There are a lot of weird devices out there with a lot of quirks but our discovery of a smartphone-enabled baby-monitoring alert system to make sure you didn’t leave your kid back at home or stuck in the car has to be at the top of the list.
The gizmo, which has been on the market for nearly two years now following a successful Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, is called the eClip, and it’s manufactured by a Delaware-based startup called Elepho. It is literally built to remind parents to take their baby with them by detecting when you’re more than 15 to 25 feet away from the kid by sending an audible and visual alert to your smartphone.
It sounds counterintuitive — what kind of parent forgets they have a kid, right? — but it turns out there’s some authentic sociological research behind the need for the eClip. There is in fact a medical phenomenon called Forgotten Baby Syndrome, or FBS. Some instances are based around motor memory — it’s that thing when you’re on autopilot, maybe doing your daily commute or thinking about the errands you have to run.
In addition, modern life has become much more distracting and complex. The amount of input we get from things like social media or smart speakers or phone calls or whatever your jam is can be distracting, meaning even the most well-meaning parents can leave home or the car and not realize they forgot the kid.
“We understand that sometimes we forget things, plans or routine daily activities,” an Elepho representative said during the Kickstarter campaign. “This device is not only affordable, but also easy to use. Simply put: eClip is a smart reminder to check on your little one in the back seat of your car in an attempt to prevent a tragedy.”
So, here’s how the eClip works: you clip the device to the kid, either physically to his or her clothing or the car seat, seat belt, or diaper bag. It also comes with an accessory strap just in case you have to attach it somewhere unusual. It’s designed so that a child can’t accidentally turn it off, and there’s nothing small enough on it to present a choking hazard.
Prior to its first use, you’ll also need to download the eClip App (there’s always an app). Now, this gizmo needs permission to access a whole bunch of stuff on your smartphone. The good news is that there’s a version of the app for both iOS and Android, so it should work with most common modern smartphones. The eClip app will need access to Bluetooth and GPS location services as well as audio permission, camera access, storage to save and retrieve images for your baby’s profile picture, and permission to override the wake lock in case it needs to send an alert.
Once that’s done, you simply attach the eClip to your child, whether it’s at home or in the car and make sure the eClip App is running. The baby reminder function constantly reminds you that your child is in the car in case you space out. The device also monitors the car temperature so you know when to adjust the air so your child is comfy. Also, please don’t leave your kid in a hot car; Elepho’s primary goal in building this wingding is zero hot-car deaths, a peril that presents a real hazard to children with spacey guardians.
You should remember that at home, if you space out and take your smartphone more than about 25 feet from the eClip, you’ll get an alert to remind you that you forgot the kid.
Elpho also says that its eClip is perfectly safe for babies and small children — the device uses safe, low-energy Bluetooth transmissions. It’s also a pretty powerful little device, considering its size. Elpho says the battery on the eClip should last about 500 hours
The eClip costs about $50 retail and can be ordered online. No word from Elpho on how sales are going but there’s clearly a market for it – over 200 backers pledged more than $53,000 while the eClip was in development during 2017 prior to the start of production that same year. Since then, Elpho has also produced a number of other child safety products including a bathtub thermometer, a digital temperature thermometer, and a pulse oximeter.