How to Choose a Baby Monitor

One of the most common statements you’ll hear from parents of small babies or toddlers is that looking after a young child requires “eyes in the back of your head”. Just turn your back for a second and you’ll see just how much mischief a tiny person can get up to in such a short time span.

Parents quickly start calculating possible dangers or cheekiness based on noise levels: if their babies are loudly playing and rattling their toys, they’re usually occupied and keeping out of harm’s way. It’s when things go quiet that parents start fretting – a silent kiddie corner is never a good sign.

During the first few months of a baby’s life, the latter scenario can be extremely nerve-wracking – especially for mothers, whose minds, bodies and hormones respond to every little stir, cry, squawk or sleepy gurgle coming from inside the cot.

When sharing your bedroom with your baby, this can further increase sleep deprivation, seeing as the proximity will only intensify a mother’s alertness to any kind of sound or movement.

Getting your baby to sleep in their own room may be the ideal choice – both for a healthy sleeping routine and a well-rested mother – but it can seem daunting. How will you know your baby is sleeping safely and soundly without hearing their little grunts, snores and murmurs?

The best option is to invest in a baby monitor that will allow you to tune in with your child from anywhere inside the house, to ensure they are safe and happy. Here’s how to choose a quality baby monitor that will get you through the most challenging days and nights.

Audio Monitors

The first audio baby monitor was known as the Zenith Radio Nurse and hit the markets all the way back in 1937. Since then, baby monitors have steadily improved and have helped to facilitate the lives of many parents around the world.

Audio monitors are made up of two components: the base unit which is set up in your child’s room and the receiver. The receiver likens a walkie-talkie, much like the ones we used to play with as children.

It is lightweight and can easily be kept in your pocket or clipped on to the side of your belt, allowing you to move around your home and go about your chores without ever losing touch with the happenings in your baby’s bed.

The strictly audio variety of baby monitors detect any sound or movement coming from your child and alert you instantly.

 Instead of having to stop what you’re doing and check on your child every ten minutes just to find they were happily gurgling themselves to sleep, you can use the audio monitor to distinguish whether it’s time for you to check in or you’re good to continue doing whatever you were doing.

If you’re going to opt for an audio monitor, ensure that it comes with a frequency of 900 MHz or higher for great clarity and limited interference.

One with a sound-activated light is also advisable – it will alert you of any noise or movement even when you’re lounging around with your headphones on.

Video Monitors

If you already know that an audio baby monitor won’t suffice in keeping you reassured and relaxed, video monitors – also known as baby cams – are a great choice.

As is the case with the audio monitor, the baby cam features two components: the base unit and the receiver. The difference here is, that the receiver is equipped with an LCD screen that features infrared LEDs, allowing you to see your baby even in the middle of the night.

There are many baby cams available on the market today, some with the basic features needed to get through the night calmly, others with a whole array of innovative extras such as built-in lullabies and nightlights.

As with most gadgets today, many video baby monitors can be connected to your smartphone, tablet or computer via Wi-Fi. This means you could potentially ditch your receiver and monitor your child with the use of your smartphone only – less clutter!

One great advantage of a baby video monitor is the two-way talkback option which allows you to communicate with your child through the receiver. It is also a great choice for parents with more than one child, as you can change the baby’s nappy in one room while keeping track of the toddler in another room.

Those relying on nanny’s and babysitters to get their kids through the day may also be prone to the baby video monitor. Many models allow for images and videos to be saved directly to the hard drive, making it possible for parents to keep an eye on their childminders.

Smart Wi-Fi Video Monitors

For a real high-tech baby monitoring solution, opt for a smart Wi-Fi video monitor that can help you track much more than just your child’s sleep and motions. It will allow you to monitor your baby directly from your smartphone or tablet via an app.

There are many reasons parents today are discarding the conventional baby monitors in favour of apps to run on their phones or tablets. For one, there is no limit on the range – as long as you have a good Wi-Fi signal, you can “connect” with your baby at any time from any place.

This is especially attractive for parents who like to check in with their baby while they’re still stuck at work or to say goodnight when yoga lesson’s run past the child’s bedtime.

Some of these high-tech smart Wi-Fi baby video monitors can track your child’s sleeping patterns and breathing by monitoring the rise and fall of their chest, as well as the room’s temperature and humidity.

Another important feature that comes with many smart monitors, is a sock or other garment that measures the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels and raises immediate alarm should they fall outside the norm. This can be a real mind-easer, especially for new parents.

Making an Informed Choice Based on Your Needs

Prior to making your decision as to which type of baby monitor to buy, consider your needs. Do you live in a small apartment or a large house? Will video monitoring add to or decrease your anxiety? Do you have a good Wi-Fi connection?

Think about these factors before you make the purchase to ensure you are making the right choice for you and your child.