Baby monitors nowadays come standard with some pretty cool features. From coaching you through sleep training to sensor technology to nursery rhymes and light shows, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping for a baby monitor.
So, how do you know which one to buy?
Baby monitors fall into three broad categories:
- Audio: Basically a walkie-talkie with no video. They are less common nowadays but also significantly cheaper.
- Video (proprietary signal): A two-way system that sends a video feed from a camera, to a screen.
- Networked video (Wi-Fi/3G/4G/5G): Video that utilises your home Wi-Fi or mobile network to send the signal. Often uses a tablet or smartphone-based app to broadcast the video feed, in addition to the proprietary viewing device. Some only offer an app.
Many baby monitors now have Wi-Fi streaming capabilities, so you can view your baby from anywhere using your phone, tablet, computer or the included parent unit.
CHOICE recommends the following when shopping for a baby monitor.
Sound range, interference and sensitivity
Monitors that use common radio frequenceies may pick up signals and interference from nearby devices, such as cordless phones, microwaves or other baby monitors. The baby monitor should maintain a good quality sound, even from the other end of the house. Monitors that offer several frequencies or use wi-fi or DECT can be more private and experience less interference.
An alarm sounds when there is no movement after a certain length of time.
An infrared camera will allow you to still see baby clearly at night.
Camera viewing angle
Cameras lacking wide viewing angles mean you may not be able to get your baby into shot. Some cameras can be controlled remotely with pan and zoom functions so you can keep better track of what’s going on.
Some models let you connect additional cameras to the same account or you can set up cameras in multiple-rooms if, then turn them on/off when needed.
Send bub off to sleep with a monitor that also plays soft music.
Allows you to soothe bub from another room and you can communicate with someone else who has gone into the nursery.
Sound indicator lights
The sound indicators will light up to alert you when bub cries.
If the monitor is only powered by the mains, you can’t use it in areas that are unplugged.
Baby room temperature monitor
Some models allow you to set an upper and lower temperature limit and the monitor will sound an alarm when the room temperature goes above or below them.
The Owlet Monitor Duo includes the camera and the Smart Sock, which tracks your baby’s heart rate, oxygen levels and sleep using proven technology.
How I chose my baby monitor
Chantelle Delaney, mum to Sonny, seven-months-old
At the end of the day, nothing is more important than knowing your baby is OK. I really liked the fact that Owlet Monitor Duo had done over 100,000 hours of testing and it tracked the amount of sleep your baby got during the night or during nap time. But most importantly, that it had similar technology to what is used in hospitals.
After birth, Sonny was in NICU and I also had a lengthy stay in hospital and wasn’t well. When we did start using the monitor, it truly removed quite a bit of anxiety around sleep time and allowed my husband and I to get a better sleep also.
The Owlet Monitor Duo stepped up that protection level more so than other monitors by using pulse oximetry to notify you to heartrate or oxygen levels that sit outside of the predetermined ranges.
I also loved the vision as to why this very clever monitor was created “to create products to help parents know their babies are ok”.
We have already had a lot of worry with Sonny, that this monitor provides relief that we need.
The Owlet Monitor Duo is the first baby monitor system ever to track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while streaming live video and audio to your phone.