A New High-Tech Babysitter

06.03.10 We've all heard of parents using TV to occasionally calm and entertain the baby. But now, smartphones and tablets, too?

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Tech-savvy parents are increasingly turning to their iPhones and iPads to pacify their babies, but now experts are raising concerns about whether this technology is safe for little ones, CNN reports.

According to the report, four of the top 10 iPhone and iPad applications on sale today are designed for children under the age of 5. Which begs the question: Is there a right age to introduce such gadgets? According to The New York Times, the number of children ages 6 to 11 with cellphones has doubled since 2005.

CNN interviewed Peter Gray, a psychology professor at Boston College, who said that watching TV is passive but parents and children can be active using an iPhone or iPad.

According to tech website Gizmodo, touchscreens were made for small children—and the bigger the screen, the better. Just remember, small kids will smudge and drool on your iPad, so Gizmodo recommends getting a protective case for your tablet.

The Gizmodo folks have also come up with a list of the best iPad apps for babies, toddlers and sanity-loving parents. It's packed with educational activities, such as drawing, alphabet and counting apps.

What about during pregnancy? Using a laptop while you're expecting can raise concerns, too. But according to the experts at What To Expect When You're Expecting, balancing a laptop with a baby bump in the way isn't easy—but it isn't dangerous.

CNN concluded that iPhones and iPads are OK for babies as long as you spend plenty of non-tech time with your children. And the same goes for TV time. Previously, Crib Notes reported on the numerous studies that say too much boob-tube means less time for children 2 and younger to develop their language skills. Plus, research found "educational" baby videos to be no help in making your little one brainier.

Or we can do as the French: In 2008, France banned TV broadcasting for babies 3 and younger to protect them from any developmental risks, USA Today reports.

Remember this, ladies: Nobody's perfect! Plenty of moms will admit to occasionally turning on the TV for baby when they need a minute of peace and quiet. Reduce your guilt by keeping our TV viewing pointers in mind.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.