Baby Monitors - A Guide

March 26, 2015
Baby Monitors - A Guide

Choosing a baby monitor is not always an easy decision, especially with so many models on the baby safety market! A baby monitor gives you as a parent peace of mind while your baby rests.

We know there seems to be so many different monitors, let alone all the different monitor features! That's why we have tried to demystify some of these different features so you can work out what will work best for you and your family.

To begin, it’s important to remember, there is no right or wrong choice when choosing a monitor. It’s entirely up to you and your preferences.

A great way to start is to ask yourself - what’s most important to me? Do you want to hear the baby, see the baby or know that the baby is breathing? Thinking about questions like these will allow you to select a monitor that has features that you really want.

We have put together some of the key types and features of baby monitors. Work your way through each of these and turn back to your answer to the “what is most important to you?” question. This will assist in the selection of the best monitor for you.

Types of Monitors

  • Sound Baby Monitors - Sound monitors allow you to hear the baby gurgle, sing and cry. The parent's unit will allow you to carry the monitor around the house or you can leave the unit plugged in by your bed.

  • Movement monitor - Movement monitors generally have sensor pads which go underneath the mattress to sense your baby’s movements. The monitor will sound an alert if no movement is detected after a certain period of time. This time will vary between different brands and models, make sure you check each unit for specific instructions. There is also a mobile movement monitor that clips easily onto your baby’s nappy.

  • Breathing Monitor - Breathing monitors alert parents audibly and visually should your child's breathing movements fall below a certain rate or not be detected.

  • Video monitors - Video monitors enable you to see your baby on a monitor screen. Ensure when choosing your video monitor that the unit captures the full area of the room you wish to see and that the screen is also large enough to see your baby. Video monitors are great for twins or keeping a watchful eye on multiple children. Also consider if the camera has Day & night Vision. Keep in mind that it is difficult to determine if the baby is breathing just by looking at a sleeping baby.

  • Sound and movement monitor - Sound and movement monitors have the benefit of hearing and knowing if your baby is breathing.

  • Sound, movement and video monitors - Sound movement and video baby monitors cover all three benefits a baby monitor has, hearing, knowing and seeing that your baby is breathing. If purchasing a sound, movement & video monitor, can they be used independently of each other?

Monitor features

  • Analogue or digital? - Analogue baby monitors are less expensive but the sound quality is usually not as good. Analogue signals are also transmitted as radio waves, which means anyone in range can listen to the signal. Digital baby monitors convert sounds into data making it almost impossible for other people to eavesdrop.

  • Is it battery and mains operated? - Having a battery operated monitor allows you to either plug the monitor into the main control or use the battery. This makes the unit more portable and handy if you are concerned moving around the house or outside.

  • Dual Channels - Having a multiple choice of channels reduces the interference your monitor may pick up and improved reception.

  • Low-battery indicator - Make sure you check if your monitor will warn you if the battery runs low. Some baby monitors will have an automatic battery back-up feature which is useful in areas where power failure is common and also if you forget to charge the monitor.

  • Sound activated light - This feature is great for when noise is an issue (such as vacuuming or watching tv) and will light up when noise or movement is detected.

  • Volume control - Volume control will check to ensure that the monitor is not too loud, even at the lowest setting.

  • Parent talk back - This baby monitor feature allows you to talk or sing to your baby from another room.

  • Privacy guaranteed - When picking your monitor look to see the monitor has DECT technology (that’s digitally enhanced cordless communications). This encrypts the audio signals between the transmitter and the receiver. Also for video monitors look for “digital lock” to encrypt the images as you don’t want to give people a peek into your baby’s room.

Some things to keep in mind

  • Be aware that monitors come with other great feature such as a built in night light, room temperature and lullabies. Make sure you read all the features which are specific to different models and makes before you buy.

  • Baby monitors are extremely useful, however they aren’t without faults. Concrete walls have been known to block signals as well as cordless phones and wireless systems which can also interfere with reception. Your receiver might be able to pick up your neighbours monitor and vice versa.

  • Always make sure before purchasing your monitor that you ask the store’s policy on returns in case you experience any interference or other issues.

  • Keep in mind home safety issues. If the baby monitor has a cord, make sure it’s well out of your baby’s reach and never place a baby monitor in or around water.

  • Make sure you check the SIDS website for tips on how to create a safe sleep environment for your child.

**Please note: there is no evidence to prove a breathing monitor can save a baby’s life in the case of SIDS. What it may do is alert the parent to the issue so action can be taken. A monitor with the breathing sensor that detects if the heart rate has dropped below a certain point as compared with dropped to zero may give parents the opportunity to assist their baby.

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