Baby Monitors, whats available? (Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature reviewed)

OK dads, this is our department, a gadget for the baby! Time for some research. There are a wide range of baby monitors on the market, varying in both price and functionality. Prices range from as little as £25 to over £200.

So what are the choices?

First, is your basic sound only monitor, this type of monitor has a base station that is in the bedroom with baby, you then have a portable receiver to enable you to listen to the sounds of baby. Most of these tend to be analogue transmitters so signal quality can sometimes leave a bit to be desired.

The second type is the sound and movement monitor, this will have a base station, a sensor mat to go under babies mattress and the parent receiver unit. In addition some transmit an analogue signal whilst the better ones transmit a digital signal.

Finally, are the sound and video monitors. These have a base unit which incorporates a small camera and the portable unit which will normally contain a lcd screen. They start with your basic black and white screen but can have a colour image. Some even have infra red capabilities, whilst some will also transmit your images online allowing you to view them wherever you are.

So what one should I have?

Ok dads, now is the time to control the urge to buy the one with all bells and whistles! It is a gadget but a gadget with a serious purpose. The real answer is the one you want is the one that is right for you as a family, balancing budget with needs.

If you are on restricted budget but want some comfort then the sound monitor is way to go. Personally, I favour the sound and movement monitors, these always gave me reassurance of hearing my babies with added comfort of alarm sounding if no movement or breath registered after 20 – 30 seconds. I was one of those dads who if they hadn’t heard baby for a while would have to go and check they were OK. Didn’t take me long to throw sound monitor away and get sound and movement one! (also dads these are great fun, you try seeing how gentle a touch you can achieve on top of mattress without monitor sensing it! Almost impossible to make any contact without registering which is very re assuring) If budget isn’t an issue you may want to consider the video monitors for some parents seeing their child is very re assuring.

Tommee Tippee kindly sent me their Closer to Nature Digital Monitor and Sensor Pad to review. As our youngest is 20 months we thought this would really put monitor to the test!!  Many people will tell you that a sound and movement monitor is redundant when baby can start to move freely or crawl. In fact this is exactly the case with ours, which now sit in a box in the loft gathering dust. Even before that happened with our Angel Care monitor, and we had to disconnect the sensor pad and it became basic sound only monitor. The pad wasn’t sensitive enough to pick up movement if baby had moved to end of the cot. In the case of the Tommee Tippee one, it passed with flying colours no false alarms at all in over a week!

Ok, so what else?  Important dad bits first, it looks cool, stylish, with black and white contrast colours, the handset is sleek and small enough to fit in pocket, with belt carry clip already fitted! It has a slimline docking unit for recharging the batteries supplied with it. No need for a constant supply of AA batteries and trips to garage to get ripped off. You just know the batteries will run out just as you are settling down to a well deserved break as baby goes off to sleep. Four AA batteries can be placed in base unit in case of powercut.

This is a digital transmission monitor, giving crystal clear reception and excellent range up to 300m. Yes I did see how far I could walk down the street before it stopped working and no, it wasn’t quite far enough to get to the pub! It has in built nightlight and room temperature display. There are a number of user changeable settings but I will let you look at manual, to then discard it and just play until you have found them all, why should I spoil your fun?

Overall this would have got a Four Star rating if it wasn’t for the talk back function! This easily pushes it to a Five Star rating and if I could six. Talkback is the ability to talk to the baby through the handset without having to go up to their room. This I think is an excellent addition and one that will seriously extend the life of the monitor in usefulness terms. Having the ability to talk to your child as they get older will allow problems to be dealt with without having to return to the room. If they are trying to pull a fast one just to get you back into the room this will allow you to ask what’s wrong before returning. Of course I am not advocating remote parenting but there are distinct benefits to having this facility.

Pop over to Tommee Tippee to see more reviews on their site. I have now found this monitor as low as £75 from Tescos and Toys R Us! I cannot recommend it enough.

6 thoughts on “Baby Monitors, whats available? (Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature reviewed)

  1. I love this monitor! I am a NICU mom who’s first baby came home on a medical grade apnea monitor for apnea of prematurity. This product is the next best thing.

    This monitor is surprisingly sensitive to the slightest movement. I have it under a mattress, mattress pad, fitted mattress sheet, waterproof mattress cover, AND an inclined sleep positioner! The directions were very clear and the device was very easy to set up. The range on the receivers (parent devices) is excellent even in the ‘dead zones’ of our house where our cordless phones don’t work. The receivers not only give very clear sound but also show the temperature of the room. The receivers also have a sturdy little clip on the back so you can clip it to your shirt and walk around hands free. Oh and the receivers give you a warning when the batteries start to go, it beeps once every 15 seconds or so. I also love the little night light feature on the transmitter. It’s bright enough that you can see several feet pretty clearly but not so bright to light the whole room. The wires that connect the pad (that goes under the baby mattress) to the transmitter are a decent length so you don’t have to worry if you want to set the transmitter on a high bureau near the crib. The receivers hold their charge for a long time and use rechargable batteries (included with the product). The settings are adjustable and its easy enough to turn features on or off but I left the factory settings which work very well.

    It is a very expensive monitor but SIDS scares me silly. Having experienced my first son almost dieing but for the apnea monitor (he was discharged from the NICU with an apnea monitor) telling us that he stopped breathing, I needed the next best thing for my second (my 2nd is a full term baby). I highly recommend this fantastic product (for full term babies, of course use a medical grade apnea monitor for wee ones who need them) despite the excessive cost. In my humble opinion, if you have concerns about SIDS then this monitor is worth every penny.

  2. Thank you for a very robust review of this product and an overall fantastic blog!
    Other reviews I have read about the Closer To Nature Monitor and Pad have had issue with the sensitivity of the pad citing many false alarms so I was reluctant to buy but a few recent reviews including this one have really perked me up! 🙂

    Currently (7th Sept 2011) the monitor + mat system is available Brand New for £66 shipped directly from Amazon (link below) which is cheaper than even the Tommee Tippee Factory shop was selling them for (£75)

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tommee-Tippee-Closer-Digital-Monitor/dp/B004G5YVFA/

  3. Has anyone tried both tommee tippee and angel care to compare them? I rate the TT movement sensor in the moses basket, but it won’t detect through the cot mattress. Looking at getting the AC, but not sure if it will make the difference. Any help appreciated

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