THEY reach for smartphones from birth, tap all screens expectantly, and researchers say it’s impossible to limit them to two hours of screen time per day.
The new generation of Australian children is growing up with technology and now it seems technology is growing with them, creeping into everyday items you would find in a nursery.
From fully featured, app-friendly, night-vision baby monitors to wearable technology that monitors a baby’s sleep patterns and uploads measurements to the cloud, child technology is advancing well past infancy.
Now the Australian arm of one prominent childcare brand has launched a hi-tech, safety-focused product that could change the ways babies get around.
The Melbourne office of international firm Britax has created a stroller with automatic brakes that trigger when the user lifts their hand off its handle.
Britax service manager Joe Care says the company spent four years developing the E-Brake stroller after being inspired by the tragic pram deaths of two South Australian infants in 2010.
The Federal Government introduced new mandatory standards following the incidents, adding a tether strap for wrists and a parking brake to all prams and strollers.
Mr Care says Britax wanted to increase pram safety further and could not find a technological solution in the market.
“We tried to Google anything like it and we couldn’t find anything,” Mr Care says.
“So we started with our idea and thought we’d just get this one out into the market and talk about a large rollout from there.”
The resulting Britax E-Brake stroller features the body of a Steelcraft Strider with technological additions to its handle, rear wheels, and undercarriage.
The stroller’s covered steel handle is sensitive to the touch. Grip the handle, and you can push it forwards. Remove your hands and the brakes trigger automatically, freezing the back wheels.
In practice, the brakes kick in after just a second’s delay, halting the stroller even on a slope.
The automatic brake also triggers a red and green indicator, and a ‘stop’ icon on its LCD screen.
In addition to safety features, the stroller’s LCD screen features a speedometer, temperature gauge, battery indicator, and estimates for distance travelled and calories burned pushing the stroller.
Its 2000Ah battery, which powers automatic braking for up to 10 days, can also be used to charge a smartphone in its undercarriage, with a USB port on its side.
Despite the convenient additions, Britax Queensland manager Graham Cox says its main goal is to increase child safety, and its creators road-tested it with 20 families over 18 months before its release this month.
“The people who tested it for us didn’t want to stop using it because they got used to it,” Mr Cox says.
The Australian made, globally patented technology cannot be added to other strollers retrospectively, but Mr Cox says automatic braking will be introduced to future Britax prams.
“This is the first of a new generation of strollers,” he says. “This will be just the start of it.”-news.com.au