The safety of their children is the top priority for most parents and a baby monitor can help you keep a closer eye on your little treasure. Baby monitors are becoming more and more advanced and today you can get so much more than just audio and visuals from the nursery - you can even track things like the baby's breathing or their oxygen levels.
But how accurate are these readings and how much should parents rely on them? While these high-tech baby monitors can help some parents relax a bit better, others seem to find that they add to their worries. We are having a look at some of the most popular baby monitors on the market and how these should best be used for the safety of the baby and the peace of mind of the parents.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs In Conclusion)
|BRAND||VIDEO||2-WAY TALKBACK||PULSE OXIMETER||MOVEMENT MONITOR||PRICE|
|Owlet Baby Monitor Duo||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||£429|
|BT Baby Monitor 6000||Yes||Yes||No||No||£115|
|Angelcare Sensasure Baby Movement Monitor||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||£199.99|
|Cubo Ai Plus Smart Baby Monitor||Yes||Yes||No||No||£289|
|Nanit Pro Complete Monitoring System||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||£379.99|
|BT Audio Baby Monitor 450 Lightshow||No||Yes||No||No||£38.69|
1. Owlet Baby Monitor Duo
|• Tracks the baby's heart rate and oxygen levels |
• Notifies you when readings are out of the safe zone
• Uses a secure, encrypted connection
|• Children with sleep apnea|
• Parents who worry about their baby's breathing
• Parents who want to check on their child from afar
The Owlet Baby Monitor Duo is a high-tech baby monitor that offers HD video combined with the possibility to track not only your baby's sleeping trends but also its heart rate and oxygen levels. The Duo consists of one Owlet Cam and one Smart Sock and included in the package comes the sock sensor, the base stations, a wall mount with cable guards, two different sock sizes with a left and right sock, power adaptors and charging cords.
Through the HD cam, you can follow your baby's movements in real-time from anywhere you want, streamed through a secure, encrypted connection. The camera also gives you sound and motion notifications and you can select between up to 4x zoom or a wide-angle view. It also has a room temperature sensor and comes with a two-way talk and background audio function so that you can talk soothingly to your baby from another room if needed.
The Smart Sock functions with pulse oximetry technology that can track the baby's heart rate and oxygen levels while sleeping. The information is sent to the base station that keeps you updated on your baby's wellness status through lights and sounds. Should the baby's reading leave the "safe zones" you will get a notification on your phone, and the base station will also notify you.
2. BT Baby Monitor 6000
|• Big LCD colour screen|
• Good night vision
• Adjust the camera remotely
|• Parents looking for good quality-price ratio|
• Babies who get calm by hearing their parent's voices
• Parent's who enjoy visual alerts
One of the most popular baby monitors on the market right now is the BT Baby Monitor 6000. It comes with a camera that offers night vision for you to be able to see your baby even in dark environments and a 5" LCD colour screen. You can change the angle of the camera both manually and digitally with a remote control that comes included to better keep track of your baby's movements.
The device comes with a temperature sensor so that you can always check that the room has an adequate temperature for your little one. It also offers two-way audio and talking function in case you want to communicate with your baby from a distance. The range is 250 meters and the display has an out of range indicator, should you move a little too far away.
The audio and video are streamed through a secure connection for your peace of mind and the screen also offers sound level LED lights for visual control. Five lullabies are included to help relax your baby to sleep. Customers are loving this baby monitor and several reviews mention that they appreciate the night vision and the clear image of the screen.
3. Angelcare 3-in-1 Sensasure Baby Movement Monitor
|• Movement sensor pad|
• Uses low-emission transmissions
• No sensors touching the baby
|• Parents who worry about their baby's breathing|
• Cots with a solid base
• Most mattresses except memory foam
This baby monitor incorporates an interesting feature, which is the Movement Sensor Pad that tracks even the tiniest movements of your baby. You place the sensor pad underneath the mattress and it communicates with the nursery unit through low-emission transmission technology, which could be compared to the Bluetooth of your mobile phone. This is harmless to the baby and there is no need for any cables in the bed.
The alarm goes off if the device doesn't detect any movements during 20 seconds and you can adjust the sensitivity in order to prevent false alarms. Apart from the sensor pad you also receive the nursing unit through which you can see and also talk to your baby, thanks to its two-way audio talkback function. You also get a parent unit that is a 4.3" colour LCD screen on which you can watch your baby, even in darkness.
You can mount the nursery unit on the wall or on a tabletop and it comes with a temperature sensor. The streaming of images and sound is through an encrypted connection for your peace of mind. The Angelcare 3-in-1 Sensasure Baby Movement Monitor could be a good option for those parents who cannot fully relax and constantly feel like checking on their baby's movements.
4. Cubo Ai Plus Smart Baby Monitor
|• Uses AI to detect special moments or dangers|
• HD video, even in darkness
• Can be used as a night light
|• People looking for a cute design|
• Parents who enjoy documenting every detail
• Babies and older children
The Cubo Ai Plus Smart Baby Monitor comes in the shape of a cute bird and packs a handful of features. Some parents just can't get enough of their babies and the Cubo could be a good fit for them. Apart from the typical features of a baby monitor, such as the video and two-way audio, the Cubo also takes snapshots of your little one for you to never miss any "firsts".
