What to Look For in a Baby Monitor

Keeping an eye on your little one is essential for their safety, but it can be incredibly difficult to always be close enough to do so in person. That's why baby monitors are such a wonderful invention. They're quite literally our eyes and ears when we need to duck to the bathroom or want to try to teach our little ones to sleep alone in their nursery. Unfortunately, not every baby monitor is created equal, so finding the right one can be a bit confusing. To help you out, here are a few factors you can focus on to help you make the best choice for your needs.

Factors to consider when choosing a baby monitor

When it comes to finding the right baby monitor, there are five key things you're going to want to think about when selecting the right product.

Video and sound quality

While baby monitors with lower-quality video and sound will be on the cheaper end of the scale compared to their more advanced counterparts, this can be a case of getting what you pay for. If you're considering selecting a budget baby monitor, we strongly suggest checking the reviews and seeing if you can find any test recordings. This will help give you a proper idea of what the sound and video quality is actually like before committing to your purchase.

Aim for 1080p (HD) resolution like our top pick, the Cubo Ai Plus, for the clearest picture, or 720p if you're after something a little cheaper.

Best baby monitor overall
Cubo Ai Plus
$329
pro HD video quality
pro Sleep tracking
pro Temperature and humidity sensors

Night vision

You'll also need to think about whether night vision is an important feature for your personal situation. Those who always have a night light on in their baby's room may get away with selecting a model that simply works well in low light. Parents with bubs who will only sleep in complete darkness on the other hand, will need to invest in proper night vision.

Connectivity

Another thing to consider is how you'll actually be keeping an eye on things. Some models come with an external screen included and use radio waves to send audio and visuals to this screen. Other baby monitor models will connect to your home WiFi, and allow you to keep an eye on your little one even if you're out of range. Neither is inherently better, but parents who expect to be out of the home often and still want to check in on their little one will find the latter far more convenient. However, security can be an issue in this instance, as a strong password and secure home WiFi network will be needed to minimise the chances of someone who isn't authorising looking in.

Two-way audio

Being able to see and hear your baby is important for their safety, but your baby monitor can also make your life more convenient in other ways. For example, if you purchase a model that has two-way audio, you'll be able to communicate with your little one without having to enter the room. This is great for when you just need to soothe them a little but don't want to open the door and potentially wake them further. It's also ideal if you're in another room but need to ask a child who's a bit more independent to be careful. This feature does tend to cost a little extra, so if you're looking to stick to a budget we'd recommend considering whether you'll actually use it before committing, but it is quite a useful addition.

Other features and added extras

Finally, once you've worked out the basics as to what you need from a baby monitor, it's worth thinking about added extras that could come in handy. For example, some baby monitors are able to measure the temperature and humidity of a room. This is ideal for those who have little ones with slightly higher care needs, as well as parents of fussy sleepers. If you don't want to be worrying about the battery life of your baby monitor (but still want portability) you'll also want to look into a model that offers VOX, and if your baby loves a good lullaby, there are even options available that can play music for them at the press of a button.

A word on wearable baby monitors

Although not necessary for everyone, it's also worth considering whether a wearable baby monitor would be useful for your family. These models are highly beneficial to those who need to keep a closer eye on their little one - as well as those who feel anxious about putting their baby down to sleep - as they can measure things such as breathing, movement, and heart rate. While these devices are simply for monitoring and are not considered medical equipment, they can offer some added peace of mind and will alert parents if anything seems unusual.

Baby monitor FAQ

VOX stands for Voice Activated Alert and is a feature that provides extra peace of mind and helps preserve the battery life of portable baby monitors. Models that feature VOX will remain in sleep mode or on standby until they detect sound. When this happens, they will send an alert to the parent to let them know that their little one has woken up.

As a general rule, you're going to want to put your baby monitor where it gets the best view of your little one. This varies depending on the set-up of your room, but, wall mounted somewhere high, or placed on a high cabinet, is an ideal location if you want to be able to see the whole room. Those who want a closer view of their little one will be better off placing the baby monitor on a chest or shelf near the cot. It is important to remember, however, that cords should be kept as far away from little ones as possible to prevent unnecessary risks.

It is not advisable to attach your baby monitor to your little one's cot as it can create unnecessary safety issues.
Having said that, if you really do feel that this is where it should go, it is important to ensure that it is as far away from your baby as possible and that you are using a wireless model. If your chosen model has a mounting option, this will probably be the easiest way. However, it's also possible to purchase a separate, universal mount. Shake the cot with force to ensure that the baby monitor cannot fall and ensure that it is placed at the end that your little one's feet go to. You'll need to make sure that the unit cannot be reached or knocked.

Please note: These instructions are simply the safest way to mount your baby monitor to your cot if you choose to do so, we do not consider this a safe option, nor do we recommend it.


Disclaimer
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Jessica Jones
Written by
Jessica Jones

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