Are you wondering how to get some time for yourself in the evening? Would you like to use the balcony or the garden, but you are afraid that you won't hear your baby crying? Or maybe you just want to watch a movie or invite friends and do not know how to combine it with looking after your baby? You can use an electronic baby monitor, which will let you know that your baby is awake, but also allow you to look after them, check the temperature in his room, and even sing his favorite lullaby - all from a distance.
Baby monitor - what is it?
The baby monitor is a very useful device for all caring parents, thanks to which they will always know - no matter where they are - what is happening with their child. The baby monitor consists of two elements: a transmitter and a receiver. And the whole thing works like a monitoring system or a walkie-talkie. You leave the transmitter in the baby's room - its task is to record sound and sometimes image of your baby. The receiver you have with you - thanks to it you can hear and see what is happening in the baby's room.
Types of baby monitors - a division by signal types
All electronic baby monitors have the same basic task: to transmit sound, and sometimes images, from the baby's room to the device the parent is carrying. This is done, of course, wirelessly. There are baby monitors on the market that use two different transmission signals.
Older models use analogue radio technology. They work on the same principle as walkie-talkie or CB radio. Their advantage is good range, but their disadvantage can be interference from other analogue broadcasters, for example those using CB radio. Newer models, however, use different frequencies, so this problem is no longer likely to occur.
The second type of electronic baby monitors uses a digital signal, so you know that nothing will interfere with the signal and the sound will be much clearer. The disadvantage of these models, however, is the shorter range. You should also prepare yourself for a slightly higher price of these types of monitors. However, they give you a lot more possibilities. Especially when they function thanks to wi-fi. The receiver in such a situation can be any computer, tablet or smartphone. Thanks to the application you will be able not only to listen and watch what is happening with your child, but also to control the temperature of the room, move the camera and even talk to the little one.
Electronic baby monitor range
The range of the electronic baby monitor is one of the most important parameters of this device. You will be able to get as far away from your child as the receiver can be from the transmitter. When choosing a model, think about the purpose for which you are buying it. If you live in a small apartment and will be sitting in the room next to your child, you do not need a great range. However, if you want to go out on the balcony or into the garden, for example - then a better range will be essential.
It is generally accepted that analog baby monitors have better range than digital ones. This is true, but you will also find digital monitors on the market that use wi-fi. Such models will work wherever you have access to the Internet - for example, at work or while traveling. All thanks to a special application, which will connect your computer or smartphone to the transmitter in your baby's room. To make sure that no one unwanted will observe the child, the connection is encrypted.
The strength of the range is usually given by the manufacturer on the package. However, experts say that you should divide the declared value by 5. Why? Because the information from the manufacturer is a value that applies in the open. However, we are not likely to use the baby monitor in such conditions. On the other hand, each wall drastically reduces the range, so in home conditions it is far below the declared value.
With or without a camera - which electronic baby monitor should I choose?
You will find two types of electronic baby monitors on the market - with or without a camera. Which one is better? Of course, it all depends on individual needs. If you only want to hear when your baby cries because you are sleeping in the other part of the house, it may not make sense to invest in a much more expensive device with a camera. However, if you prefer to keep an eye on your baby, you should definitely choose a device with a camera - preferably one that actually gives you a preview of the situation in your baby's room. Unfortunately, you will find baby monitors on the market with a symbolic image function, the screen of which is only 2 inches long - it is as if you were trying to see details on a small post stamp. So be sure to pay attention to this parameter when deciding on a model with a display.
How to get good quality video and audio even at night?
An extremely useful feature is the ability to watch the baby even after dark. A camera that is not adapted to work in the dark may be completely non-functional when you want to watch your baby while sleeping at night. Remember that only some models are equipped with infrared which will make the image from a dark room clear and the child visible. Some baby monitors have the option to automatically turn on infrared at dusk.
Sound quality can also be an important consideration. And especially the option to adjust it. Some devices are so sensitive that they react to the slightest rustle, unnecessarily increasing the parents' alertness. It is therefore a good idea to adjust the sensitivity of the sound recording so that the transmitter catches only the relevant sounds.
Does the device allow for two-way communication?
Basic models of electronic baby monitors are oriented on one-way transmission: the transmitter is located by the child, and the parent has a receiver. However, on the market you will also find such devices that allow you to communicate both ways. Imagine that the child begins to cry, and you have to cover the entire floor. In order to calm the baby down a bit during the time it takes you to get there, you can use this feature to talk or sing to them. Chances are you won't even have to go into their room. The baby will get the sign that you are near and will fall asleep again.
