Whether you are a first time parent or an old hand at parenting, chances are you feel more comfortable using a baby monitor. There’s just something about the peace of mind you have knowing that you are still keeping an eye or ear out for your baby, even when you’re not in the same room with them.
Before just heading out to your local retailer of juvenile products, or hitting an online retailer and purchasing a baby monitor on a whim, it’s a good idea to take some time to discover what options are available to you. We’ve already spent some time detailing the different types of baby monitors that are available on the market, but let’s talk about some of the different features and options that are available as well.
Baby Monitor Sound and Motion Sensors
While the purpose of the baby monitor is to be alerted to the sound and movement that your child might make, it’s probably not necessary to hear every a little sound, or be aware of every little movement. Some audio/video monitors come with a feature that allows you to filter out sounds and motion that are normal. The only thing that should be transmitted is unusual motion, or the sound of your baby crying. The added benefit of this feature is that it will save your battery life.
The transmitter unit that resides in the baby’s room will have either an electrical cord or a non rechargeable battery, while the receivers have an electrical cord or a rechargeable battery. However, it’s good to do your research on specific models as some of them are known to go through batteries quite quickly.
Extra Receivers for the Baby Monitor
Several different models of baby monitors are expandable. This means that you can add more than one receiver to the transmitter, which is a great feature. Both parents — or more than one caregiver — have the ability to monitor the children via their own receiver. Or one person can use both receivers, perhaps leaving one in the bedroom and keeping the other with them throughout the day.
Select models will allow you to add up to four cameras, which is a great feature. If you have more than one child, or if you want to monitor an entire room instead of just one spot within a room, adding extra cameras will make this possible.
Visual or Vibrating Alerts
Some baby monitors will have an option on the receiver which will allow you to set it to vibrate when the baby makes a sound. Others will have light indicators that come on, and depending on the model, the louder the baby gets the brighter the light gets, or the more lights light up. This is a great option if you are typically somewhere that’s very noisy and would not be able to hear the receiver.
Handheld Audio/Video Receiver
While audio baby monitors are still the most popular, audio/video models are gaining in popularity. With these the handheld unit has an LCD video screen, allowing you to watch your baby. You’ll find different features, as some will allow you to adjust the brightness of the screen, and some may be considerably larger than others.
Baby Monitor Temperature Sensors
A common feature in the more high end baby monitors is a temperature sensor that monitors the temperature in the baby’s room. The ideal temperature is said to be between 68 and 72°F, and in most cases the sensor can be adjusted to your desired temperature.
Often times, you’ll find that there’s a lot of static or interference with your baby monitor. And typically this is because it might be running on the same frequency band is something else that’s close by, for example, your cordless phone. The easiest way around this is to purchase a baby monitor that uses a different frequency from your cordless phone, which is often 2.4 GHz. Several baby monitor manufacturers are now making an effort to fix this issue by using a less commonly used frequency band, at 1.9 GHz. And it’s not just your phone that could be an issue; it could be a variety of different electronic devices you use in your home, or even something that your neighbor is using. At the very least you should get a monitor that has dual channel capability.
If you’ve decided you want to go with an audio/video monitor, you might want to think about getting one with infrared night vision. This will give you the ability to be able to see your baby via the monitor, even when they are in a dark room. Another feature that’s sometimes found on audio monitors is the addition of a nightlight on the transmitter that’s in the baby’s room that you can activate from the receiver.
This feature allows you to communicate with your child by means of the receiver, or parent’s unit. So not only can you hear them, you can sooth them if necessary. Some models may also have a feature that lets you activate music or sounds of nature from the remote unit, again allowing you to soothe your child remotely if necessary.
Depending on how technically inclined you are, you might want to look for a baby monitor that allows you to connect it to your television or DVD recorder. Basically, you turn your television into a monitor. And if your TV has picture in picture capability, you can watch your program and watch your baby at the same time.
There are a few baby monitors on the market that include a sensor pad that goes underneath the mattress of your baby’s crib or bassinet. The purpose of this pad is to monitor movement of the child and it will send out an alert if your baby stops breathing or moving.
Out of Range Indicator
All baby monitors have a specific range between the unit that transmits from the baby’s room to the remote receiver. Most manufacturers typically will tell you what the maximum range is in a straight, open line, as well as the range through walls and floors. But having an indicator that lets you know when you’ve gone beyond that range is a great idea.
Low Battery Indicator
Make sure you choose a monitor that has some sort of indicator to let you know if your battery has drained, or is running low.