How To Choose A Baby Monitor

How To Choose A Baby Monitor

Parents fall under two primary ideologies with regards to monitors: those that consider baby monitors as an essential bit of baby gear and those who can’t see any reason to own one.

The objective of a baby monitor is to let you listen to your baby crying if you are in another area of the home or in the backyard. It can be a helpful gadget to own if you are worried that you won’t hear your baby’s cries. Several new parents, however, may become preoccupied with the supposed importance of their monitor, maintaining a close watch on it and listening out for each and every snuffle and grunt as confirmation that their baby is still breathing. But monitors are not safety devices and, although you can get devices that monitor breathing, healthy babies do not need to be monitored in this way. A monitor needs to be viewed as a tool for parents’ convenience.

How To Choose A Baby MonitorAs part of the baby-merchandise buying bonanza that potential parents often feel pressurized to take part in, monitors have attained a degree of ‘must-have’ status. However if you’re able to hear your baby crying when you’re in the home or apartment, you do not need one. Keeping doors open is a less expensive way of ensuring you are able to hear your baby. Addititionally there is an argument that monitors may encourage parents to over-pamper: babies will frequently cry and fuss for a short while then settle themselves back to sleep, but if parents are hurrying to soothe their baby at the merest whimper, this might contribute towards long term sleeping difficulties (even though some monitors can be set in order that only the real cries are transmitted — a useful alternative as soon as stressed parents are more relaxed).

Nevertheless, a lot of parents do find monitors to be really helpful. Even if you find its not necessary to make use of one every day, they can have useful periodic uses — for instance, should you be having friends round for a drink and a chat and you want to know above the din that the infant is settled, or if you want to carry out some work in the backyard and you’re out of earshot, a portable monitor (some have to be connected to a socket and are not portable) enables you to monitor your baby. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, a monitor — particularly one with a visual display will have clear benefits.


  • Please remember everything you say in your baby’s room while the monitor is turned on might be picked up by your nearby neighbours by way of their own monitors.
  • Before selecting a monitor you have to decide how valuable it might be, considering the layout of your home and your normal everyday activities. You will likely have a better idea concerning this if you wait until after the birth before you purchase.

Types of monitor

All monitors are made of two units. You keep one unit with you or near you and the other next to the baby. The device alongside the baby transmits to your unit, via radio waves (you will normally have a choice of two channels in order to switch if you are getting interference on one), any sounds he or she makes. The typical working range is 100 metres. Most can be either mains or battery operated; some have rechargeable batteries. Some models need to be plugged into a socket and have no battery-power facility.

Mains-powered monitors

  • These can be connected to a socket in any room but can’t be used with batteries.
  • They are the simplest kind of monitor.


  • The lowest priced choice (the Tomy Babylink model is available from Mothercare)
  • ideal for parents who will not be moving around the home much while the monitor is on, or if they are only likely to be using the monitor at night.


  • Not portable so less versatile.

Portable, dual-powered monitors

These run on either the mains or batteries, therefore the parent unit may be transported around with you when on battery power — a few have a belt clip so you, do not need to hold it. The more costly versions in this class have rechargeable batteries.


  • Helpful for parents who will be busying themselves about the house or garden while the baby is sleeping
  • rechargeable models are easy to recharge and save you worrying about batteries running out.


  • More expensive than mains-powered models (expect to pay $30-50)
  • you may find you don’t use the portable facility enough to justify the extra expense if you regularly run a non-rechargeable model on batteries, you could find the extra cost of batteries a burden.

Extra features

The more you invest in your monitor, the more advanced the characteristics will tend to be. A few of these have greater potential use than others. They include the following.

Visual light display — this is among the more valuable specs. It enables you to switch off the sound, and a sound-activated multi-light display panel shows whether your baby is crying. The louder your baby cries, the more lights are illuminated. Should you not wish to hear your baby’s every snuffle when you are seated to relax, a light display could be handy. It may be useful in a situation when, for instance, you have friends round or are having a meeting with somebody at home and you don’t want your baby’s fussing to disrupt things.