Using artificial intelligence it can detect when your baby is smiling, sitting up or lifting the head and snaps a photo that is automatically saved in your app. But more importantly, it can also detect if your baby's mouth is covered or if they are stuck, rolling over on their fronts and the app will let you know.
It can also be used for bigger children to detect their whereabouts and notify you if your child is entering a no-go area. The smart app keeps track of sleep analytics and logs them for you to compare night after night. The device streams video in 1080p HD, even in darkness, has built-in lullabies and you can also use it as a soothing night light. The monitor comes with several mounts and stands for you to set it up wherever you find it suitable in the house.
5. Nanit Pro Complete Monitoring System
|• Monitors baby's breathing|
• Nature sounds and white noises
• Offers daily time-lapses of the past night
|• Parents who like to swaddle their kids|
• People who like to track their baby's sleep trends
• Parents who worry about their baby's breathing
This baby monitor kit consists of a camera, a swaddle and a breathing band to track the baby's breathing. The camera can easily be mounted on the wall for a birds-eye view of your little one. The camera streams video and audio in great quality, 1080p HD, even in darkness and through the app you can watch from anywhere in the world through a secure encryption and two-factor verification.
The swaddle and breathing band both fill the same function as the camera can read the breathing movements through the custom pattern of the fabric, meaning that there is no sensor touching the baby. Some kids find comfort in being swaddled while others prefer to move around more freely and with this kit you can offer them both options. Should the camera not detect any movement from the baby's breathing it will notify you.
The kit also includes a multi-stand for you to set up the camera anywhere and 1 year of Nanit insights. The app will track your baby's sleep stats and offer them to you each morning together with a short time-lapse for you to watch how their night went. It also stores key moments in the app for you to enjoy later. Furthermore, the camera also has a temperature sensor, 2-way audio and nature sounds and white noise which can help relax many babies.
6. BT Digital Audio Baby Monitor 450 Lightshow
|• HD sound|
• Light show with stars and moons
• 18 different lullabies
|• Parents on a budget|
• Gift item
• Parents who like to leave a night light on
Not all parents feel the need to be able to watch their baby sleeping on video streaming. Being able to hear them if they wake up needing comfort is often enough and can save you a lot of money. The BT Audio Baby Monitor 450 Lightshow comes with a bunch of useful features and at a cheaper price point.
With HD sound quality you can hear your baby well from up to 50 meters indoors and 300 meters outdoors. Should they need some soothing words you can use the two-way talkback function as a first step before going to check on them and potentially wake them up even more. The device can play 18 different lullabies and even put on a light show with moons and stars for your baby to relax into sleep.
This audio baby monitor also features sound-sensitive LEDs for visual alerts and can be used as a night light. It also measures the temperature in the room. This could be a good option for parents on a tighter budget or as a thoughtful gift to new parents.
The Responsibility Of Parenthood
Becoming parents is without any doubt one of the most amazing moments of many people's lives, but it can also be incredibly scary. Suddenly we are responsible for the life and well-being of a tiny human and that task can feel quite daunting at first. We want to do everything in our power to make sure that they are getting everything they need, good sleep included, however during the first months, many parents cannot help but checking several times per night if their child is still breathing.
SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the common term used when death suddenly and unexpectedly occurs to a healthy child under a year of age. I the UK, more than 200 babies die every year from SIDS. During pregnancy and right after the baby is born, parents get lots of information on this, unlikely but possible, syndrome and how to best prevent it. These are some of the most common things to keep in mind:
|✓ Put your baby to sleep on their back.||✗ Sleep together with your baby in a bed, sofa or armchair.|
|✓ Make sure your baby's head is uncovered. Any blankets should be tucked in maximum at shoulder height.||✗ Smoke during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Don't allow anyone to smoke in the same room as the baby.|
|✓ Place the baby in the "feet-to-foot" position, meaning that their feet should touch the foot of the cot.||✗Let the room where the baby sleeps get too hot or too cold. Around 20º celsius is recommended.|
|✓ Sleep in the same room as the baby but don't sleep in the same bed.||✗ Use a cot mattress that is too soft or add anything they could get tangled up in.|
Misinterpretations Of SIDS Reduction Guidance
As new parents, we tend to want to do everything according to what the doctors or other authoritative figures, such as our own parents, suggest. We keep receiving information of all kinds from doctors, family and friends, including on the risks of SIDS. However, a qualitative study✓ of the perceptions of SIDS-reduction in a bi-cultural community in the UK shows that while being aware of SIDS, many mothers still misinterpret the guidance provided.
The Pakistani mothers who participated in the study often tended to dismiss many of the recommendations as they found them irrelevant to their cultural practices, while many British mothers modified the recommendations to suit their own preferences and personal circumstances.
But is it only a matter of misinterpretation of information or are parents becoming a bit too comfortable?
High-Tech Baby Monitors Are Gaining Popularity
Baby monitors have become increasingly popular over the past years and the market is expected to continue to grow steadily. According to Businesswire, the global market for baby monitors is expected to progress at a CAGR of around 6% during the forecast period of 2020-2024.
