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A new mom cannot stop worrying about the troubles that the newborn will face even if she is away for a few minutes. There are other regular chores and jobs at home that take them away from the baby! Baby monitors help the mother (parent) to keep an eye on the baby from anywhere in the home. The parent is able to see and hear the infant even when she is physically not present near the child.
A baby monitor is a boon of modern technology. The device operates very easily. A camera is set up directly focusing on the infant in the room. This camera records the baby sleeping or awake, using a standard video recorder or camcorder. This device is connected discreetly to another color receiver or sometimes to a PC (personal computer) which has 'video out' in another room. The unit comes with a built-in speaker for audio monitoring with rechargeable batteries.
In a small home, a simple monitor set is sufficient. Large homes that have rooms on more than one level may require a more sophisticated baby monitor device. Nowadays technologically advanced baby monitors that do more than mere monitoring are available. They sense delicate movements of a newborn baby.
Types of baby monitors
Audio monitors: As the name indicates, these monitors have only audio facility and they can record and receive the sound reception. Some of the audio monitors have light indicators, but they do not allow someone to see the baby.
Audio/Video monitors: These monitors have both audio and video recording facilities. These monitors are equipped with a camera and a small television. While the camera is focused on the baby's crib, the television is placed in another room or if it is portable carried around. Some of the monitors come with an infra-red camera which facilitates nighttime viewing.
Audio and movement monitors: These monitors have the facility to detect and record both movement and sound. The monitor's movement detector is normally placed under/ very near the crib mattress, and thus the baby's sound is picked up through the receiver.
Other than the baby monitors listed above, there are advanced monitors for detecting minute movements that includes even the breathing of the baby.
Movement sensor with sound monitors: An ultra-sensitive sensor is placed on the pad under the crib mattress (or cradle) to detect the baby's slightest movements. The parent unit receives the signal and sound of a 'no movement alarm' if no movement is detected for about 15 -20 seconds. This system can also be used as a traditional sound monitor to pick up the cries of the baby. It normally works within a range of 330 feet.
Baby-breathing monitor: Premature babies require baby-breathing monitors. Parents who have previously lost their child through 'cot death' find this monitor very useful.
Baby monitor special features
Nowadays there are baby monitors that come with 'sound activated light bar' which actually shows the parent the sound level (noise pollution) in the child's room.
There are advanced baby monitoring systems that come with wireless security cameras that help to watch and listen to the child even in the darkest of rooms.
There are handheld baby monitoring units available. These provide crystal clear audio and video recording with high frequency resolutions. They have color LCD display. Handheld portable baby monitors helps to move freely around the home in a more relaxed manner. Every movement of the baby, no matter where you are, can be heard and watched with this handheld solution. They are lightweight and easy to use.
Newer models of baby monitors have the facility to enable the baby to hear the mother's soothing voice.
Baby monitors with sound activated light: Sometimes, the mother might be watching TV or vacuuming the floors and she may miss hearing the baby's cries. To avoid such occasions, this unit comes with a facility to 'light up' when it detects noise in the baby's room and allows the parent to take a glance at the monitor and know immediately what is going on.
There are specialized video monitors that can help to view the baby on screen with all his different gestures. These specialized monitors also help monitor the temperature in the baby's room.
Selecting baby monitor
First of all, the parent has to decide whether a one-way monitor system or a two-way system is required. One way system will allow only the parent to hear the child. In two-way system, the child can also hear the parent. A two- way monitor system will definitely be useful if the child has to be reassured as the mother heads towards the baby's room.
Video options have to be considered. Some parents feel more comfortable with the visual option as they can actually keep an eye on the baby while being in another room.
It is better to think of portable baby monitors. They are not only sophisticated, but allow continuous view of the baby in any area of the house. The receiver can be easily attached to one's belt or clothing. It is lightweight and simple to carry.
Durability is an essential aspect to be considered. These are electronic items and they tend to fail at times causing several anxious moments. It is always sensible to buy a durable baby monitor from a reputed well-known company.
There is always the nuisance and fear of interference from cellular phones and cordless phones and neighborhood baby monitors. The baby monitor must be guarded against such external interferences. There are many humorous and sometimes not so humorous reported instances when a mother may pick up another family's child on her baby monitor.
A dream baby monitor should have a rechargeable parent unit with long battery life. It is also advisable to have a battery alarm indicating low battery.
Some monitors also have lights which illuminate when any sound is picked up. The louder the sound, the more lights you will see. This helps if you are doing some activity which might prevent you from hearing the baby.
High end baby monitors like Sony, Fischer Price offer a wide bandwidth with better clarity. It is better to buy models with the right bandwidth depending on the size of the home.
Some of the newer models now have double receivers. This gives the parent more freedom and better monitoring capabilities.
Baby monitor tips
It is better to check batteries and adaptable cords regularly. This will guard against malfunctioning baby monitors.
It is better to avoid thick blankets, stuffed animals and quilts near the baby's crib. These will interfere with the proper functioning of the monitor and render it less effective.
Always make sure that the baby monitor voice transmitter is close (within a few feet) to the baby's crib (cradle). This will help to pick up even the minutest sound.
A baby monitor is an electric device. It should not be used around water to reduce the risk of electrocution.
The baby should never be let to play with the monitor, accessories and wires or cords. It is highly dangerous.
A baby monitor is nothing but a mini radio station. There are many ways in which a baby monitor can be used after the baby grows up. In some homes, baby monitor is opted even on older kids. Children with 'sleep waking problems' tend to roam in his/her room in the middle of the night. A baby monitor immensely helps to keep tab on such children. Baby monitors are also used in children playrooms and bathrooms by those mothers with strong safety concerns.
Cost of baby monitor
A baby monitor can cost anywhere from $ 40 to $ 90 for radio (audio) models. The model with video and audio model will cost upto $ 300. A monitor is no substitute for personal supervision by the parent. An infant waking in the middle of the night cries because he/she needs to be fed or changed. Always make sure that the baby is reached within a few seconds and comforted. Nothing in the world can be more reassuring for a baby than the mother's hug.