NCT, the UK’s largest parenting charity, is harnessing the power of mobile technology by launching the first interactive charity iPhone application for parents.
‘NCT Babychange’ is free to download and will make it easier for parents and families who are on the move, or away from home, to find the nearest baby changing facility in their locality and view its star ratings. The app also allows parents to rate the changing station so others know if it’s a good, clean changing facility to use.
The app already has over 5000 baby changing sites listed including supermarkets, train stations, shops, restaurants, libraries and local authorities with the capacity to add more.
Using geo-location based features and Google Maps, parents can pin point the nearest baby changing facilities in the area. Selecting a particular facility will bring up its name and current ‘star’ hygiene rating, further selection brings up the full address and location details. Places highlighted in green indicate a clean, hygiene level that’s recommended for use again, facilities in amber indicate they need more parents to rate them to confirm their status.
As a guide to other parents, after visiting a changing station, parents can confirm it is open and rate it on two sets of criteria depending on its hygiene condition:
• How clean were the facilities, rate using 1-5 stars
• Would you use the facilities again, rate with yes/ no answer.
The charity is also calling on parents to add new or unlisted baby changing sites to the app’s database, and rate them, so that even more parents can benefit.
Sally Horrox, Director of Corporate Communications, NCT, says; “This is an exciting move for NCT - we have created a free app that helps parents when they’re out and about with their children. NCT is keen for today’s parents to have a better parenting experience, and enabling and supporting parents to help other parents, through our NCT Babychange app, is what NCT is all about.
“It’s like having your own personal directory of changing facilities in your back pocket as our app allows you to find good, clean baby changing rooms that you would happily visit again.”
The app, developed by Axon Publishing, is now available to download free from Apple and will also be available to non-iPhone users via the NCT website later on in the year. Please visit www.nct.org.uk/babychanging for full details. The app is also being developed for other Smart phones.
NCT Babychange works by using the phone’s built-in GPS function to identify where the user is positioned. This interfaces with Google Maps to indicate the nearest changing facility on a map or in a list. Using UGC (User Generated Content) parents can also add to the changing facilities database, or remove, by using their iPhone and their GPS coordinates.
NCT teamed up with Axon Publishing to develop and design the app. Ellen Brush, Axon Publishing, says; “So much of what we do these days is defined by our mobile phones. This new app uses state of the art technology to help parents find a simple solution to their dilemma and we’re pleased to be able to work with NCT on this. The beauty of the app is that it’s an infinite resource – so parents can keep adding ever more facilities to the database.”
Over the last 50 years, NCT has been working to improve parents’ experiences. With 105,000 members and over 10,000 volunteers, NCT supports up to a million parents each year through its information and supporter services. The charity also campaigns to improve services and facilities to help build skilled and confident parents for the future.