Baby Monitors: How Do They Work?

Did your mom ever claim she had “eyes in the back of her head?” Well with a baby monitor, you really do! It’s not a replacement for hands-on supervision, but it sure can bring peace of mind and makes it easier to keep an eye—or at least an ear—on your sleeping baby.

While audio monitors have been around for decades, newer video or combination models are becoming popular. With audio monitors, the base transmitter is placed in the nursery near the baby, and the receiver portion of the unit can be carried with you or left in a primary location.

Video monitors work the same way—the video camera/transmitter is focused on the baby and the receiver is placed near you.

Once you set up your monitor, it’s a good idea to test reception in various rooms and outside your home. This will tell you the signal strength of the device within your home or outside your home and identify any areas of bad reception. Interference from other devices can also cause static or unclear sound; models that offer more than one frequency are a good solution to this potential problem (each monitor reception will vary on signal strength depending on the amount of electronic devices that are emitting radio waves/signals within your monitor unit).

If you plan on having the receiver in your bedroom at night, perform a volume test before turning off the light. A level that was good in your busy kitchen can sound heart-stoppingly loud at 3 am! If your unit will be in use for extended periods of time in the same place, a monitor that has an AC adapter cord for the parent unit will save battery. Some monitors come with two receivers – useful if you want one for each parent, or one to keep in the bedroom and the other to carry with you.

As technology has improved, so has the quality and range of baby monitor options. While more choices are always good to have, they can also be daunting to sort out. A little research can help you find the monitor that's right for you and your family.

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