baby monitor buying guide:
how to choose the right one

When you're expecting, it can feel like the list of new stuff you have to buy is practically never-ending. And the more parents you speak to, the longer the list is likely to grow. There's one item, however, that most parents (new and experienced) will agree is a must-have: the baby monitor.

You can’t be with baby every second of every day, and a baby monitor gives you peace of mind while they’re taking a nap so you can rest assured they’re okay while you finally sit down to enjoy a quiet cup of tea (for at least five minutes… hopefully).

mothercare home safety guide to keeping children safe

what does a baby monitor do?

Baby monitors are designed to help you keep an eye on your baby while they’re sleeping.[1] The transmitter is placed in their room and you take the monitor around the house with you, so you can hear any gurgles or cries. They're designed to alert you when your little one needs you, so you can get on with your day without having to tiptoe in and out of their room (and risk waking them up again after spending forever getting them down). 

do I need a baby monitor?

Not all parents use baby monitors – for example, if your home is small enough that you can hear your child from every room, you may not feel you need one. There are lots of pros to using a monitor though. There are even models with whizzy technology that, as well as keeping you alert to any sounds, have extras that allow you to see and soothe your baby and monitor their temperature and movements.

how to choose the best baby monitor for you?

Before you settle on your baby monitor, have a think about your day-to-day routine and what you need your monitor to help with:

  • do you want to monitor baby while you’re at work?
  • will you be using it in one room? Or roaming around the house?
  • do you need to be able to soothe baby without stepping foot in the room?
  • what about extra features like temperature and motion?

baby monitor models

There are a lot of baby monitors out there that offer extras, but first let's run through the basics:

  • analogue: analogue receivers are still available and do the job, although bear in mind that these frequencies can easily be picked up elsewhere. They can also pick up local radio frequencies and neighbouring monitors too, which can be a little unsettling
  • digital: today, most baby monitors work on digital frequencies, which provides a clear sound quality
  • dect (digitally enhanced cordless telecommunications): these offer the most secure connection to your baby’s monitor. The microprocessor makes sure that you can only hear sounds from baby’s nursery (so you won’t be interrupted by local radio)

audio monitors

Lots of parents are happy with an audio-only monitor. You can hear your baby’s cries and gurgles while you get on with your day-to-day jobs (or catch up on some much needed sleep).

You can find our audio baby monitors here >>

video monitors

A video monitor isn’t essential but they do have a lot of added benefits. Not only can you hear your little one, but you can see them too. This lets you know whether that gurgle was them waking up for their feed or just a sleepy shout.

Some video monitors also offer remote access. This means that you can keep an eye on baby even while you’re in the office or away from home.

You can find our video baby monitors here >>

other safety features

Thanks to modern technology, it's possible to choose from baby monitors with all sorts of clever little features: 

  • temperature: some baby monitors now monitor temperature and alert you when something isn’t right
  • sensors: new monitors can also pick up on movement. A sensor pad is placed under baby and alerts you if they haven’t moved in a period of time 
  • night lights: monitors with night lights are multi-tasking wonders, helping baby to sleep peacefully
  • talk-back: models with talk-back functions allow you to chat to baby from another room in the house. This is great if you’re helping them learn how to self-soothe
  • lullabies: some monitors now play lullabies that you can set off when your baby is restless (giving you a little extra break)
  • sound-activated lights: while baby sleeps and you get about your daily business, a sound-activated light will let you know if baby's made a sound that you might have missed if you've been doing something noisy like vacuuming or settling another child (or ticking something else off your list)

Browse our full range of baby monitors here >>


[1]. Your guide to choosing a baby monitor, Emma's Diary, [Accessed May 2019]