Putting the ‘App’ in ‘Nappy’

The very website on which this article is written stands as testament to the usefulness of expert and parent-led advice when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and early years child-rearing. This is because when you are embarking on or are at the beginning of one of life’s most important journeys – bringing up children – there can be no substitute for the accumulated wisdom of medical experts and all those who have gone before you.

However, it is also true that every parent has an innate instinct for doing the right thing – in evolutionary terms it would have been impossible for humans to survive and prosper if it were not so – so in some ways it is a shame to see certain “consumer-based solutions” to the business of bringing up baby.

Pampers is the latest to impose itself and to potentially undermine the innate instincts of new parents, with the development of a nappy that doubles as a wearable device as part of the Pampers’ “connected care system”.

As anyone with a functioning olfactory system can attest, it is generally pretty easy to work out when a baby has soiled its nappy – but with Pampers’ new Lumi product, parents can instead rely on a sensor to let them know when it is wet. We don’t want to pour cold water on this new app-enabled nappy – after all, it will only set the sensor off – but we can’t help but ask, what next? A device that lets parents know when their own bladder is beginning to fill? A baby smile detector?

The internet of things

The ‘smart’ nappy is just one of many new additions to the ‘internet of things’. Apparently, it will also track and send information related to a baby’s sleep and wake times as well as feeding patterns. Press releases also indicate that it will come with a video monitor.

Perhaps there are a select group of parents who will benefit from these functions, but one cannot escape the feeling that for most it will be unnecessary. As a culture we all need to spend less time engaging with apps, devices and digital technologies and more time engaging with our children and our own thoughts, needs and instincts.

Furthermore, consider that devices often collect data and that this could become vulnerable to hacking, although the Lumi system will apparently encrypt all data and meet “the same standard of security as the financial services industry.”

Our advice: rather than worrying about whether your child’s nappy is connected to Wi-Fi, stay connected to your child – but we suspect your instincts already told you that…