How To Choose the Right Baby Monitor for Your Family

Eli Daccach

Posted on February 27 2018

Baby monitor manufacturers expect the industry to grow to over $1 billion by 2024. While not quite a commodity, these devices are now more common than ever.

The devices come with a variety of features made by several manufacturers. How do you begin to choose which one is right for your family?

After all, these monitors are intended to help ensure additional safety to your household.

To make sense of the technology involved with baby monitors and to find one that works for you, see below.

Overview

The two main types of monitors are audio and video/audio.

When the term "monitor" is used, it is referring to both a transmitter and one or more receivers.

For pricing, it can range from $20 to $175 for an audio monitor. The audio/video monitors can sell for as much as $300.

Some of the more expensive models include features like high-def color and vibration modes that allow you to "feel" a baby's call.

Unfortunately, even some of the higher priced models can still suffer from interference, like fuzzy picture quality.

Interference

Mentioned above, interference can be an issue with these devices.

This happens as baby monitors use the same frequencies as devices such as internet routers.

Basically, anything that broadcasts a signal could cause interference.

Ideally, choose a model with a frequency of 900 MHz or higher. This should help with picture clarity and overall quality.

Should you encounter interference, try changing the channel on either the baby monitor or the router.

Online retailers like Kacz' Kids offer models that are a 2.4 GHz frequency, which is ideal to avoid interference.

Screens

On the small end, handheld monitors start at 1.5 inches going up to roughly 3.5 inches.

Planning on having more than one child? Then it might be a good idea to consider a monitor that is expandable.

Several baby monitors can support upwards of four video cameras. You'll have to purchase additional cameras, but you will have more coverage for your growing family.

Security

Every so often in the headlines, you will read about a baby monitor that is "hackable".

This is more of a concern in urban or suburban areas, but it's still a relatively rare occurrence. Digital monitors are better in this regard since they are harder to intercept versus analog ones.

Performing routine software (known as 'firmware') updates, in conjunction with setting a strong password, can help secure your device.

Night Vision

Night vision is a must have when pricing out new baby monitors.

Even on a sunny day, this feature can come in handy as nurseries can be dimly lit when the baby is taking a nap.

For audio-only models, some feature a night light function that can be triggered remotely.

Angling the Camera

Most monitors include the ability to adjust the direction of the camera.

There are differences in how you make adjustments to the camera, however.

'Static' cameras will stay put depending on how, or where, you place it. This can be a bit redundant though as you will need to be constantly moving the camera to ensure the best angle.

A static camera also costs considerably less.

For models that are slightly more expensive, you will get the option to pan or tilt the camera. Having that simple hinge to change the camera direction can be with a few extra dollars.

At the top of the line are models that allow you to pan, tilt and zoom - remotely. This is handy because then you won't risk waking your baby by coming into the room to reset the camera direction.

Baby Monitor Brands

Below are a few manufacturers that make some of the more popular baby monitor models. All make both audio and video models.

  • Motorola
  • Philips
  • Summer Infant

All of the above brands are sold online at retailers like Kacz' Kids.

Controlling the Device

There are a few standard controls that will come with any device regardless of manufacturer. Volume, brightness, and video on/off are all very standard.

For brightness, make sure your baby monitor allows you to dim the screen so you can actually sleep at night.

As mentioned earlier, higher-end models will allow you to tilt and pivot the camera remotely.

Other features may include a vibration setting or sound indicator to notify you of baby movement.

Given a lot of parents operate these devices in the middle of the night, make sure to choose one where the controls are easy to navigate!

What a Lawyer Would Say

It might sound like common sense, but baby monitors are not a substitute for adult supervision.

Use them as an extra set of eyes and ears that will help you monitor a sleeping baby.

They are intended to help alert you before a situation becomes serious, such a crying or coughing baby. Experts would advise that these devices cannot prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

It's always a good idea to note that unless the baby monitor is registered with the FDA, it's not considered to be a medical device.

Speak with your pediatrician should your child have a medical condition that requires special monitoring.

What's the Return Policy?

Before you buy, make sure you can return the baby monitor should you run into any issues like interference.

If you received the device at a baby shower, make sure you know where it was purchased and when the return period ends. It's always a good idea to keep the original packaging for the baby monitor around for a while until you know it will work for you.

Safety First

The Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks incidents relating to safety for devices like baby monitors.

The Commission in the early 00's required electrical cords on monitors to come with labels. A common label you will find reminds the user to keep the power cord at least 3 feet away from the crib.

Finally, Time to Buy

After all this research and pricing out different models now comes the time to finally make the purchase.

Fortunately, your new baby monitor should provide years of trusted service at a reasonable price.

Click over to Kacz' Kids now to see the latest models with a return policy that will give you peace of mind.

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