As a parent do you sometimes feel uneasy leaving your child with a babysitter? If that is the case, with a baby monitor, you can be at peace with leaving your child with a babysitter, knowing that you can watch and monitor their every move. In this guide, we would see what a babysitter is. Read through this guide.
What Is A Baby Monitor?
Baby monitors are useful for parents to monitor their sleeping baby without being in the same room. Baby monitors are available in different models, sizes, and prices.
A typical baby monitor includes two parts: one unit stays with your child (or pets). At the same time, another is kept near you at all times so that you can hear what’s happening around your little one at any time of day or night. As a parent, after all, we must prioritize our child’s security.
Most products use wireless technology, so there’s no need for cords running from room to room; however, some brands offer wired versions if wireless isn’t available where you live (or if it doesn’t work well).
How Video Baby Monitors Work
The most basic baby monitors that were first invented relied on the transmission of audio signals through radio waves. Since that time, several advancements have been made, and currently, modern baby monitors have audio, visual, and even several sensors that can monitor movement and breathing.
These advanced baby monitors utilize motion detection technology, and some of them use internet technology for transmission. Let us take a look at the different types of baby monitors and how they work.
Audio/Analog Baby Monitors
These are the oldest type of baby monitor. They operate by having a transmitter – usually a microphone – that picks up sounds around your baby’s crib, sending them to a receiver via high-frequency radio waves. This signal is mainly to avoid interference from other standard radio frequencies.
Newer versions of audio baby monitors can search multiple frequencies to find open bands within which to operate. This ability makes them better in terms of lower signal interference, and the concept was used to develop video baby monitors.
Video/Digital Baby Monitors
On the other hand, video baby monitors are more advanced compared to analog baby monitors. They, too, have a single transmitter and receiver but transmit signals differently. The transmitter, in this case, is usually a camera with a microphone.
Digital baby monitors transmit signals via encrypted codes over multiple frequency bands in a partially random pattern, familiar only to the baby monitor set.
This transmission method is known as Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS), and it facilitates video transmission while securing the signal and minimizing frequency interference. The encrypted message is decoded at the receiver, and therefore there is a less likely chance that you will pick up any sounds from the surrounding.
These baby monitors cost slightly more than analog baby monitors since they provide secure and better-quality transmissions. They also offer superior, reliable, and accurate monitoring.
Most new video baby monitors have a two-way communication feature. This technology utilizes radio waves and allows signals to be sent and received through the transmitter and the receiver. This way, apart from just monitoring, you can also talk to your toddler from any room in the house.
What are the types of baby monitors?
Basically like a walkie-talkie, this monitor lets you hear your baby’s noises when you are not in the room. Remember, it is safest to sleep with the baby in your room for the first 6 to 12 months.
This sends a video from a camera in your baby’s room. You view the video on a device such as a tablet. Sometimes the monitor uses your home Wi-Fi to broadcast the video feed to an app on your smartphone or tablet.
There are several different apps that let you turn 2 phones or tablets into a monitor. These tend to not be as sensitive or as high quality as other baby monitors.
This monitor is placed underneath your baby’s bedding. It sends an alarm if your baby does not move for a set time. There are no approved standards in Australia for movement monitors sold commercially.
Heart and breathing monitor
These monitors use electrode dots attached to the baby’s chest to monitor chest movement and the electrical activity of the heart. An alarm goes off if the heart rate falls below a set level, or if there is a long pause in the baby’s breathing. Sometimes these monitors come in the form of a wearable devices. Some of them are linked to a computer, which assesses how serious the situation is.
How Private Are Baby Monitors?
As a parent, your main aim is to ensure that your little one is shielded from the prying eyes of intruders. Therefore, it is common for you to have questions concerning the privacy and safety of these baby monitors and the signals that they transmit.
The type of baby monitor that you are using will determine the security of the signals transmitted. For instance, analog/audio baby monitors broadcasting on an open channel can be prone to hijacking the signal if someone close by gets on the same track.
On the other hand, digital/video baby monitors are not easy to compromise because of Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology. Signals from these baby monitors are encrypted, and only the transmitter and receiver know the channel-switching pattern. This encryption makes it very hard for them to be accessed by an intruder.
In the internet and technology era, Wi-Fi-based baby monitors are the most affected in terms of hacking. Because they use Wi-Fi routers that utilize internet protocols (IP), a hacker can stage an attack from anywhere in the world. This does not mean that attempts are usually successful.
To enforce high security on your Wi-Fi-based monitor, you should ensure that a strong password secures your connection. It is also important that the firmware of your devices are up-to-date to help you counter any intrusion attempts.
Nonetheless, the well-being of your little one is the main priority, and therefore you should not deter yourself from having a baby monitor. So long as a strong password protects your connection, it is difficult for hackers and intruders to access your baby monitor.
Privacy is a crucial matter; Baby monitors are encrypted and have a closed circuit. What this means is that Baby non-WiFi video baby monitors are hack-proof. A hacker would need military-grade technology while in the same room as the baby monitor to attempt to gain access. And even then, it still will not be easy.
