All parents want to be in a position to monitor the safety and welfare of their baby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Video baby monitors are a fantastic tool to enable you to keep a close on your baby when you can’t be in the room. While there is a huge range of different devices on the market it’s often very difficult indeed to work out which device is right for you and how much money you should be looking to spend. As complex as it sounds there are a just a few very simple decisions that you need to make in order to chose the device that is right for you with the best compromise between costs and features.
If you’ve not seen or used one already, baby video monitors consist of two separate units – a camera and microphone unit which are placed pointing at your baby, and a (normally portable) receiver unit which display the video and sound output. The camera unit will normally run off the mains although devices capable of being run off batteries are also available. The video and sound receiver unit will normally run off batteries to ensure that it can be carried around the house. The video display will not normally be on all the time as this uses too much battery power. It can be activated manually (normally by pushing a button) whenever you want to check up on your baby. With other devices the video screen switches on automatically whenever it detects a sound coming from your baby’s room. Virtually all baby video monitors come with a night vision mode enabling you to monitor your baby in a light or completely dark room.
The first key decision that you need to make is whether you want to go for a well known brand. Well known brands tend to be more reliable and have a better after sales support service. However, all of this comes at a cost – they are much more expensive. Most parents prefer not to compromise on costs when buying products for their baby and they will normally stick with a brand that they have used in the past and like. We would recommend sticking with the best well known manufacturers after reading some rather concerning reports about the cheaper alternatives.
Another important decision to some is what the device looks like – whether the camera unit will match the baby’s room and whether the hand held monitor will look neat when left out within the home. Manufacturers appreciate the importance of producing visually attractive devices. As well as being sleek and curvy most of these come in pale pastilley baby colours like pink and blue or in neutral white. It’s quite a subjective decision so take a look around and see what appeals to you.
Screen size is one of the most important considerations and influences the clarity of the image produced on the video monitor but also quite substantially on the cost of the device. Even a small increase in the size of the screen can have a really drastic impact on the price. It all comes down to affordability. Large screen sizes of 2.5 inches or more produce a stunning image enabling you to see every single movement from within your baby’s room. However, the smaller screen sizes are still perfectly adequate enabling you to see enough. Most will go for a smaller screen size (1.5 inches) – larger screen sizes are a luxury if you can afford it but are unnecessary in terms of the over functionality of the product.
Another key decision is the range of the device. If you live in a small home or in an apartment in the city then you don’t need a particularly powerful transmitter. Anything with a range of 150 feet or more will be enough. In direct contrast, if you live in a large home and want the device to work into the garden then you need to think about buying a long range baby monitor with a transmission range of 350 feet or more. Regardless of the size of your home however, the more powerful the device the less interference you will notice from other household electrical devices.
If you have two children that you need to monitor it can be quite expensive as most devices are only intended for one child and one room. Buying two cameras and two video monitors can be very expensive and also inconvenient to carry around the home. A best solution is a dual room baby monitor which enable you to buy an additional camera which transmits to your existing hand held monitor. The hand held monitor then enables you to easily switch between rooms.
The cost of batteries is something to consider. Baby video monitors use a lot of power so if you continually have to replace the batteries it can be very expensive. Make sure that you choose a rechargeable device or at least a product that comes with a battery recharging pack. Of course, if you already have your own battery charger you need not worry.
Optional but helpful extras should be your final consideration. In particular, some products come with the ability to play lullabies which can be remotely turned on via the hand held unit. This is an extremely effective way of sending your baby back off to sleep without entering the room as we all know that as soon as your baby sees you the job of getting him or her back to sleep becomes considerably more difficult! A built in light night can also have a soothing effect on your child further promoting comfort and sleep.
Choosing a baby video baby monitor is not as complex as it probably first seems. By weighing up the value of the various options and the resulting impact on price you can ensure that you purchase a product that fulfils your key requirements at a cost that you can afford.