What is the device powered by?
Electronic baby monitors can be powered in several ways, depending on the model. On the market you will find battery-powered, mains-powered, battery-operated monitors, but also those that combine several different power supply methods. The latter are by far the most functional option. They allow you to use the device both in a place without access to electricity and without worrying about battery replacement. This is especially important if you intend to use the monitor during your trips to the countryside or at least in your garden, where you do not have access to a power outlet.
An electronic baby monitor with a breathing monitor?
Some models of electronic baby monitors have an additional function of the baby's breathing monitor. It allows us to control whether the baby is breathing properly and also informs about any irregularities. The breathing monitor works by means of very sensitive sensory discs placed under the baby's mattress. They sense the breathing movements. The signal is transmitted to the baby monitor which informs the parents.
Is this a useful feature? Certainly - especially if you are concerned about your baby's breathing pattern. For example, if your child has a respiratory disease or was born prematurely. Such babies are at much greater risk of so-called sudden baby death even within the first year of life.
However, this device also has its drawbacks, or rather imperfections. It can unnecessarily arouse anxiety and excessive alertness in parents. Sensory discs sometimes have a tendency to read the baby's breathing incorrectly - because they can be too sensitive and not easy to place - and thus the monitor may unnecessarily raise the alarm. However, when you feel safer with such a device, it's worth considering buying one. An even better option is to purchase a separate, more accurate and certified breathing monitor, which gives you 100% assurance of a proper interpretation of baby’s breathing.
When is it worth buying an electronic baby monitor?
Is the electronic baby monitor a necessary gadget? Certainly not - you can easily manage without it. But many parents appreciate this device - it gives them a sense of security and control over the situation. And in some cases it works better than in others.
It is difficult to do without a monitor, for example, when your baby needs constant care or at least observation, when he or she suffers from certain illnesses (for example, respiratory diseases, in which case a model with a breathing monitor will come in handy) or is a premature infant, or has a tendency to cry in his or her sleep. Then the monitor, especially the one with a screen, will allow you to leave your baby's room without feeling that you have no control over what is happening in it.
A monitor will certainly be appreciated by people who live in larger houses. It may happen that the bedrooms of the parents and the child are on different floors, and the voice of a crying baby is inaudible. Then it is difficult to imagine functioning without such equipment. Similarly, if you are going to invite guests and you are afraid that while having a conversation you will not hear the sobbing baby.
Important features to look for when buying a baby monitor
On the market you will find very many models of electronic baby monitors, which will differ from each other in fundamental ways. Manufacturers outdo each other with new features and amenities. But are all of them actually necessary? What to pay attention to when looking for a good electronic baby monitor?
What is the point in buying a baby monitor, even a top-class one if you have nowhere to plug it in or if it suddenly turns off? It is worth investing in a baby monitor with a mixed power supply, which allows you to draw power from the mains and use a battery or rechargeable batteries. This will give you a wider range of applications. A very important feature is the battery indicator, so you will know if the batteries or rechargeable battery are running low.
Some devices can be disappointing in this regard, so make sure before you buy that the model you are considering will definitely meet your expectations. Another useful option is the range loss indicator, which lets you know that you are about to lose connection with the transmitter.
Image quality and monitor size
If you decide on a baby monitor with a preview, it is essential to pay attention to the image quality and monitor size. Unfortunately, some models provide a very poor image that is almost unreadable on a small screen. When buying a variant with a possibility to see the picture, choose a model with infrared, so you can watch the baby also at night. Another useful feature is the ability to move the camera remotely - it will come in handy if you use the baby monitor not only when the baby is sleeping.
Number of channels and frequencies
When deciding on an analog baby monitor, choose one that has multiple channels and transmission frequencies. This will allow you to choose the waves that will give the clearest sound. This will also allow you to select a channel that will not be overlapped by your neighbor's monitor signal.
Sound recording method
Some models allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the sound response, so the baby monitor will not alarm you about every, even the smallest murmur, but will only notify you when the baby wakes up or cries. While we are on the subject of sound, you may also want to consider the two-way transmission option, which will allow you to not only listen to what is going on in your baby's room, but also speak to your baby.