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Monitoring the Situation

Parents now have the option of using the latest in audio and video baby monitoring to listen to and watch their baby from afar. Many parents find that this type of technological surveillance buys them peace of mind, by allowing them to roam freely around the house while they are still keeping tabs on their baby. If you choose to use a monitoring device, camera, and/or app, you may want to keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Nothing beats the real thing. First and foremost, never let baby-monitoring technology substitute for direct supervision and taking sensible safety measures. Also, be aware there is unfortunately no evidence that using a monitor decreases the chance of SIDS.

  • Range. Baby monitors themselves are only as good as their technological limitations, so we suggest you take a look at what kind of listening range, clarity of view, and data they each offer. The kind that sync with some of the baby-monitoring apps, of course, have solved what used to be a more common range limitation by making use of cloud-based access.

  • It works both ways. There are steps you can take to minimize the potential for interference, hacking, or fuzzy reception, starting with simply following the product instructions. This typically includes recommended security precautions such as setting a strong password for the monitor and your home's wireless network, updating software regularly, and keeping other electronic devices away from the monitoring unit as necessary.

  • Disrupting the peace. Some of you may find that leaving the monitor on at night significantly disturbs whatever limited sleep you stand to get, causing you to be wide awake in response to your slumbering baby's every twitch or snort.

  • Channel surfing. In this age of modern electronics, there's more than enough to interfere with your monitor, including cordless phones, cell phones, radio stations, and other monitors. Try to find a monitor with good reception and more than one channel to decrease the likelihood of interference. We also suggest holding onto your receipt in case you run into any unforeseen technological conflicts that become apparent only once you put the monitor to use at home.

  • Bells and whistles. Give some thought to which bells and whistles you really want and which simply serve to raise the price. Some of the available added features include a portable receiver with a belt clip, two-way walkie-talkie radio capability, night vision, a room-temperature sensor, a receiver that vibrates or flashes lights so you can leave the sound turned off, the ability to watch your baby on your computer or other devices using your wireless network, and the possibility of purchasing multiple portable receivers that can accompany a single base station.

  • Safety reminders. All monitor bases and additional units should be wireless or, if they have a cord, must be well out of baby's reach.

Last Updated
Heading Home With Your Newborn, 4th Edition (Copyright 2020 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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