Video vs. Audio Baby Monitors

It used to be that a parent had to be in the room at all times in order to see and hear their baby. Those days are gone for good now that technology has stepped in. Babies can now be monitored for every movement and cry. But which monitor is best for your family? Audio? Video?  When choosing, you should consult consumer reports but also consider these specifics. If you're debating giving the monitor as part of a baby gift basket, then you're in the right place. It's great to first learn the difference between the two.

Audio baby monitors are still a good option for the parent who just wants to listen in for baby’s waking cries or to hear if baby has fallen asleep. They are portable, so you can take the receiver downstairs or out on the porch while the monitor end stays in baby’s room. These are good for basic sound monitoring. The clarity is good, but there can often be static and they do not allow you to go very far away from the monitor. You may, with some units, be able to go to the mailbox or to the garden depending on how far they are from the house.

But also consider the video baby monitor. Technology has finally caught up with moms’ and dads’ concerns. Not only is it possible to hear your baby in his room, but now you can see him as well. Many companies sell them and they offer varying levels of capabilities. ( is one company that sells a very high-end video and audio baby monitoring system. It’s called the "2.4GHz Wireless Baby Monitor Color Camera Kit w/Pan & Tilt Infrared Night Vision Camera & Handheld Monitor/Controller". This is intelligent electronic surveillance at its best. Parents now can watch their baby on a 2.4” LCD color receiver. Every move baby makes can be seen even in the daylight or the dark. Several small LED lights make it possible for baby to be viewed even in a dark room. It will record baby from up to 32 feet away. You can take the receiver end with you and transmission is clear without static. You can even use the included ear buds so no one else is disturbed by baby’s cries. One drawback is that it is only for indoor use. But most parents tend to stay in the house while baby is sleeping anyway. It does feature a two-way speaker so you can coo and talk to baby from downstairs and let your voice reassure him. If you know a parent who worries, this would make a nice baby shower gift. And it’s under $100.

Image by chunkysalsa on FlickrThere are all sorts of baby monitoring products that go from simple audio to in-shower receivers so a parent can take a shower while listening for baby. There are also monitors that pick up on baby’s sleep movements. The transmitter can be placed under baby’s mattress and if no movement is detected for 20 seconds, the monitor tone goes off. That may be too much information for some parents, but for parents of high-risk babies or preemies, this may be just the thing to reassure them baby’s ok. Another type of monitor is the window/motion sensor. For parents who worry about baby’s safety, this monitor is perfect. It will go off if any movement is detected in the room or at the window.

It’s up to you to decide how much monitoring you want to do. If your house is small and baby will be on the same floor as you for easy check-ins, maybe an audio monitor is all you need. If you have a large house or have a caregiver monitoring baby, you might want to go high-tech with a video monitor. Today’s monitors have drastically improved from the olden days. And they have actually come down to a decent price that will allow any concerned parent to own one. They make excellent new mom gifts and come in adorable shapes, colors, and styles to fit every nursery décor.

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