Baby monitors – the miracle gadget for busy moms everywhere! Modern moms now have so much freedom - you no longer have to worry about leaving baby alone in another room while you get on with lots of other things.
But what exactly is a baby monitor? Well – simply – it’s an audio (and now visual) transmission system. Audio monitors work via radio waves. A unit located near the baby picks up the noises that junior makes and transmits it to a receiver device located near mom (or dad). Of course, in these hi-tec times, many modern monitors are much more sophisticated than this; many have motion activated lights, so that movement can still be detected even when the sound is turned down. Some monitors are 2-way and of course, some are camera monitors, so you can see your baby as well as hear him/her.
There are lots of different types of monitors on the market, so how do you make a choice when buying? Here are some great tips:
1. Wireless every time: the cheapest monitors are plug-in ones, but – unless you plan to spend all of your time away from the baby in one place - its best to buy a wireless monitor, so that you have much greater flexibility. Wireless monitors are battery operated with plug-in adapters or re-chargeable batteries. Check that there is a low-battery indicator and, if it’s re-chargeable, check that the monitor can still be used whilst re-charging.
2. Portability: for even greater flexibility, look for a monitor with clips for attaching the receiver to your clothing.
3. Transmission range: always take the size of your home into account. Some monitors have a range of up to 500 meters, but others have a much more limited range, or have difficulty transmitting though concrete walls.
4. Number of channels: try to get a monitor with more than one channel. Monitors – especially those with long ranges - run the risk of picking up signals from cellular phones, cordless phones and neighboring monitors. Also be careful of wireless internet routers. Being able to switch to another channel will remedy these problems.
5. One-way or two-way system: a two-way monitor allows your child to hear you as well, providing greater reassurance for your baby.
6. Video: camera monitors are considerably more expensive than basic audio monitors, but make some parents feel much more comfortable about being in a separate room. You can see you baby as well as hear every movement. Some camera monitors work in color and some have infra-red technology to work in darkened rooms. However, the important thing is to always make sure that the microphone attached to the camera is ultra sensitive so that you can even hear a pin drop. This is much more important than the quality of the picture display.
7. Motion sensors: these provide ultimate peace of mind – they can detect if the baby has stopped moving for a period of time in order to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
8. UL mark: the final check – always make sure the unit has the UL (Underwriters Labs Inc) safety evaluation.
Follow these tips when selecting a baby monitor and you can’t go too far wrong. One final tip: remember that there is nothing more important in the world than the safety of your child. A baby monitor is a wonderful aid, but it is not a substitute for proper supervision, so always make sure you can get to your baby immediately if required.
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