Basically, a baby monitor is a device that monitors the activities of the baby while you are otherwise occupied. There are audio and audio-visual baby monitors as well as specialized ones that can even sense the body movements of the baby. These baby monitors are available in many brands and models, but it is advisable to buy only the best quality you can afford to ensure accuracy and reliability. There are certain points that you must keep in mind before choosing a baby monitor.
Look for the following features before buying the baby monitor:
1) There are two types of baby monitors, wireless and plug-in. It is recommended that you buy the wireless one, as this one ensures mobility and freedom to use outside of the house. If you buy the wireless baby monitor, you get more flexibility and you are not stuck to only one location. Also, you can take it out with you in the range specified and monitor the activities of your baby while finishing your other chores.
2) Make sure the size of the baby monitor that you buy is not too large. Get a smaller size so that it can be easily clipped or tied to your belt. The portable baby monitors usually come with belt-clips. Size does not factor in much when the goal is to have a clear picture when buying a baby monitor that includes video. These audio-visual baby monitors are usually more bulky.
3) Instead of getting an audio-only baby monitor, it is better to go for a baby monitor with a camera, so you can actually visualize your baby’s activities. These come either black & white or color (usually color costs more). Picture quality varies, especially in low-light conditions. Since your baby is probably going to be sleeping in a darkened room, check that the low-light picture quality is sufficient.
4) Make sure that the microphone that is attached to the camera is ultra sensitive so that you can even hear a pin drop. This is of utmost importance, even more so than the quality of the picture display.
5) Check whether the monitor has other accessories like an alarm clock to remind you of the baby’s feeding times.
6) It is important that your baby monitor has a good range so that you will be able to travel a longer distance and yet keep a check on the activities of your baby.
7) Rechargeable batteries are a must. It’s best if the baby monitor has a low battery indicator.
8) Buy a baby monitor with multiple channels so you can choose an interference-free channel to transmit on. If your neighbor has a baby monitor, buy a brand that is different from his to ensure that the signals don’t get mixed up. Depending on the frequency of other household appliances such as cordless phones and wireless internet routers, you may need to buy a baby monitor that operates in the frequency zone different from your phone or router.
9) Some more expensive models include motion sensors that can detect if the baby has stopped moving for a period of time in order to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). For the ultimate peace of mind, get a baby monitor with this feature.
9) Last but not least, check the UL (Underwriters Labs) mark before buying. This ensures UL evaluation for safety.
Apart from these features, you should also utilize recommendations on the performance of the baby monitor from published reports and user comments. This is more important than going by the brand name since some manufacturers produce different models that perform better than others in their product line. Do not focus solely on the cost. Keep in mind the quality. Generally, the baby monitors will start from about 30 to 40 dollars and can go up to 150 dollars or more.
Do yourself a favor and buy the best quality baby monitor you can with the most features.