Keep an eye on your home & family

WeMo baby monitor

There's no need to carry a baby monitor with you, the WeMo sends baby's cries right to your phone when they wake.

If you want to see and hear your baby, the iBaby Monitor ($249.95, from iWorld) is triggered by your baby's movement or cries. Video from the unit in the nursery is then sent to your device over Wi-Fi or 3G.

You can control the iBaby monitor to get a better view of your baby — tilt the unit up, down, left or right by swiping your screen using the iBaby app.

There are also infra-red lights on the unit so you can see your baby in the dark.

A new model, the iBaby Monitor M2, will soon be available. The M2 has a rechargeable battery, which means the monitor can be moved from room to room without being plugged in.

It also has a speaker built in for two-way audio, so you can talk to your little one if you're not ready to pick them up just yet.

iBaby Monitor

If you want to forgo baby monitors altogether, there are apps available that will turn two smartphones into a baby monitoring solution.

It's a cheap alternative and a great way to utilise that old phone you have sitting in a drawer. The Baby Monitor 3G ($4.49, iOS) works via Wi-Fi and 3G, streaming video while connected to your network and sending still images over 3G.

Two-way communication allows you to talk to your baby and a light feature allows you to see your baby in the dark.

You can set your phone to vibrate so you don't miss your baby's cries in a loud environment and if you do, you'll know about it — the parent station displays a list of all noises from the last 10 minutes.

The Baby Monitor 3G app

With two iPhones and this app, you can create a fully-functional baby monitor.

Monitor teenage drivers

Even well-behaved teenagers can get a little crazy in the car when egged on by mates. Thankfully, there are ways stressed parents can keep an eye on teens while they're driving the family car.

With a GPS tracker, parents can find out not just where their car is at any given time, but how fast it's travelling.

Some are targeted at large companies managing fleets and have ongoing subscription fees, but the GPS Live Tracker/Logger ($288, from Eye Spy World) is just right for family use.

The tracker is simple to use — just install a prepaid sim card.

The unit is small enough to hide anywhere in the car. When you want to know the car's location and speed, just dial the tracker's number.

It answers silently and replies with the current date, time, battery status, speed and exact GPS location.

Punch the co-ordinates into Google Maps and you'll know where your kids are.

You can also set the tracker to notify you automatically at regular intervals.

Speed Notify app

Other features include the ability to set a geo-fence, so you're notified if the car leaves a certain zone, or select to be warned if the car goes over a certain speed.

You're sent the last tracked position if the GPS signal is lost (for example, if the car enters an underground car park).

Trackers are also a great way to trace your car if it gets stolen, or you can give one to your child or elderly parent, allowing them to be easily found if they're ever lost.

An easier way to monitor your child's driving is with a new locally-developed app called Speed Notify ($5.49, iOS). It's installed on the parent's phone and the teen's phone.

If the teen goes over a certain speed limit, an alert is sent to the parent, recording where it took place, the speed and its duration.

An alert is also triggered if the child tries to remove the app.

noDistractions is a software add-on for Bluetooth-enabled GPS trackers to stop your child using their phone while driving.

It blocks mobile calls, texts and web surfing while driving. Any attempts to call or text are blocked and logged (exceptions can be set for emergency numbers).

The software is currently used to monitor phone use in large fleets but should be available to consumers later this year.