baby is sleepy, stressed, bored, annoyed or hungry.

Mom is a bit skeptical. "Is this thing going to work? There's so many indicators... Things like stressed, annoyed, hungry," Meier said.

After a week of testing the crying analyzer, mom's verdict, "It was actually pretty accurate," Meier reported.

"I would recommend this to any new expecting mom or parent. Think it's a great tool to take some of the guesswork out of those first few months," Meier said.

The MIMO baby monitor claims to be a baby monitor on steroids.

Campbell County mom Tiffany Barnes and 2-month-old Corbin put the MIMO to the test. While baby sleeps, they wear a onesie with a sensor on it. The sensor transmits information to an app on the parent's smartphone or iPad which tells what position baby is sleeping in, a breakdown of how long they've been asleep and awake, and you can even hear them breathing.

But after testing, Barnes says the high-tech gadget isn't easy to use. "I would maybe give it a 4 or a 5. I wasn't super impressed with the app. It was hard to use and it didn't work as well as I thought it would," Barnes says.

FOX19 NOW sent an email to the manufacturer of MIMO about the technical issues Barnes experienced. This is what a representative said in response:

The Mimo provides audio of the nursery or the room with the Lilllypad, helping parents to hear the coos and cries of their little one. We pride ourselves in our customer support, which includes getting customers up and running who happen to hit snags, and helping those customers optimize the Mimo for their specific home setup. We've continued to make updates to the app and the set up process in light of iOS 8, and are excited about new versions of the iOS and Android app - both of which are coming out in the next couple of weeks- where there will be dramatic improvements in both usability and functionality.

"This is just a new version of something that's been around for centuries, snake oil," said pediatrician Dr. Chuck Kelly.

His advice to parents is simple. "Just have confidence in yourself. Those things aren't needed," Kelly said.

But for moms who have their hands full of little ones, they'll try anything that offers a helping hand.

"They're so little and you wish they could tell you what's going on but they can't," Meier said.

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