In which situations does a baby monitor make sense?
Baby monitors are ideal for when parents cannot hear their baby crying in the bedroom. Or, if mum and dad want to sit on the balcony or terrace during a summer evening and the nursery is out of earshot.
What is it not suitable for?
As an intercom for older children saying things like “Mum, I’m thirsty”. Experts even warn against creating permanent communication between parents and children. It can impair the development of independence in children.
Is it true that the neighbours can listen in on the baby monitor?
With analogue baby monitors, which are similar to simple walkie-talkies, neighbours can actually listen to your child or your conversations in your nursery. Conversely, there is a risk that you will not hear your own child crying, but the child from the apartment next door. This can be annoying, especially in densely populated residential areas.
So is a digital device better?
Digital baby monitors are considered to be particularly secure against eavesdropping and interference thanks to DECT technology. This abbreviation stands for “Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications” and is a wireless standard that is also used in cordless phones and smartphones. The catch: These devices are considered to have stronger and usually uninterrupted radiation.
How harmful is electrosmog?
Today’s device manufacturers reduce radiation to a minimum. The Angelcare Baby Monitor AC423-D, for example, is particularly low-radiation (“very good” at Öko-Test 07/2017). But even the other baby monitors presented below don’t come close to the limits permitted by the Federal Immission Control Act.
A good tip to further reduce radiation: Don’t place the baby monitor next to the baby’s head, and only turn it on when it’s really needed.
How large should the range be?
Ranges vary from model to model. Some manufacturers specify 150, others up to 330 metres. But beware: These ranges apply only in optimal conditions, that is when you use the baby monitor outside and without any obstructions. If walls or furniture hinder reception, the range is significantly lower than that specified by the manufacturer. It is usually about 40-50 m, which is sufficient for normal apartments.
Do I really need a baby monitor with a camera?
The advantage of an integrated camera: If your baby is crying, you can see at a glance whether they have just lost their pacifier or if there is a more serious problem. A video baby monitor also works perfectly well in the dark. This is ensured by infrared LEDs, which illuminate the surrounding area. The biggest disadvantage of the camera models is that the battery life of the mobile parent unit is lower than a purely acoustic baby monitor. A tip to save electricity: Don’t set the LCD display to the brightest level.
What happens if the baby doesn’t cry but an emergency occurs anyway?
If you want to be on the safe side in such cases, a device with a motion sensor mat could be the right choice. This mat is placed under the mattress and registers the movements of the baby; it even monitors their breathing and alerts you if there are any disruptions in your baby’s breathing patterns.
Your baby will surely enjoy the starry sky graphics which the Philips Avent Baby Monitor projects onto the ceiling of his or her nursery. It is also reassuring for parents; thanks to the good sound quality you will hear every giggle and hiccup. However your neighbours won't hear anything: the DETC technology promises a secure, private connection. Even if you turn off the sound on your receiver, lights will indicate the noise level in the room. This winner of the Stiftung Warentest also scores points due to a warning function which switches on if the baby monitor goes out of range. With a combination humidity and temperature sensor, you can even check if the indoor climate in the room is changing (i.e. if it’s too cold or too warm).
Pros at a glance:
+ Digital DECT technology
+ 330 m range
+ Up to 25 hours of battery life
+ Lullabies, starry sky
+ Sensor for temperature and humidity
Price: 141.92 GBP
This little night owl watches over your sleeping baby and “sings” five different lullabies. The low price doesn’t compromise the quality. This little owl got the best ratings (1.7 at Stiftung Warentest) for sound transmission. Thanks to digital interference-free technology, other baby monitors won’t cause interference. Best of all, there are no worries about electrosmog. The measured field strength at one metre away from the transmitter is far below the limit. Here’s a practical feature: you can clip the receiver directly to your belt. It can also be operated with both rechargeable batteries and a power supply. An LED indicator shows when the batteries are running low.
Pros at a glance:
+ Digital DECT technology
+ 300 m range
+ Sensor for temperature
Price: 62.63 GBP
The biggest selling point of this analogue guardian angel: radio signals are reduced to a minimum. The manufacturer collaborated with a German electrosmog expert to achieve this. The result: the transmitter, receiver and cable are free of low-frequency electric and magnetic fields. The device achieves this by use of range checking, which can be switched on and off. This means that the feature will only be activated when it is really needed (for example when you aren’t sure if you still have reception in the garden). One factor to consider is the main disadvantage that analogue devices have: they are susceptible to interference from other devices. However, this monitor has eight channels, so you can easily change the receiving channel in case of interference. Another feature of this model: a mat equipped with sensors, which is placed under the baby mattress. It triggers an alarm signal when respiration is disturbed.
Pros at a glance:
+ Analogue technology, particularly low in radiation
+ 8 channels
+ 250 m range
+ Switchable range checking
+ Sensor mat as an alarm for breathing interruptions
Price: 117.69 GBP
Tech fans especially love this technically sophisticated model. Thanks to an integrated camera, parents can not only listen but also see what their offspring is doing. During the day, the camera sends colour images from the baby to the parent unit’s LCD colour screen. When it gets dark, the infrared LEDs turn on automatically around the lens and the image turns black and white. Don’t worry: Your child won’t be disturbed by the infrared light, as it’s invisible to the human eye. Radiation is kept low by use of an eco-control setting. The device will only transmit if the baby becomes restless.