Thursday, March 24, 2005

Choosing the best baby monitor

Parents of infants find that a baby monitor is very useful for tracking their baby when they are out of the room. A baby monitor broadcasts from one unit to one or more receiving units so that the sounds the baby makes can be heard from other rooms in the house. This is especially handy when the baby is sleeping and parents are working or resting elsewhere. However, there are so many baby monitors on the market it can be difficult to know what to buy. The following features guide will help new parents select the best monitor for their needs.

Range
The package of each baby monitor will indicate the range for which the monitor is most effective. Make sure the monitor you purchase is powerful enough to transmit throughout your home since a weak monitor will be useless to you.

One or two way transmission
Most baby monitors transmit in one direction; in other words, one unit broadcasts the sounds and the other receives them so someone can hear them. Some baby monitors can be set to transmit in either direction. These allow you to use either unit to hear sounds from the other (usually with a switch to activate it for transmission). These are handy if you think you will commonly want to talk to someone who is in the baby's room, but many parents feel the extra expense for these units is unnecessary.

Number of receivers
The most basic baby monitors come with one transmitter and one receiver. However, if you have a large home or commonly spend time in multiple rooms while listening for the baby, a multiple receiver unit may be the best for you. This allows you to hear the transmissions on more than one unit so, for example you can leave a receiver in your bedtime for night-time and your office for naptime.

Audio or audio/video
A few baby monitoring units on the market offer video capability as well as audio. These units are substantially more expensive, but can provide peace of mind since you can see as well as hear your baby. If you are a nervous parent or have a special needs baby, this may be the best solution for you.

Other features
Some other features to consider are the weight, especially if you plan to carry the monitor around with you. Most audio monitors are meant to be portable and have clips to allow you to carry them hands-free. Also look for units that can use either battery or AC power outlets for the most flexibility.

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