What is a baby-monitoring device?
A baby monitor allows you to hear or see your baby from baby-monitoring device another room. This allows you to monitor your baby’s movements and hear her cries.
Modern models include a base transmitter with a microphone and camera for the nursery (known as the baby unit) and a portable speaker that you can take with you (known as the parent unit).
Are you looking for analogue or digital?
Analogue and wireless digital models are available for audio monitors. Analog monitors can be more expensive, but they can also suffer from interference from other appliances such as cordless phones and wifi networks. This can impact sound quality.
The transmissions can also be tapped into, which could lead to privacy breaches.
While digital monitors are becoming more popular, they can be more expensive. They provide longer range signals, which are useful for larger houses, better privacy and clearer reception. Many offer a wider selection of operating channels.
Parents may be concerned by digital monitors that use DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology and emit electromagnetic radiation. There have been no health concerns for babies or children under the age of one, however, it is a good idea to keep the baby unit of your monitor at least 1 meter from your baby’s head.
Are you looking for sound and visuals only?
Audio monitors are a popular choice for parents as they offer all the information and comfort they need to understand their baby’s night-time movements. Video monitors are becoming more popular.
These “baby cameras” use one or more video camera to stream footage to a receiver equipped with an LCD screen. Usually, this is done via a wifi connection.
Cables can also be used to receive images on your TV. Some systems stream video directly to your phone or computer. Others allow you to record footage and send it to your mobile device.
For twins, extra cameras can be used. Video monitors can be more expensive than audio monitors and often cost PS150 or more, but prices are decreasing all the time.
Many offer night vision with infrared LCDS. This allows you to check on your baby even at night. They will usually automatically switch into this mode. Make sure your video system is protected with an encrypted signal.
Consider whether you really need to be able to see your baby every moment of the day, despite how cute they may be. Are you going to worry all the time? You might not be glued all the time to the screen so make sure it has sound and images.
Do you desire movement and crying alerts?
You can also buy devices that monitor your baby’s movement and breathing patterns. An audio monitor allows you to hear when your baby is upset. These devices work by placing movement sensors pads under the cot mattress. If your baby is not moving for 20 seconds or more, an alarm will sound.
While some parents find the movement sensors very comforting, others find it to be too much for them. Be aware that false alarms could occur if your baby rolls on the sensor mat. Experts believe that these monitors and others can also provide false security. If you are concerned, make sure to continue checking on your baby. No evidence has been presented to show that baby monitors prevent SIDS.
You should also explore the various alerts available on baby monitors. You can see the LED lights flashing when your baby is crying. Some beep, vibrate or notify you when the battery is low. It is worth considering which alerts are most important to you and which ones could be irritating.
A temperature monitor is useful and can sound an alarm if it becomes too hot or cold in the nursery.
It will be used where you want it to.
Consider where you will actually be using the monitor before buying a monitor. A long-range digital monitor with a portable parent unit is best if your home is large. A basic model might be sufficient for your small home. A digital encryption monitor will provide privacy if you live in an apartment block with many neighbours.
Consider whether you would like to take your monitor with you when you go out in the garden. You can also use the monitor at grandma’s house, or on vacation.
If you are constantly running from one room to the next, a belt clip for your parent unit can be a great help. It’s also helpful to be able to alert your family if you wander out of range.
Make sure you check the power source of your monitor. Some monitors charge from the mains, while others use batteries or a dock. You should also check how long the charge lasts.
You can have two handsets on some monitors. One in the kitchen and one in your living room. What if you need to monitor multiple children? Although some systems can receive audio from multiple locations, there isn’t much choice. You can also buy two monitors. Make sure they don’t conflict.
Are you looking to soothe your baby?
Baby monitors are more than just a listening device. Many now offer additional functions that provide real value. Some have soothing sounds or lullabies, while others include nightlights. These can be a useful part of your baby’s bedtime routine and provide familiarity for you when you are away. You don’t have to disturb your baby by going into the nursery, as lullabies and nightlights can often be activated remotely from the parent unit.
Talkback is another useful function that you should be aware of. This allows you to transmit your voice via the mic from the parent unit back into the baby unit, so that baby can hear you. This can be used to let fractious babies know that you aren’t abandoning them. It’s great for communicating with your partner or your child walkie-talkie style.