Baby monitors are a boon for busy parents. They help you keep an “ear” on your baby (and even an eye if it has a camera and screen feature!), enhancing safety and allowing parents to meet baby’s needs before his or her cries become loud and frantic. But which one should you choose? There are quite a few options these days. Here are some tips.
What Types Are There?
1. Analogue audio
Just like the first baby monitors, analogue audio monitors use FM radio signals to transfer information from receiver (which you carry with you) to transmitter (which stays next to baby). This is probably your least expensive option, but analogue audio monitors tend to pick up interference. Running a microwave, for instance, can disrupt the signal. These monitors may even pick up sounds from a neighbor’s monitor!
2. Digital signals
In order to deal with the interference problem, manufacturers developed baby monitors that use digital signals, which greatly minimizes interference. Digital monitors are generally more expensive than analogue audio ones.
3. How big?
Large monitors with multiple receivers are a good idea for a large home. Smaller homes or apartments can usually get away with less – a smaller monitor and one receiver.
4. Cues besides audio
Some monitors have flashing lights that are activated by baby’s sound. This is helpful if you are running water, down in the basement doing laundry, or running the vacuum cleaner. You may not hear your baby’s sounds, but the flashing lights will get your attention.
5. Viewing screen/video monitor
In this day and age, a baby monitor with a visual element fits right in with modern technology. These are perhaps the most expensive of the baby monitors, but those who have them say it helps greatly to keep an eye on baby in this way. If you want to keep an eye on baby at night, there are monitors available that have night vision.
6. Movement sensor monitors
For parents concerned about SIDS, these monitors can bring peace of mind. They alert parents when the baby stops moving for more than 20 seconds or so.
Other Factors to Take into Account
Here are some other things to consider as you get ready to buy your baby monitor.
* The size of your home and the placement of baby’s room should be considered. If you have a large home and baby’s room is upstairs, you may want more features (lights, video monitor, and audio, for example) to make up for the distance. If your home is a one-floor, ranch-style house and baby’s room is just a short hallway away, a simple audio monitor may work just fine.
* The frequency of your wireless network and/or cordless phone may interfere with your baby monitor. Make sure the frequencies of these devices are different.
* Expense, of course, is a consideration for many new parents. As you consider your needs, you can make an informed purchase and avoid overspending.