What is a Baby Monitor?
A baby monitor lets you listen or see your child while they are in another room. You can monitor your baby and hear his or her crying, no matter where you are.
Modern models have a base station transmitter that is equipped with a mic/camera and for the nursery (called “baby unit”), and a portable speaker which you can carry around (called “parent unit”).
Which do you prefer, digital or analog?
Analogue or wireless audio monitors are usually available in a variety of formats. Analog monitors are more affordable, but may be subject to interference from other devices, such as wifi networks or cordless phones, which can cause poor sound quality.
They could also pose a privacy risk, since transmissions could be “tapped into” – by other baby monitor receivers near.
Although digital monitors are rapidly becoming more popular, they tend to be more costly. They can provide greater range signals (which is useful in larger homes), better privacy, clearer reception and less interference than other frequencies.
Digital monitors that emit electromagnetic radiation and operate with DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications Technology) technology may cause concern for some parents. Although there have not been any health issues for infants or young children, it is worth keeping your baby’s monitor’s baby unit at a minimum of 1 metre away from their heads.
Do you only want sound or visuals?
Parents love audio monitors because they can provide all the insight and support they need into their baby’s nighttime awakenings. However, video monitors have been growing in popularity.
These “baby cams” are made up of one or more cameras that stream video to an LCD-display receiver, often via a WiFi connection.
You can also use cables for receiving pictures on your TV. Other systems stream video to your smartphone or computer and allow you to capture footage.
You can use extra cameras to monitor twins. While video monitors tend to be more expensive than audio, they are still relatively affordable at PS150 and above.
Many have night vision via infrared LCDS. You can monitor your baby at night (most often they automatically switch to this mode). You can be sure that your video system uses an encrypted signal to ensure privacy.
You should think carefully about whether or not you need to see your baby every minute of the day. Do you really need to be worried all the time? Make sure your device is capable of playing sound and images. You may not be glued to it all the time.
Do you want movement alerts and crying?
The same way an audio monitor can let you know when your baby is uneasy, you can also purchase devices that track your baby’s breathing and movements. These devices are made by placing movement sensor pads underneath the cot mattress. Your baby will be notified if he or she stops moving for more than 20 seconds.
Many parents find movement sensors very reassuring. However, some parents find it too overwhelming. Keep in mind that false alarms can occur – for example, if your baby rolls over the sensor mat. Experts believe these and other monitors can give a false sense security. You should continue to check your baby’s health if you are worried. It is not known if baby monitors can prevent SIDS.
Take a look at the many alerts that baby monitors offer. Many baby monitors have LED lights that flash when your baby’s crying is detected. This allows you to hear the sound even if the volume is off. Others vibrate or beep to let you know when your battery is low. It’s important to decide which alerts you like and what might be annoying.
Temperature monitors are very useful. They can also sound an alarm when the nursery gets too hot/cold.
Which place will you use it?
Think about where you’ll use the monitor before you buy one. A long-range, digital monitor with a portable unit may be the best choice if you have a large house. For smaller homes, a simple model may be enough. Privacy can be a problem if you live in an apartment complex with multiple neighbors. A monitor that has digital encryption will offer privacy.
You might also consider whether your baby is asleep inside and you want to use the monitor while you are out in the garden. It’s also possible to use your monitor while you are on holiday or at grandma’s.
It’s the little things that make a difference. A belt clip for the parent device is handy if your running around from room to room. A way to notify you if your range has been exceeded is also helpful.
Check the way your monitor is powered. Some chargers use the mains or a dock (such as an iPod or mobile phone), while others use batteries. Others charge using both. Also, find out how long it takes to charge.
Extra handsets are available on some monitors. This is great if you need one to be permanently placed in the kitchen and another in the living area. You can also monitor multiple children at once with the extra handsets. While some systems can be used to receive audio from several locations, the options are limited. Another option is to purchase two monitors. However, be sure that the frequencies don’t clash.
Are you looking for a way to soothe your baby’s pain?
Baby monitors do more than simply serve as a listening device. Many have additional functions that are worth the money. Some monitors have soothing sounds and others can be used as nightlights. These can become an important part of your baby’s bedtime routine. They also provide comfort when you aren’t there. Many times, lullabies can be set remotely by the parent unit so that you don’t need to go in and disturb your baby.
Another useful function is ‘Talkback’. This means that your voice can be transmitted from the parent unit to the baby unit via a microphone. It can be used to communicate with fractious babies without having to constantly pop upstairs or wake them by entering the room. You can also use it to talk to your partner, walkie-talkie style or even your child as he or she grows older.