Sproutling Baby Monitor, a Wearable That Gives Parents Just the Info They Need

Say “baby monitor” and parents think of a crackling walkie-talkie on the kitchen table, holding them captive until the moment their child is in need. Recent twists have included cameras and smartphone control — some even have night vision. But in my own experience, baby monitors always served more as a security blanket than a security system.

Given the attention around both wearable sensors and smartphone apps, it’s not surprising that a team has come up with a completely new notion of a baby monitor. What is surprising, though, is that the idea seems like quite a good one.

Sproutling’s baby monitor system starts with a small rubber-coated sensor that attaches—via a soft, hypoallergenic, machine-washable strap—to the leg of your child (age 0-2) and monitors temperature, heart rate and motion. Part 2 is the charging dish, which serves as a secondary sensor array when the device is in use. It evaluates room temperature and ambient noise—barking dogs and lawn mowers.


The third piece of the system is the app. There are no video feeds, or even an audio channel. Instead, there’s a primary-colored interface showing an iconic representation of your child’s state: cranky or happy, sleeping or awake. A sweeping loop indicates not just how long your child has been asleep, but how long he or she ought to sleep, based on age, history and current conditions. The interface seems well designed, delivering just the information you need.

Sproutling’s founders, who worked with pediatricians in designing the product, wanted to build something that gave parents better information than traditional monitors, without going down the “quantified” path. This isn’t a FitBit for your baby, they stress. Just a simpler way to keep track of your child (actually, up to four of them), even while you’re away and the babysitter is on duty.


Though I saw a functioning demo, the product’s official launch won’t be until March of next year. Sproutling assures me they are already in production, but the company is announcing the product Thursday with a “presale.” Those who buy ahead of the official release will get the system for $249 instead of the $300 retail price.

While the baby monitor looks like something I would have enjoyed back when my kids were younger, it’s understandable if you decide to wait for more independent reviews before buying. Sproutling still needs to show it is consistently dependable, since nobody wants data misfires when children are concerned.


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