Nightlight on baby unit — this gives the region around the unit a soft glow, which can be of comfort for your baby and can help you to see him or her much better in a dim room. If you have this feature on your monitor you are not likely to need a separate nightlight too; nevertheless, depending on the power of the light, it might be too soft to be of specific use.

Volume warning — a few models will vibrate to warn you if you have the volume on your unit too low

Temperature display — a temperature sensor on the baby unit tells you the temperature of the room. In case you are concerned about manipulating the temperature in your baby’s room, however, you can purchase an inexpensive nursery thermometer (for about $3) as opposed to selecting a monitor for this extra feature. Remember, though, that your baby’s temperature is not being monitored — an easy way of examining whether or not your baby is too hot or cold is by feeling his or her stomach.

Lullaby trigger — a soothing lullaby is automatically triggered in case your baby stirs. The effectiveness of this is determined by the individual baby and has the possibility to be more annoying than soothing.

Out-of-range alarm — if you get preoccupied and stroll to the end of the backyard which means you are out of range, an alarm sounds. This might be helpful as a way of letting you evaluate how far down the garden you can go, but it’s difficult to see how it would be useful again after you have found this out (unless you are particularly absent-minded).

Multi-channel options — two channels ought to be sufficient for most people, but if you reside in a busy, built-up region with a lot of other parents with monitors in close proximity, creating the probability of regular interference, the option of additional channels could be useful.

Digital technology — a few designs include microprocessors developed to make sure that the only nursery sounds it is possible to listen to are the ones from your own nursery, not anyone else’s. However, this is not going to avoid the transmissions from your own monitor being acquired by someone else.

Two-way talk-back — you can use the parent’s unit to speak to your baby. What this means is you can make soothing noises to your baby if he or she begins to awaken and (most likely of greater use) you can talk to an older child who has trouble settling down at bedtime.

Long range — a small number of monitors transmit beyond the typical 100 metres (one model transmits up to 400 metres). Even though this may be a good function theoretically, in practice it is not such a good idea to be this distant from your baby.

Breathing and movement monitors

A small number of monitors are made to check for breathing and movement in addition to sound. A sensor pad is positioned beneath the bed mattress to evaluate these signs of life. Monitors such as this aren’t considered by everybody to be a good option. The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (SIDS) says that healthy babies don’t have to be monitored like this and that there is absolutely no proof this sort of monitoring can reduce cot death.

An alarm sounds when there is no motion detected for 15-20 seconds, but you can find circumstances when a baby might cease breathing but nonetheless be moving: if he or she is choking, for instance. In case a baby does cease breathing and the alarm sounds, parents or carers will have to know resuscitation methods (a video on this may be included with the monitor). Addititionally there is an argument that monitors such as these may feed parents’ insecurities regarding cot death and make putting a healthy baby to sleep an needlessly nervous occasion. A few versions even have highly emotive names — as an example, the Angelcare’ monitor from Safety 1st, that has an unusual design like an angel complete with halo. In case you are concerned about cot death, you need to confer with your physician or health visitor first instead of making a beeline for one of these monitors.

Video monitors

You can view your baby’s every move ‘live’ on the tv set. These kinds of monitors possess a little digital camera which you position to look at your baby. You can usually set them to an automatic mode so, should you be watching tv and your baby starts to cry, your TV viewing is disrupted in order to see your baby and assess whether you have to attend to him.

The Livecam TeddyCam, is a video monitor ‘disguised’ inside a furry teddy. The bear includes a small camera built into its nose along with a microphone beneath its chin. The image and quality of sound are acceptable however, you really need a nightlight glowing in a darkened bedroom to see the best picture. The teddy needs to be placed out of reach of your child because it is not a toy (it sheds its fur, for example). Although the Teddycam functions perfectly well, you have to question ‘what’s the point?’, considering the fact that a child can’t play with it, and other companies do not see a need to conceal comparable products.

The digital camera includes a wide-angled lens and will transmit images in the dark. Images are in monochrome. At $100-plus, such monitors are most surely at the high end end of the market. Should you choose to purchase one, they have the potential to be more useful down the road when you may have to monitor a mischievous toddler or more mature kid.