Why use + How to Choose a Baby
Latest update: September 18, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
Can a baby video monitor really be useful to
supervise, or even to help baby sleep? (Yes! But ...) Let me share some
expert thoughts and
reviews to help you decide.
A baby video monitor
is the modern version of the
classical audio monitor. You do not only
hear your baby, but can actually see her: how she's lying, playing,
trying to settle ...
This is not only fun and sometimes amusing to watch but it's actually a great sleep help tool.
It helps you observe your child in a way not possible otherwise. You
witness her (trying to) settle to sleep. That can teach you so much
about what she can or cannot do, which is so valuable at any stage in
learning to sleep well (staying asleep, learning to self soothe, ...).
Imagine putting your little one down and leaving the room. What does
do? Look around to discover her room? Rub her eyes? Is she happily
babbling ... or is that a cry? And why is she crying?
Did she loose the pacifier? Or the cuddly toy? Maybe she's really
or bumped her head and needs your help ... Or maybe she's just fussing
while trying to find a good position, so
you can leave her at it for a while. That's the real value of a baby
video monitor: you know more, and can use that information to guide
your child to more independent sleep, in a gentle way that fits her
abilities and needs.
A video monitor is also great to keep an eye on a toddler who can
get out of bed. It helps if you can monitor from a distance and don't
need to stand at the door.
And you can use it during play time at any age, while you have to be in
Are there no drawbacks at all then? Yes there are.
Apart from the cost which may make you hesitate, the main drawback is
that for some parents the video images give too much information. You
may get accustomed to seeing every little move your baby makes and it
may stress you unnecessarily. But if you use it wisely, you'll
have nothing but benefits from it.
So generally, I don't recommend it as an
absolute must-have (especially if the cost is way above your budget)
but if you can get a good one one, it is absolutely great value.
How to choose: My Top 3 Baby Video Monitors
Starting at around $120 at Amazon, a good video monitor is more
expensive than a
typical audio monitor. Each of the monitors below has secure digital
signals, night-vision and gives you the option to plug it in or use
(rechargeable) batteries. They each have a specific extra that I like
and can be quite useful. Pick the one that appeals to you most!
Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor has good
sound and video quality (infrared camera).
A good feature is the temperature sensor, displaying the baby room
temperature on your receiver.
Not many other video monitors have
this but I find it important because a healthy (SIDS risk reduction)
room temperature is critical for young babies.
AVENT Digital Video Baby Monitor has brilliant
image and sound quality.
Very nice features are the built-in night light and the lullabies you
can play for your baby, but there's no two-way speaking option and no
Most importantly this is the most reasonably priced of my preferred
camera monitors and it does offer a good price/quality balance.
A drawback is that sound switches on automatically
and that that's not very
sensitive. Some parents have reported it only to switch on
when baby starts crying loudly.
And it won't really allow you to hear baby's
breathing if you just want to check on that (I highly recommend
their basic Philips
Avent Basic Audio Monitor if this is
your main need).
If you can get it at a good price, the Hello Baby Baby Video Monitor, is a really
Image and sound are simply good. It has a decent talk-back function.
A baby video monitor can work both ways: it can give you too much
information, and make you stress out: what on earth is she doing? And
end up going in more than necessary.
But, it can be a superb help to
learn about your baby's sleep and actually help you teach her to sleep
It's a very personal choice and it's best to think about it well before
Once you have a good camera monitor, you can also put it to good use
later years, whether to monitor bigger kids when sleeping
or playing or even at your front door as a anti-burglary camera.