In an article for BBC a new mother, Lindsay Elliott, states that her separation anxiety levels decreased a lot since her daughter started wearing a smart sock using pulse oximetry to sleep. By being able to track her baby's data on her smartphone, Lindsay was able to sleep better and relying more on babysitters without worrying.
“I always had a fear that she would just stop breathing. It was my personal anxiety, so that oxygen level helped so much”
The risk of SIDS is a big fear for many parents and the baby monitor brands are well aware of this. More and more parents decide to spend more money on monitoring their kids throughout the night with high-tech equipment such as cameras, sensors, apps and wearables in order to provide maximum safety for their little ones. The technologies used in baby monitors are becoming increasingly advanced but with this new range of possibilities also come new worries.
Baby Monitors Are Not Medical Devices
Many of today's baby monitors measure a variety of stats, such as the baby's breathing or the oxygen levels but the brands are careful to not promote or sell their products as medical devices as this would need approval by the MHRA or the US equivalent FDA which is difficult, costly and time-consuming. But even though there is no evidence that these baby monitors are life-saving, they are often portrayed by the brands as if they could prevent tragic accidents from happening.
A device measuring oxygen levels is bound to go off at some point and notify the parents that something is not right with their baby. Research✓ suggests that this could be problematic as it can cause overdiagnosis, meaning that it could alarm the parents to the point where they rush their child to see a doctor and putting them through unnecessary tests when in fact occasional smaller oxygen desaturations can happen in healthy infants without any consequences.
Do Parents Rely Too Much On Baby Monitors?
While many consumers seem to love high-tech baby monitors, experts and paediatrics, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, advice against using movement monitors as a strategy to prevent SIDS. They suggest that these can cause more worry rather than taking it away from parents which would defeat the purpose of the baby monitor.
That being said, if used correctly, these baby monitors can help parents relax and also get a lot more insight into their children's sleep trends. Some devices even capture moments worth remembering in the future.
Different Types Of Baby Monitors
There are thousands of baby monitors available in the UK today and they all have their specific features. These are some of the most common types available on the market:
- Audio monitors - Allow the parents to hear if their baby is cooing or crying. They sometimes come with a talkback function.
- Audio and video monitors - Same as the audio ones but adding the element of video.
- Movement monitors - Usually comes like a pad that is placed under the cot mattress and senses the baby's movements. It sends out an alarm if the baby stops moving for a certain amount of time.
- Wifi-Camera monitors (with or without receivers) - These monitors offers a variety of options such as room temperature, light, audio, video and more, which you can control from your receiver unit or directly on your smartphone.
How To Correctly Use A Baby Monitor
A baby monitor can be a great addition to your nursery if used correctly. As previously mentioned, using them as medical devices or relying exclusively on their technology is not recommended and could even turn out to be dangerous in some cases.
The first thing to keep in mind is the installation of the monitor in the nursery. Make sure that the monitor is placed at a safe distance from the cot so that there is no chance that the child can reach it. Many baby monitors today come with cable guards to safely tuck away any cables that could be dangerous to kids or pets. Should your monitor not come with these you should get them on your own or somehow ensure that no cables are accessible.
Use your baby monitor to check on your child occasionally and of course to be notified if they should wake up needing you. If your monitor offers a two-way talkback you can try soothing your baby with your voice only if you prefer but remember that the baby monitor never offers the safety of your presence if your baby needs it.
Keep in mind:
If your monitor offers breathing, oxygen or movement monitoring remember that these devices are not meant to prevent SIDS and that they can potentially give you incorrect readings, both positive and negative.
If you notice that your baby monitor is causing you more worry due to false alarms going off or you becoming too dependent on constantly checking your baby's stats you should contact an expert to evaluate the baby's health and any continued use of the device.
Have Fun With Your Baby Monitor
If you have decided to get a high-tech baby monitor and make sure to use it for what it is you will surely enjoy it a lot. Being away from children when they are small is never fun, but being able to see them through our smartphone could help with the pain of having to leave on that business trip. Some devices even allow others, such as grandparents, to connect and watch their grandchild when they are within camera reach.
Many brands even offer snapshots or time-lapses throughout the night that are stored in the app for you to never miss a "first" from your baby. Baby monitors should be used as an added bonus to your daily life with your children and to make your busy life a little easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
When to stop using baby monitor?
There is no definitive age when to stop using a baby monitor but some experts recommend to stop using them at the latest when your child is around 4 years old. It is important to teach children the values of privacy and independence once they are old enough to understand them.
How do baby monitors work?
There are different types of baby monitors but the most common ones are audio and video baby monitors. The nursery unit sends out an audio or video signal to either a receiver unit or to your smartphone, often through an encrypted connection, and this way you can hear and/or see if your baby is awake and needs you.
What are the best baby monitors?
That depends on what you want your baby monitor to do. There are basic audio and video monitors that can make you see and hear your baby but there are also more advanced ones that can measure your baby's heart rate, oxygen levels, check for movements and monitor more health stats. There are also those who can measure temperature, play lullabies and take snapshots of your baby as added features.