If you are looking for stilletto recommendations, you are in the wrong place. I need to be able to run after my kids without falling on my face. Want to know your smartphone's metapix? Sorry. I only write about whether it can survive 5 minutes in the hands of my kids.
I cannot believe that so much emphasis is put on this “must have” for today’s new parents, since our parents (and grandparents) did not have such a “trinket”. But then again, the technology did not exist during their time, and I am fairly confident that if it did exist, they would have been running out the door to get one too.
So if you have run out the door or are about to, you will find yourself staring at a shelf of many, many baby monitors. Ranging in price from $40 to $170. The new parent “voice” inevitably comes into your head and you begin to wonder what would happen if you bought the $40 monitor instead of the $170 monitor. Will you be a bad parent? Will something happen if you don’t get the pricier model? By this point you have skipped the whole thing and have either gone to another section of the store because you are overwhelmed, or have run out of the store all together. Which is what I did. And I ran directly to my computer.
There are some great blogs out there and websites that break down the facts on baby monitors. Everything from Consumer Reports to the product manufacturers themselves have something to like (or not like) about a particular monitor brand or monitor model. But in the end, a good source of information for me were websites like Amazon.com or BabysRUs.com where each product has a review page with parents’ direct comments. It does require a lot of reading and sifting, but generally worth the while. But I walked away from that reading five general take-home points (and crossed eyes).
First, you should definitely consider getting a monitor if you have a two story home (or a really long one story home). If you are downstairs in the kitchen and the baby is sleeping on the second floor, you will want the peace of mind (and safety aspect).
Second, depending on the distance and size of your home, you should look for a monitor that has the range you need. If you have a 1000 sq. foot home – you may be able to get a monitor that has a range of 900 feet. If you have a 4000 sq. foot home – you may want greater distance.
Third, if you are a techie and have a lot of cordless phones, computers, and wireless networks in your home, or if you are in close proximity to other homes, you really want to look into a monitor model that has digital technology. Especially the models that have the ability to be on different “frequencies”. You don’t want the microwave to set off the monitor nor do you want the neighbors to know that the baby’s diaper needs to be changed.
Fourth, some models only come with one “parental” unit. There is the base monitor that you put in the baby’s room and a parent unit that you bring with you to the kitchen, bathroom, family room etc. But again, if you have a two story home, especially a larger one, you may want more than one parental unit, so you don’t have to remember, once you are downstairs in the kitchen, that you left it in the master bedroom. And hence, have to go and get it. You may want to have two so you can leave one in your bedroom and one on the first floor. Unless you have a great memory or want the workout.
Lastly, the rest of the features are the extras in my opinion: room temperatures, intercoms, lights, music, recharge-ability, etc. These may be must haves or they may not. But it is best to know what you really want and then determine what you want to spend to get it.
You may, in the end, think that picking out the color of the baby’s room is a lot harder, but with this modern day nursery (and baby registry) must have, it is good to put some thought into what you want before you head to the closest baby store. After all, you need to leave some time (and some sanity) to figure out the vast array of baby bottles.