Mythbuster: Baby Video Monitors

Are you looking for some advice?

Then have a baby.

Nothing solicits more words of wisdom than news that you’re having your first child. Parents, friends, even coffee shop busy bodies will offer their thoughts on the dos and don’ts of parenting.

My experience suggests that the most common advice involves the don’ts more often than the dos. If you do this, disaster is imminent.

Mind you, I’ve never understood how all my friends could speak to the causal effect of an action if they’d never made this same grievous error, but…I digress.

One of the “mistakes” my wife and I made, we were told, was purchasing a video monitor for our child. The logic was that we’d be glued to the screen with every sound, and we’d constantly see terrible sleeping positions that would prompt us to rescue our child from non-existent harms.

Now, with two-plus years of video monitoring under our belt, I couldn’t disagree more. I find myself on the opposite end of the argument – I believe these are an absolute must.

First of all, it gives parents the ability – should they so choose – to see and hear what’s going on in their child’s room at all times. That’s important. If you go with an audio monitor, you will hear things (and occasionally not hear things) that will require a closer look from even the most laissez faire of parents. You’ll inch ever-so-quietly to their room, gingerly open the door, and see all is still right in their world…

Except for the countless times that your clandestine operation was quickly scouted out by your child, and you’re starting bedtime all over again.

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An added benefit is the ability to see your child do some very special things in their toddler years.  While the early days are generally all about making sure a blanket isn’t pulled up too high or that your baby remains on its back, they’ll graduate to a point that they’ll wake up and do some very special things. Our son’s morning babbling routine often includes singing our Alma Mater’s fight song, and engaging in full-blown conversations with his stuffed animals. Those are special moments that our child isn’t going to do in our presence.

If you do opt to follow this middle-aged man’s advice, a couple of additional suggestions:

First of all, strongly consider a high-end model. I can’t think of anything we utilize more than our monitor. Not only is it on throughout the night, but also during our son’s naps since his room is on the second floor and well outside of earshot. Depending on your child’s sleep pattern, that’s 12-14 hours/day that it’s in use, 365 days per year. These higher-end models also generally include night vision (a video monitor without it pretty well defeats the purpose) and an audio quality that will allow you to hear your child breath even if the camera is on the other side of your child’s room.

Secondly, if a part does go out on your monitor, don’t necessarily feel as if you need to buy a new unit. When the power cord went out on ours, we were able to buy a replacement cord from the manufacturer for $20 as opposed to spending another couple hundred dollars on a new monitor.

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