What To Look For When Buying A Baby Monitor

First of all, it seems congratulations are in order. We wish you all the best throughout your wondrous parenting journey, whether this is the only one planned or one of many! We’re glad you’re thinking of safety first and checking all angles whilst shopping for a baby monitor.

Shopping for a baby monitor isn’t like shopping for a gimmicky gadget that’s just there to impress or entertain. A baby monitor can mean the difference between getting a feverish baby to the doctor on time or forever wondering what you could have done differently. A faulty device or a device with an unreliable battery could mean life and death and that’s why we’re here to help you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a baby monitor.

Why would I need a baby monitor?

A decent baby monitor will allow you to safely put your child to crib in another room, so that you and your spouse can have a quiet chat without waking the baby and so that you can both get some well needed rest afterwards. Furthermore, a functional, reliable baby monitor will allow you to go about your daily chores or get busy in your home office, safe in the knowledge that your child is sound asleep in an adjoining room.

Why would I need help?

Purchasing a baby monitor is not as simple as it was back in, say, 1995 when there was nothing more than a basic audio transmitter and receiver with crackly sound quality at best. Today’s audio monitors face an onslaught of interference from various in-home wireless systems and without correct knowledge and an informed buy, you could end up with a baby monitor that doesn’t work for you, due to wifi signal interference, for example.

Above and beyond audio-only baby monitors, the norm has become video based baby monitoring. The transmitter now registers video and audio data, often with detectors that display various alarms with different movements and sounds from the baby. You can not only hear that your baby is asleep but you can watch the video feed on your receiver and be 100% assured that there’s nothing wrong with the little one.

Features to look for in an audio baby monitor

1. DECT Capability

This stands for Digital Enhanced Cordless Communications and what it does is ensure a crisp, clear sound quality, as opposed to the crackly quality on analog devices. Another important benefit of DECT devices is that they guarantee that your monitoring won’t be compromised by interference from other cordless device signals in your area, such as wifi, mobile phone and other monitors. Also, DECT prevents eavesdropping by third parties. The Philips Event DECT is a good example of such a baby monitor.

2. Sound Activated Lights/Vibration

This is an added safety measure to ensure that even if the vacuum cleaner is making a racket, you’ll still be alerted by light or vibration that your baby is crying. Also, any device that has a mute button should also have this feature, in case of a device being muted accidentally.

3. Talk Back Feature

What this means is that you’ll be able to gently reassure your baby that you’re on your way to him if he wakes up in the night. The voice of a parent is one of the most reassuring things you can offer a child in distress and when your device has this feature, you might not even need to go all the way to baby’s room to get him/her back to sleep. The VTech Safe & Sound is a good example of a baby monitor with this feature.

4. Noticeable battery level / connection indicator

By this we mean a device that will audibly or at least noticeably alert you in the event of a connection loss between your device and baby’s, as well as when battery levels are getting dangerously low.

5. Rechargeable Batteries

Anything short of rechargeable is 100% uneconomical and inadequate.

6. Adequate battery life

You want a device that accommodates batteries with at least a 12 hour capacity, as charging any more than once per day can become very inconvenient.

Features to look for in a video baby monitor or optical baby monitor

1. Digital Security

An analog signal can be intercepted and eavesdropped on by a third party and the last thing you need when monitoring your child is an added threat from the world outside. Make sure that you chose a digital video baby monitor with a secure, encrypted signal to keep your household 100% safe. The Levana Keera is a good example of a 100% safe and secure baby monitor device. Words to look for are ‘wireless, digital, DECT, encrypted, secure and wifi.’

2. Receiver Or Parent Unit Specs And Options

Make sure that the video receiver is a size that’s not only manageable for you and workably portable but also allows you to see your baby’s features and expressions clearly. Some baby monitoring devices, like the iBaby Monitor, allow you to hook up to Android or Apple devices so that you can have your baby monitor and phone or baby monitor and PC all in one. This is a massive convenience, especially if you’re someone who like’s to keep your iPad of smartphone close to hand as it will save you having to carry around both devices.

3. Remote Video Zoom, Tilt Or Pan Capacity

What this means is that you’ll be able to remotely tilt or pan the video camera so that it can see more of baby’s surroundings. This may come in very useful if you’ve got a slobbery dog or a grumpy cat roaming the house who might want to bother baby or if you have a rambunctious baby that’s on the move around his crib or play pen. The zoom feature will allow you to double check a baby’s breath rate or facial expressions for added peace of mind.

4. Night Vision

While some parents opt to leave a light on at all times in baby’s room, some prefer to accustom baby to the darker hours as this might not only end up having a soothing effect but also prevents fear of the dark later in life. The problem is that a baby video monitor will do you no good in the dark, without infrared or night vision capacity. The Motorola MBP36S is a fine example of a monitor with useful infrared night vision capacity.

5. Temperature Monitoring

A device with temperature monitoring functions will alert you to temperature fluctuations in baby’s bedroom. This is useful if you’ve a heater plugged in, you don’t want the room to get too hot…it will also keep you informed of early hour temperature drops in baby’s room which could lead to a nasty cold if not prevented.

6. Battery Life

It’s essential that your device’s battery life is convenient for you and not an added source of stress. While some may not be opposed to a recharge every six hours, this might not be an option for you. It’s safest to ensure that your chosen baby monitor has an extended battery life of between 12 and 48 hours, as well as noticeable indicators that will alert you when the battery is in need of a recharge.

7. Two Way Feed

Just like an audio-only baby monitor, a video monitor should provide a two way audio feed that will allow you to sooth and coddle your little one with your voice when he/she wakes up and you’re not physically there. There’s nothing as soothing as a parent’s gentle reassurance and as a new parent, every extra moment of bonding is a blessing.

8. Added Features, Like Expandability

Above and beyond the previously mentioned features, it’s always advisable that you carefully research the extra features while looking for a baby monitor. Some features, like expandability, can be essential benefits that will allow you to co-ordinate baby monitoring with your hectic lifestyle.

Expandability means that you’ll be able to install extra cameras, sold separately, in various rooms so that you needn’t go through he motion of placing and replacing the video camera in-between day and night monitoring. Having to lug the same camera from room to room is not only tedious but can result in incorrect or hasty placement that could pose a risk to your child.

Other extra features include in-device night lights, lullaby playlists, still or video image capture


A final tip: placement of your baby monitor is of utmost importance, ensure that you are within auditory or video range. Make sure that panning devices are correctly placed to take in the full scope of the room, should this be required. Lastly, always make sure that your baby has no access to small parts or cables attached to your devices.rrectly placed to take in the full scope of the room, should this be required. Lastly, always make sure that your baby has no access to small parts or cables attached to your devices.

So, as you can see, baby monitors have come a long way in recent years and, like our smart phones or GPS systems, they can include a multitude of features and functions that need to be grasped and understood in order for us to enjoy their full benefit. Like all advanced technologies, it’s important that you know what to look for whilst shopping. We trust that this has been an informative article for you and we wish you a safe and educated journey, shopping for your baby monitor and using it!