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.