Specialty Features for Kids' Rooms

From monitors to docking stations, add gadgets that make life easy and safe.

Once you've checked the essentials off your list and had your fun decorating, it's time to turn your attention to the specialty details. Of course, your child’s room isn’t an office or a media lounge, but you’ll still want to include some features that improve convenience and safety, and offer entertainment.

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This monitor includes an under-the-mattress sensor pad that sounds an alarm after 20 seconds if no movement is detected. Photo courtesy of Angelcare

Monitors

Free yourself up to rest or get work done while your child sleeps by investing in a good baby monitor. Options abound, from high-tech to basic, but even the simplest model will make it easier to keep tabs on your little one when you're busy elsewhere in the house. Newer versions have movement monitors, which sound an alarm if your baby hasn't moved in 20 or 30 seconds, a feature that can provide peace of mind for parents of newborns.

But attractive as the feature-filled new models may be, Healthy Building and Indoor Environment Consultant Mary Cordaro suggests choosing a basic style. "You want to keep your baby's room as unplugged as possible, to limit EMFs, which are man-made electromagnetic frequencies that can interfere with the body’s own electromagnetic properties. One way to do that is to pick a monitor that's 900mhz or less."

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Parents and children alike will appreciate the convenience of a iPod dock with playful design. Photo courtesy of ekids.com

Gadgets for Entertainment

Since you'll be spending plenty of time in your baby's room, consider planning for entertainment. Experts like Dr. Ben Hoffman, a pediatrician at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Ore., warn against putting a television in a child's room, but babies, kids, and moms and dads all love music. Think about adding a dock for your MP3 player, a CD player or a radio so you can play soothing lullabies for baby — or get-up-and-dance tunes for your older child.

If you’ll be remodeling your baby or child’s room, think about switching the standard wall outlets to USB outlets. These have USB ports built right into the wall outlet — a big convenience, particularly for charging portable devices.

Comfort and Safety Features

Babies are very sensitive to changes in temperature. "A backlit thermometer is a really good feature to include," says Pam Ginocchio, co-founder of Project Nursery.

To ensure you can see what you’re doing during those 2 a.m. feedings without the jarring intrusion of an overhead light, include a nightlight in your plans. Older kids like the security of a soft glow through the night, too, says Ginocchio. Also consider upgrading wall switches to dimmers (it's an easy DIY project) so you can control the light levels more precisely.

The most important safety feature is one of the easiest to install. A smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector is an essential addition to every bedroom, and takes about two minutes to mount to the ceiling or wall with screws. Test the batteries every three months, and replace them twice a year, when you switch your clock forward and back as the time changes, says Dr. Hoffman.

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