An essential gear for most mums and dads, a baby monitor keeps an eye on your little one whenever you cannot. It's a smart contraption that can earn you and your child another precious hour or two of shut-eye, without the need for frequent check-ins at night. And, the latest models do far more than just stream videos.
Parents can tap into a real-time video feed of the baby's room on their phones and talk to them via speakers, whether at home or out. Some devices go the extra mile with breathing bands to monitor oxygen levels. If you're a first-time parent, who's mulling over the benefits of installing one, we spoke to a parenting expert and UAE-based mums for the best advice.
Why should I get a baby monitor?
It's in the period from infancy to toddlerhood that parents usually invest in a baby monitor, says Nalini Sankar, a former Dubai resident who is a toddler parenting expert and a right-brain education coach, currently based in Chennai, India.
"Between the years zero and one, the baby increasingly needs monitoring, even in sleep. This can get very exhausting for new parents who'll be spending sleepless days and nights to keep track of what their baby is picking up and putting in their mouth," said Sankar.
Aliya Baradia, a 30-year-old Kenyan-Indian mum to a toddler and one-year-old baby, has a baby monitor set up in each child's room. The Dubai-based mum tells us that the device offers her peace of mind, whenever her kids are alone. She said: "I don't like to disturb them by walking in and out of the room, because they're sleep trained. It's better not to check in on them frequently, so I prefer to look through the cameras."
Another advantage of a baby monitor is access to previously recorded footage. Tanya Haroun, a 39-year-old Syrian-French mum in Dubai, uses her baby monitor to backtrack on the day's events, just in case the baby had fallen over. Bonus points if the device can send crying alerts to your phone, she adds.
Sankar also tells us that while these devices are convenient, it's always beneficial for the parent to co-sleep with a newborn's crib in the same room. This helps the child develop a bond with the family early on.
Which baby monitor is the best for me?
Nearly every parent is concerned about the range of a baby monitor, above everything else. A faulty connection renders the camera useless, after all. You can pick up a Wi-Fi device for out-of-home use or a unit that only works at home within a limited range.
Sankar says to consider your floor plan, to make sure there'll be enough range for the feed to reach different parts of the house. Moreover, it's always safe to have a power source with a backup battery, in case of a blackout.
According to Haroun, her older Wi-Fi model had been unreliable till she brought home the Nanit Pro smart monitor. She finds it less user-friendly than non-Wi-Fi versions, however. "With local-range baby monitors, not everyone has to download an app to access the video, so it was pretty easy for my nanny to figure out, too," she added.
Some mums and dads, like Baradia, make do with home security cameras that double as baby monitors. After testing several monitors on the market, Baradia says Xiaomi's 360-degree cameras worked the best for her family.
We've listed our picks below so you can compare different baby monitors for yourself. Don't forget to shop with Prime for free, same- or next-day delivery.
1. Best Overall: Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor and Floor Stand
- Instantaneous real-time footage and audio
- Compatible with iOS, Android, Kindle, Echo Show devices
- Audio plays even when the phone is locked
- Get sleep statistics and highlight reel every morning
- Breathing Band to monitor breathing
- Can be too complicated for first-time users
The Nanit Pro is one of the most advanced baby monitors out there, because it conducts sleep studies in your absence. Set up the 1080p HD (high definition) camera in or near the crib and get clear footage of your little one delivered to your phone via the app. The Wi-Fi connection is snappy, points out Haroun. "I tried out the camera with my older son recently, and the video and two-way audio are absolutely instantaneous. It also comes with a Breathing Band that the baby wears, for detecting movement," she said. Besides real-time motion notifications, get alerted when your baby cries or the temperature in the room fluctuates. It also plays white noise and nature sounds to ease a child's restless nap. Your Pro Camera comes with a floor stand, as well.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh112.21 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh80 and two years for Dh113.
2. Best Budget: Xiaomi Mi Home Security Camera 360 Degree 2K, White
- 2K video stream with two-way audio
- 360-degree horizontal view
- Clear nighttime footage
- Can be wall mounted
- Not a dedicated baby monitor
From night vision to 360-degree angles, the Xiaomi Mi Home security camera does it all. Link it to your smartphone via Wi-Fi and control the device, by zooming in, titling and panning it from side to side. Baradia has had a good experience with the range away from home, vouching for the clear 2K picture and voice, even in the dark. She also likes being able to see the entire room. The footage is stored either on a micro SD card or in seven-day cloud storage. Luckily, your order comes with a 64GB SD card, so the camera can be put to work right away.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh12 and two years for Dh17.
3. Best Audio-Only Baby Monitor: Philips Avent (SCD502) DECT Monitor
- User-friendly and durable
- Can be used on AA batteries
- Delivers loud and clear audio
- Range of up to 300 metres
- Drains battery quickly
- No two-way audio communication
For an audio-only baby monitor, consider this Philips Avent model. It consists of a parent unit and a monitor that have an outdoor range of up to 300 metres. The DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology picks up every sound from the baby's room and delivers it to your unit with light indicators. When the monitor is out of range, the parent unit alerts the guardian. You can carry the device powered on two AA batteries, while you see to chores around the house. Reviewers say it's easy to use and fairly durable, having survived drops, but most of all, they note that it's sensitive to even the slightest sounds.
4. Best for Travel: Lollipop Baby Camera Monitor, Cotton Candy
- Portable baby monitor, ideal for travelling, say reviews
- Flexible mounting stem
- High-quality video stream
- Two-way audio
- Adorable design for the kids' bedroom
- Video recording requires subscription
- Temperature sensor is sold separately
Baradia also has her eyes set on the popular Lollipop baby camera. Its flexible stem can be wrapped around the crib, so that the lens faces the baby directly. The 1080p footage is accessible on both iOS and Android devices through Wi-Fi, with two-way audio chatting. Like the Nanit Pro, the Lollipop detects crying and plays white noise, but it's only with an additional sensor unit that the camera can record temperature and humidity levels. Mums and dads in the reviews love all the playful perching possibilities, since the camera is portable. They also comment on the excellent picture quality and how they can view footage from two Lollipop cameras on one screen.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh56.91 for 12 months with select banks.
5. Best Value: VTech VM923 Video Baby Monitor
- Works without Wi-Fi
- 19-hour battery life
- Plays white noise and lullaby
- Long 304.8-metre range
- Two-way audio communication
- Small display
Monitor your baby on a separate 2.8-inch display, with its stream captured by VTech's non-Wi-Fi baby camera. The parent unit carries an LCD (liquid crystal display) screen along with controls, which pan, tilt and zoom the camera lens in the baby's room from up to 304.8 metres away. At this budget-friendly value, you get two-way audio communication, night vision, temperature detection and remote access to ambient sounds and calming melodies. On a single charge, the baby monitor runs for up 19 hours, but the battery life is easily extended if you switch to the audio-only mode. Reviewers consider the monitor as a decent affordable option, with long-range connectivity and all-night battery life.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.