If you’re like most parents, you’ll rely on a baby monitor to make sure you can respond as soon as your baby needs you. But with so many diverse options on the market today, it’s hard to know what features are really important to parents.
Baby monitors range in price from around $20 to more than $300 for top-of-the-line monitoring systems. Basic models let you simply hear the sounds your baby makes via portable receiver. The most expensive models can track the temperature in your baby’s room or send an alert if baby hasn’t moved within a certain time period.
Before deciding how much money to spend on a baby monitor, consider the options available on the market.
Analog and digital monitors
If you value your privacy, you’ll probably want to opt for a digital monitor. Analog models are less expensive, but they produce poor sound quality and, since they use radio waves to transmit the signal, anyone can listen to what’s going on in your house. With digital models, eavesdropping is basically impossible because they work by converting sound to data.
Audio and video monitors
Think about what will give you the most peace of mind. Will you be assured that your baby is sleeping soundly if you hear his breathing on the monitor, or do you need to lay eyes on him to put you at ease? While audio systems are less expensive and take up less space, video monitors give you the most access to your baby when you’re in a different part of your home.
Video systems use a camera to transmit a signal to a receiver equipped with a screen where you can see what your baby is doing. Some video models will allow you to transmit the signal to your television, tablet or computer. Available options include night vision and cameras that pan and zoom.
Most basic monitors use 49 megahertz. For a longer range, use a model that uses 900 megahertz band, but know that these might run into interference from older model cordless phones. Because of the interference issues, some baby monitors changed to 2.4 gigahertz band. Unfortunately, so did the cordless phone companies. Now, both phones and wireless internet systems use 2.4 gigahertz, so interference can still be a problem regardless of the model you select.
Some models come equipped with features that make them easier for you to use. A low- battery light lets you know when the receiver is low on juice. Sound activated lights on receivers let you know your baby is crying or whimpering even if you’re doing something noisy like vacuuming or running on a treadmill.
If you have a large home, you might consider a model with multiple receivers. That way, you can put one in your bedroom and another in the downstairs den. Also think about the size of the receiver. If you plan to take the receiver with you while you’re working in the garden, you don’t want to lug around a large piece of equipment.
A baby monitor will give you peace of mind that your baby is safe and comfortable while you’re doing things in another part of the house. Be sure to consider all available options before selecting a model that will work best for your needs.