How Do You Set Up Your Baby Monitor?
Setting up your baby monitor is one of the most common concerns among parents, especially new parents. Similar to most home installations, you cannot just randomly decide to mount a baby monitor anywhere. You need to consider the safety of your toddler, and the best viewing angle, among others.
When installing the baby monitor, it is recommended that it is set up somewhere out of the little one’s reach. Babies are curious and will want to explore any foreign items they notice. This can not only pose harm to your baby but the potential damage to the device.
It is also essential that when installing the baby monitor, you choose a location that offers a clear and ideal view of the baby’s room and crib. You should ensure that you can see your little one and their surroundings.
If you intend to move the baby monitor around depending on where you and your baby are in the house, then permanent installation on the wall is not advisable. You can place the gadget on a shelf or a table, out of the baby’s reach wherever you are in the house. Ensure that you have a clear shot of the baby and the surroundings even when placing it on a shelf or table.
For a permanent mounting of the baby monitor, you should choose a location you are confident you will not want to be changed later to avoid inconveniences. If you use cables, it is appropriate that you hide any from the child. If necessary, you can use cable covers. The well-being of your baby should guide all decisions and setups.
Buyer’s Guide For Baby Monitors
Video vs. audio baby monitors
Start your baby monitor search by deciding whether you want a video monitor or an audio-only monitor.
- Audio monitors are more affordable
Audio-only monitors are far more affordable than video monitors and retail in the $20–$40 range. While any budget security camera gets the job done, the best baby monitors with video retail for around $200.
- Video monitors give more insight
You get more information about your baby when you can see them like whether they’ve rolled over, have become unsaddled, or seem unusually restless.
You’ll only be able to use your sense of hearing to monitor your baby with an audio-only device, and that might still leave you wondering what’s going on in the crib.
- Video and audio quality
If you want a video monitor, make sure you get one with a high-quality camera. You don’t want to see a grainy blob in the crib—you want to see every little hair on that kissable noggin! Ok, maybe that’s going a little too far—but you do want to be able to see whether your child’s still breathing and moving.
Full HD 1080p provides a good-quality picture and is easy to find among baby monitors. Night vision is also important. It doesn’t have to be colored night vision, but you might enjoy that extra detail.
Finally, look for a camera that lets you zoom in sufficiently without losing image quality.
Audio quality is also important. The sound shouldn’t be fuzzy or garbled. Most baby monitors feature two-way talk, which comes in handy for parents to communicate with each other when checking on their little ones. Look for audio complaints in user reviews, or thoroughly test the monitor as soon as it arrives.
Closed-circuit vs. Wi-Fi connections
Next, decide how you want the baby monitor to transmit information.
A closed-circuit baby monitor offers complete privacy. There’s no way any creepy hacker can intercept the data. These monitors come with a “parent unit” that you carry around the house with you.
A Wi-Fi baby monitor uses the internet to send your baby’s audio or video footage to the parent unit—which is usually your smartphone but can also be a parent unit. There is a risk of hacking with any Wi-Fi device, but the risk can be squashed with safety measures like two-factor authentication and encryption.
Dedicated parent unit vs. smartphone app
Dedicated parent units come in handy if you have more than one kiddo to monitor. You can keep the audio and video running simultaneously on multiple parent units without getting confused about who’s upset.
Other baby monitors use a smartphone app on your phone to show you what’s going on. These are always Wi-Fi connections, though, so if you already decided you wanted a closed-circuit baby monitor, look for baby monitors with dedicated parent units.
It can also be difficult to get baby monitor apps to play continuous audio in the background—if the brand even offers that feature. It drains your phone battery and interferes with other phone functions, like making phone calls or watching videos.
The battery life of dedicated parent units varies considerably. If you always keep the video feed on, some parent units go kaput after just three hours. That’s okay for monitoring a nap but useless for a full night’s sleep, so expect to keep it plugged in at night.
We rarely see baby monitors with a battery life of more than 18 hours. The unit’s sensitivity and quality settings impact its battery life, so take any advertised battery range with a grain of salt.
If you use a smartphone app to monitor your baby, keep in mind that it has to run continuously in the background. If you have an older phone or already have battery issues, expect trouble. Otherwise, you can keep your phone plugged in at night.
Smart monitoring options
If you love data, smart baby monitoring is for you. It’s definitely not necessary to use smart monitoring to be a good parent or to have a healthy, happy baby—but it’s pretty cool.
Smart baby monitors can detect movement and breathing, analyze sleep quality, monitor room temperature and humidity, and even let you know if your baby has rolled over. But there are only a few smart baby monitors on the market, and none of them monitor everything. Check out the Nanit Pro (our pick), Miku, and Cubo AI for starters.
The major downside to a smart baby monitor is the price. The up-front cost can top $300, and then you also need to budget for a monthly subscription.
To conclude, baby monitors, are essential to have if you are a parent with a baby. It helps you keep watch of your children even when far away.