As the parent of a newborn, you know you'll be buying lots of baby stuff. But one of the most important purchases you will make is a reliable baby monitor. Your baby monitor is like an artificial life line that lets you clean your house, work in the garden, and wash your laundry in the basement while still keeping tabs on your sleeping baby. In other words it lets you do all the little things that those childless people take for granted!
But with so many different models to choose from it can be difficult to figure out which one is best for you. Let's go over some of the basic baby monitor features that you'll see on store shelves so you can make an informed decision.
Frequency. The closer your infant monitor is to other devices (such as cordless phones) the more likely you are to experience interference and privacy concerns. Check the frequency used by the monitor, for example 1.9-GHz or 2.4-GHz, and make sure it is different than your cordless phone and other devices.
Multiple channels. Less expensive baby monitors usually only offer two channels, while other models may offer dozens to choose from. More channels can be an advantage because if you're getting a lot of static and interference on one, you can switch to another channel to try and get rid of it.
Video. If audio isn't enough for you, look for a video baby monitor that lets you actually look inside your little one's nursery. Simply set up the camera unit near his crib and you can keep an eye on him through the video monitor or hand-held video parent unit.
Night vision. Any video baby monitor will work fine for daytime naps, but if you expect to use it at night then you'll need one that is equipped with night vision too.
Temperature sensor. Some monitors feature a sensor that monitors the temperature in your baby's nursery and alerts you if it gets too hot or cold.
Out of range indicator. Most models these days use a combination of sounds and lights to let you know you've reached the range limit of the monitor. Without that feature you'll only hear static when you go out of range, which you could mistake for ordinary interference. The greater the monitor's range the better, especially if you plan on taking it outside.
Low battery indicator. Look for a monitor with an icon or display that lets you know when the batteries are running low. Otherwise you just know that they'll die at the worst possible time.
Extra parent unit. You might be thinking you can save a few bucks by getting a basic monitor with just one parent unit, but trust me you're better off going with a model that has two. Dual monitors allow you to keep one receiver hear your bed and carry the other one around with you during the day.
Expandability. Some models, such as the Lorex Live Snap, allow you to add up to 4 cameras. That is helpful if you have more than one child to monitor, or if you want to monitor multiple rooms at the same time. For example, you can set up cameras in the nursery, the play room, and even in the backyard so you can keep track of your little one no matter where he wanders.