Yada Tiny Traveler Review
Because being distracted isn’t an option
As parents, we do everything we can to protect our children, especially when they're in the car with us. From choosing the ideal, safest car seat to getting it inspected to insure proper installation, travelling with your child can be a stressful thing, especially for new parents whose baby is still rear-facing.
That constant "Is he/she OK?" question is raised, and the need to see your child's face while driving is all encompassing. I know, I've been there. Sure, there are mirrors you can purchase, but they are just as distracting as if you were turning around all the time; which is what parents tend to do while driving, if only to catch a glimpse.
So, how to solve the problem? Well Yada has a solution: the Tiny Traveler Baby Monitor for Your Car. Does it work? Well, we got the chance to try the Yada Tiny Traveler out, and it offered up some pros and cons along the way.
If it's not an iPhone mount on your windscreen, then it's a GPS, so mounting the Yada Tiny Traveler 3.5" TFT colour display monitor above your dash won't seem unusual or obtrusive. The screen is also quite thin and well-designed. It's modern with brushed chrome-like finishing around the edges and visible, easy-to-use brightness control and power buttons.
Powered via the 12V/24V plug found in most cars, the Yada Tiny Traveler screen setup up front is relatively clean (with a good quality suction cup on a sturdy mount), until you add the wire for the camera.
While I see the necessity (what if your youngest sits all the way in the third row of your minivan?), the available 16 feet of wiring that will stretch between the display screen and the camera is a bit excessive and something you'll have to think about "storing" throughout the vehicle so it doesn't get snagged on passengers and other cargo you bring into your vehicle.
In this day and age and for the price being asked of the unit, I would have thought wireless would be the way to go, however, such is not the case.
Installation requires some planning
For forward-facing children, the camera can be mounted to the rear of the front seat headrests via a headrest mount included in the kit. For rear-facing car seats, a second suction-cup mount is included for the rear window, and the angle of the camera can be adjusted up to 45 degrees. While this may still cause a problem in some vehicles with a heavily angled rear window, for the most part it should be OK. There's always the option of using the headrest mount for rear-facing as well if your vehicle has free-standing head rests in the back.
What to do when your baby is no longer a baby?
Well, with 16 feet of wire, it's highly plausible that you'll turn this Tiny Traveler Baby Monitor for your car into a Tiny Traveler Trailer Monitor for your car. Mounting the camera to face out through your rear window via the headrest mount is entirely feasible when you want to keep an eye on whatever it is your towing. It could also double as a back-up camera in the same set-up, although it would only offer up an eye-level view if mounted in the car.
Distraction no more ... kind of
Well, yes and no. While I did find myself turning around less, it didn't stop me entirely. There's really no substitute for seeing my child in real life. However, I was only apt to turn around while at a stop light (which is what I normally do anyways). While driving, the screen did seem rather distracting, but only because I wasn't used to it being there in the windscreen. Thankfully, with a power-off option, the screen can be turned off when baby isn't in the back, which means I didn't have to look at a creepy empty baby seat while driving solo.
Do I think the system is worth the approx. $170 price tag? Yes and no. I can see the benefit of the camera system when you've got a newborn riding in the back, and they're still rear-facing. Or if you've got a very large vehicle, more than one child, and you want to be able to pay attention to the youngest. Generally, the cars I have keep my son close enough to me that he could, quite literally, kick me in the elbow if he wanted to in order to get my attention.