Print Katie Vollmuth, M.D.

As moms we all do it. We all tell expecting moms what they need or don’t need and how to do this and that.

I’m just as guilty as the next. Diapers, daycares, clothes, feeding, etc. One topic that I feel commonly becomes a debate is that of baby monitors. One friend says that you must use a certain brand because of its video screen feature, or you must use another kind or else your baby may die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

So how do you choose? What do the experts say? You just want what is best for your baby, right?

First you have to decide what kind of a parent you are planning on being. Are you the type of parent that needs a constant influx of information on your sleeping infant or do you just want to know when they are awake? I’m the latter. I don’t need to see them or know the temperature in the room or be falsely alarmed multiple times a night. I just want to know when I need to get up and feed/soothe/replace pacifier.

Here are some tips that may help when choosing which is best for you.

Baby monitors should NOT be used as a strategy for preventing SIDS. Period.
Do not choose a monitor on the assumption that your baby will be safer with a certain brand. The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn as well as the Federal Drug Administration has made this exact statement and the FDA has never cleared or approved a product to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS. So you can take this off the list of what a baby monitor should do. Any claims that a company makes in this regard are false.

What bells and whistles do you want?
There are simple monitors that will only transmit sound while others will have a video monitor, tell you the temperature in the room, vibrate instead of make noise or alarm if your baby does not move for 20 seconds. Of course these extras come with a price and that is not just monetary. Think about what you want to be woken up for in the middle of the night.

Your monitor may not only allow you to listen to your baby, but you may also get to listen to your neighbors. And keep in mind that this can work both ways. I know this from experience when my monitor let me listen in to an anonymous neighbor’s phone conversation one night.

Unfortunately it was not that interesting. Other things can interfere with your monitor too, including cell phones, cordless phones, radios in addition to other monitors. Do not expect your monitor to pick up on alien signals, which is unfortunately reserved just for Hollywood. Test out your monitor for a day or two to see if these will be problems for you.

Check to make sure the monitor has not been recalled.
A few models of The Angelcare Movement and Sound Baby Monitors have been recalled recently. The cord attached to the sensor pad could be pulled into the crib and strangle the infant. There have been two reported deaths due to this problem.

Ok, now let me tell all of you expecting moms that you should get as much sleep now because pretty soon you won’t get any at all. Oh wait, this is another one of those things again that all experienced moms say. Sorry.

Dr. Katie Vollmuth is a pediatrician with Alegent Creighton Clinic in Gretna. She blogs a few times each month on BlogAlegent.com and momaha.com.



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One Response to How to Choose the Best Baby Monitor

  1. Young says:

    Good point, Using a WiFi baby monitor is somehow risky. Last week, a creepy guy cracked my wi-fi baby camera. I don’t know how he did it, but I was lucky to stop him in time.

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