Baby monitor: a guide to choosing
Becoming a parent is a stressful undertaking. A baby monitor helps reduce anxiety and makes life easier.
Five tips for choosing well:
A baby monitor is a camera that is placed in a children’s room to monitor them while they sleep or play. When there is a newborn or a very young child playard with bassinet, this tool is precious because it gives parents serenity and allows them to carve out some time to devote to daily tasks.
The baby monitors consist of two parts: a camera that is placed in the children’s room and a receiver that is close to the parent.
Camera and night vision
The camera is placed in the baby’s room and is normally connected to the electricity supply. There are also battery-powered models, but they must be recharged often.
As long as the baby is small and stays in the crib, there is no need to move the camera. As your baby grows and falls asleep on the stroller or sofa, it may be helpful to change your position or angle.
The camera rests on a piece of furniture or hangs on the wall, although a good solution to support it and better orient it is to buy separately an adjustable arm of those used to support cell phones and tablets.
The best cameras are motorized and have the auto-follow function, that is, the ability to automatically follow the movements of the child, rotating horizontally and (at least partially) vertically. Models without auto-follow often trigger an alarm when the baby is out of range of the camera.
For night vision, the infrared camera is now standard, which must be activated automatically when the room is dark.
Receiver and screen
The larger the receiver monitor, the less blind you become to look at it. Better to choose a 3 or 3.5 inch color LCD display, with a good resolution
Some baby monitor models don’t have a receiver and connect directly to your smartphone or tablet – it’s a good choice, but the dedicated receiver makes it easier to control.
The receiver moves and falls easily, so it must be made of sturdy materials. If it breaks it is difficult to find a replacement and the entire baby monitor system must be changed.
Range and battery
The range indicates the maximum distance that the camera and receiver can be. A value of 300 meters allows to cover an apartment and its surroundings (for example the garden), even if the thick walls reduce the range. The two instruments communicate directly with each other and wi-fi connectivity is not necessary, unless you buy a model without a receiver, with smartphone control.
Most of the devices work on the 2.4 GHz band, the same as the wi-fi router. If you find the abbreviation FHSS it means that a radio transmission technique is also used which increases the signal bandwidth.
A fairly common problem is interference: routers, receivers and wi-fi amplifiers can interfere with the signal of the baby monitor. Each home is a unique case and the only possible verification is the empirical one, that is to take the baby monitor home and find the places where it receives best, moving any obstacles.
The autonomy indicates the battery life of the receiver, which remains on only when the child is asleep or in his room. A duration of 7 – 10 hours allows you to use the device for a good part of the day before having to recharge it.
Audio, voice and lullaby
In addition to the transmission of images, it is important that the baby monitor transmits sounds well, to hear the small noises emitted by the baby. However, excessive sensitivity can cause a continuous state of alarm and, to avoid jumping to your feet at the slightest cry, it is best to choose a model that allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the microphone.