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Baby monitors can give parents peace of mind when the baby is sleeping in another room, and are especially great if you live in a larger house and the nursery isn’t necessarily within easy ear shot. (But even if you’re room sharing with your baby, you’re not like to always going right there next to them for every nap!)
There are three different functions that baby monitors offer: sound, video, and movement. You can buy monitors that do either or all of those functions. The fourth option is a mobile movement monitor.
These are the more traditional style of monitor, kind of like a one-way walkie-talkie. Audio monitors are handy for when your baby is having a nap, or overnight, and you might not hear them cry if they wake up. The great thing about these sound monitors is the receiver is mobile, so you can take it with you wherever you are (within range) and you’ll be able to hear when the baby wakes up – for example, if you’re outside gardening, or busy somewhere else in the house. One important consideration with the sound monitors is the distance you want that signal to travel, as some monitors have much better range than others.
Being able to check in on your sleeping baby, without having to open the door and risk disturbing them, can be really reassuring. You can see what position your baby is sleeping in, if they get themselves tangled in their bedding, and keep an eye on if they’re awake in the cot – all without opening the bedroom door and alerting your baby to your presence.
Movement monitors pick up on baby’s movements – specifically their breathing. Movement monitors will set off an alarm if there has been absolutely no movement in the cot for a certain period of time (usually around 30 seconds.) While these monitors haven’t been proven to reduce the risk of SIDs, but they can still be very comforting to parents.
Be aware that if your baby rolls off the movement sensor you might get a false alarm, which can be a bit of a fright in the middle of the night! And also don’t forget to switch it off when you pick your baby up out of the cot, because the alarm will go off when the cot is empty.
Some movement monitors also allow you to adjust the sensitivity to reduce them picking up other movement in the room – for example, some are sensitive enough to pick up on a fan in your baby’s room.
These are similar to sleep apnea devices, though the ones bought from a store should still not be considered a medical device. They are more for parents’ peace of mind than an absolute guarantee safety device.
Mobile movement monitors attach directly to your baby in some way, usually clipped onto their nappy. Some of this style of monitor will vibrate in an attempt to rouse the baby if they sense no movement for a short period of time – usually around 15 seconds – and then set off an alarm, after around 30 seconds with no movement.
A couple of advantages with the mobile movement monitors is that they’re good to use them while bed sharing (either with parents, or twins/multiples sharing a cot), and also that the monitor goes wherever baby goes – so from their cot, to bassinet, to grandparents house, anywhere the baby sleeps they can have their monitor attached under their clothes.
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