Buying a Baby Monitor

A baby monitor helps you respond quickly to your baby’s cries and movements. This guide helps take the confusion out of buying a baby monitor so you can find a system that delivers safety and peace of mind.

Baby Monitors 101: How to buy a baby monitor

A good baby monitor lets you know your baby’s safe and sound without needing to enter the room — a real benefit if your baby is a light sleeper. As a bonus, with new video-streaming technology, you can literally keep an eye on baby right from your smartphone or tablet. It’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for before buying a baby monitor. Any extra features you might find useful — for example, vibration, lights, video streaming and night vision — are key factors to keep in mind before making a purchase. You should also test the range between transmitter and monitor as signal strengths may vary depending on the model.   

Types of Baby Monitors


Audio Baby Monitors

An audio monitor uses a microphone to transmit baby’s sounds to a receiver (also called the parent monitor). The volume control on most is quite good, but many models can also be set to vibrate or light up — useful features if your listening area is noisy. A high-quality audio monitor is often sufficient for any household, since crying is the most common sign that your baby needs attention. However, many parents prefer the reassurance of a baby camera so they can keep an eye on baby from outside the nursery. 

Audio/Video Baby Monitors

This type of monitor has a tabletop or wall-mounted camera and microphone that streams audio and video to the parent monitor. One key advantage is convenience: baby noises alert you, and you can quickly check the video screen to see if your baby needs assistance. With an audio-only monitor, you’d have to run to the nursery. Price can vary depending on the sorts of features you’d like. These can include night vision and live recording (a convenient way to capture memories of your baby).

Wireless Network Baby Monitors

 A wireless network monitor sends sound and video directly to your computer, smartphone or tablet. A little more expensive, it’s an attractive choice for parents who would rather check their iPhone than a clunky parent monitor. Another plus is that the digital signal is always encrypted so there’s no worry about interference from radio and TV signals from other homes, which can happen with analog-style baby monitors described below.  

Analog Baby Monitors

Analog monitors do not “encrypt” your baby’s signal as it travels between monitors. This means that interference can occur; for example, you might hear sounds from your neighbour's house, or they might hear your baby’s cries as they listen to the radio. It’s a less expensive option, and certainly viable if you live out in the country with few surrounding houses. If you live in the suburbs or city, however, you may prefer a digital monitor. Analog styles are usually found in audio-only baby monitors. 

Digital Baby Monitors

A digital baby monitor encodes the sound signal between the transmitter and the parent monitor, so it's nearly impossible for interference to occur with other radio or television signals. More common than analog because of the added privacy feature, digital monitors make up the majority of audio, audio/video and wireless network baby monitors.

Baby Monitor Tips:

  • Baby monitors are not a substitute for parental supervision — be sure to check in on your baby often, even with a baby monitor
  • If you have children in 2 or more rooms, consider buying a baby monitor with multiple transmitters
  • If you have a large house, consider buying multiple parent monitors so you can hear baby from several locations
  • Houses with finicky heating will benefit from the temperature sensor found on some baby monitors
  • Great for working parents, baby monitors with night vision, remote-controlled lullabies and a night light can help you soothe your baby back to sleep

Baby Monitor Features

Transmitter +

The transmitter picks up the sounds and/or video of your baby and sends them to the receiver (parent monitor). Often the transmitter can be mounted to the nursery wall — either to save space or capture video from a better angle. Some parent monitors are compatible with two or more transmitters, which is helpful if you have more than one baby in the house. Transmitters can also come with useful extra features, such as temperature monitoring or a night light.

Parent Monitor (the receiver) +

Your parent monitor receives the audio and video signal from the transmitter in baby’s room. Usually wireless, you can either carry the parent monitor with you or place it within listening distance. If you’re always on-the-go throughout the house, a lightweight clip-on monitor is a good option. Alternatively, you can also buy two or more parent monitors to place in different rooms.

Signal Strength +

The signal strength between the transmitter and the parent monitor can vary from model to model. You should measure the longest potential distance in your home, then check to ensure the monitor will perform within that range before making a purchase.

Night Vision +

Some cameras have a night vision feature. This lets you see your baby in the dark without the need of a night light, which may disturb your baby’s sleep.

Intercom +

Some baby monitors have an intercom, so you can talk through your monitor to soothe and calm baby without entering the room.

Volume Control +

Whether it’s a manual dial or digital control, a volume control lets you adjust the level of sound that your monitor receives. This raises or lowers the volume to match the noise-level in the room.

Vibration or Lights +

Some parent monitors will vibrate or emit lights when your baby cries, so you can see or feel your baby when you’re engaged in noisy activities, such as vacuuming or watching a movie.

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Baby Monitor Maintenance Tips

  • Keep food and all liquids away from your baby monitor
  • Consider investing in rechargeable batteries for your battery-operated parent monitor
  • Wipe the LCD screen of the parent monitor with a soft cloth when it’s smudged or dirty

Did you know?

Unlike digital monitors, analog baby monitors don’t encode their signals. This means that a signal from your neighbour’s telephone or TV may come through your baby monitor!
The signal range between the transmitter and parent monitor can vary from model to model. Estimate the range of use in your house before selecting a baby monitor.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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