Touchscreen tablets never quite killed off e-ink book readers like the Kindle, nor did GPS-equipped smartphones kill off dashboard GPS nav units. They’re still thriving, and Garmin intends to keep it that way by now letting parents also monitor their kids in the backseat using the same display that’s giving them directions.
The company’s new $200 babyCam accessory mounts to the front or back of a seat’s headrest—whichever provides the best shot of a child in a carseat—and wirelessly streams (up to 30 feet) a live video feed to a compatible Garmin GPS navigator. It makes for one less distraction for a parent while driving, and on certain Garmin nav units they can actually just use voice commands to quickly switch between their map and directions or the live feed from the babyCam.
Powered by a pair of AA batteries or a USB cable connected to a power source in the vehicle, the babyCam also includes night vision capabilities allowing the driver to check on a child when it’s dark out without having to turn on a car’s interior lights which could wake a slumbering infant.
New parents (who are probably perpetually exhausted) will also appreciate another of the Garmin babyCam’s features; when they arrive at their destination the nav unit will remind them to check for passengers before exiting the vehicle, preventing a quiet sleeping infant from accidentally being left behind. Although, how often is an infant really quiet or sleeping?