Baby Monitors

When Baby Monitors Are Necessary – 19 Situations

Ashley Davis

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Are baby monitors necessary?

When I had my firstborn, I remember feeling overwhelmed and constantly checking on my little one while she slept. I would tiptoe into her room every hour to make sure she was breathing and still comfortable.

When he got a fever around his second month, I knew that going in and out of his room wasn’t going to help him get better, but I couldn’t shake the anxiety. That’s when a friend recommended using a baby monitor.

At first, I was hesitant. Did I need another gadget in my already cluttered nursery? Wasn’t constantly checking on my baby just part of being a parent?

However, after some research and consideration, I decided to give it a try. And let me tell you, it was a game changer.

Using a baby monitor not only allowed me to have peace of mind while my little one slept, but it also gave me the freedom to do other tasks around the house without constantly worrying about my baby’s safety.

But are baby monitors really necessary? The answer is, it depends.

Baby monitors are an absolute must-have if you have a baby with medical conditions like hypoxia or pediatric cardiomyopathy. Plus, they’re a game-changer for sleep training and keeping an eye on your little one while you’re away. Trust me, they’ll give you some much-needed peace of mind! Safety and sleep training made easy.

In the next section of this article, I have listed and elaborated on 19 situations when you need a baby monitor.

When Baby Monitors Are Necessary? 19 Situations:

Heavy sleeper:

If you or your partner are heavy sleepers, a baby monitor can be a lifesaver in alerting you when your baby needs attention. This is especially important for newborns who may need to be fed every few hours.

According to McKenzie Hyde, a Certified Sleep Coach from AmeriSleep, light sleepers are often sensitive to external stimuli like light, smell, and noise, whereas heavy sleepers are not easily disturbed.

If you frequently find yourself unaware of events that occurred overnight, such as a baby crying for hours, you likely fall into the category of a heavy sleeper. In such cases, using a baby monitor can be a beneficial solution.

Working parents:

If you and your partner are both working parents, a baby monitor can help you keep an eye on your little one while you’re away. This is especially helpful for new moms who may be transitioning back to work and still want to check in on their babies throughout the day.

With a baby monitor, you can easily see and hear your baby from another room or even while at work. This can provide peace of mind and help working parents feel more connected to their child.

When working outdoors in your home such as in the garden and need to keep an eye on your baby inside the house. Local monitors without Wi-fi and with good range can receive baby signals up to 100 feet and can rely on them to comfortably alert you if you are in your garage, basement, garden, or even in the attic.

Live in a big house:

If you have a large house or live in a multi-story home, hearing your baby from another room may be challenging. A baby monitor with long-range or multiple receivers can help ensure that you hear your baby no matter where they are in the house. In a large house with multiple floors, it is also easy to monitor your baby using a baby monitor instead of constantly going back and forth.

If your movement is limited:

If you have a medical condition that restricts your movement, a baby monitor can help you keep an eye on your baby without excessive physical strain. If you had a c-section, for example, a baby monitor would be extremely helpful in monitoring your baby while you recover.

When hosting guests

If you are hosting guests or having a party, a baby monitor helps keep an eye on your sleeping baby without disturbing the event. It also allows you to continue with your activities knowing that you will be alerted if your baby wakes up.

If your baby has hypoxia:

If your baby has hypoxia, where the oxygen concentration in the blood can be low due to lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia, or pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), it is crucial to have a baby oxygen monitor like Owlet’s Dreamsock or Babysat.

These monitors are specifically designed to detect low oxygen levels and can be a lifesaver for your baby. The best part is that these monitors are eligible for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), ensuring that you can prioritize your baby’s health while also maximizing savings. Read the symptoms of hypoxia on WebMD here.

If your baby has pediatric cardiomyopathy:

If your baby was born with pediatric cardiomyopathy where the heart muscles are weak and cannot pump blood properly, a baby monitor with heart rate tracking such as Owlet Dreamsock can provide peace of mind. It alerts you if your baby’s heart rate is either too high or too low, allowing you to seek medical attention promptly.

Regrettably, as per the Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry, around 79 percent of pediatric cardiomyopathy cases are of unknown origin(idiopathic). These cases require diligent management to address the condition effectively. Read about the symptoms here.

When working from home office:

When working from home in your home office and need to keep an eye on your baby in the crib or the playard, a baby monitor is an excellent tool to have. You can easily attend to your work knowing that you will be alerted if your baby needs attention.

If you have a pet:

If you have pets that are curious about the new addition to the family, a baby monitor can help you keep an eye on them. This way, you can ensure that your pet and baby do not get into any unexpected or potentially harmful situations. Humane Society has a guide on 5 ways to prepare your pet for a baby’s arrival.

To keep an eye on during independent playtime:

If you want to keep an eye on your baby during independent playtime, a baby monitor can come in handy. You can watch and listen to your baby without having to constantly check on them physically. This allows you to get some work done or catch up on some much-needed rest while still keeping an eye on your little one.

When traveling:

When traveling and staying in a hotel or an unfamiliar place, there may be situations where you have to sleep in a separate room with a baby and feel uncertain about their safety. If you have a short-range monitor using a local network and not Wi-fi, request the hotel staff or your host to have your baby sleep in a room close to you.

If you have a Wi-fi monitor, this won’t be a problem as you can access the feed whenever you are as long as there is an internet connection. Make sure your Wi-Fi monitor allows you to connect to public Wi-Fi which provides non-password-protected Wi-Fi access. Some monitors using high encryption such as Nanit do not connect to hotel or public WPA Wi-fi. Check out this guide on how to still connect Nanit to hotel Wi-Fi without a password.

To remind you of feeding times:

If you find yourself forgetting to feed your baby, a monitor with feeding reminder alerts can help you stay on track. Some brands such as Infant Optics have reminders for 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 hours and are very helpful to ensure that you do not skip your baby’s feeding time.

To help your baby sleep:

If your baby has difficulty sleeping, a monitor with built-in night light and white noise machine can be beneficial. These features can help soothe and calm your baby, creating a more conducive sleeping environment. However, it is important to note that these features may not work for every baby and can potentially become a distraction instead.

If you are concerned about SIDs:

If you have concerns about your baby’s susceptibility to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs) due to a medical condition or the sleep environment, consider using a breathing baby monitor. These monitors are specifically designed to alert you if they do not detect breathing for a specified period, typically 10, 15, or 20 seconds depending on the brand. Owlet, Nanit, Miku, and Cubo Ai are some of the brands with this technology.

Do note that baby monitors are not the answer or aren’t marketed as a solution to SIDs. Also, beware of false red alerts in monitors such as Nanit that use computer vision, a new machine learning technology. Owlet’s pulse oximetry technology is medical-grade and is much more accurate. Read this study on Owlet’s accuracy.

To ensure the safety of your baby while sleeping, it is important to take all necessary precautions. Provide a secure sleep environment with a firm surface and avoid placing any clothing or unsafe crib bumpers(with pads). Crib bumpers are unsafe and are now banned in the US. Instead, consider using alternative options to keep your little one safe.

If you sleep in separate rooms:

If you sleep in a separate room and want to be alerted when your baby cries, get a monitor. I prefer monitors with 2-way audio which allow you to soothe your baby remotely without having to physically get up and go to their room. If you want a monitor that specifically detects when your baby starts crying, consider these cry-sensing monitors.

However, do keep in mind that constantly using this feature may disrupt your baby’s sleep patterns as they may become accustomed to being soothed through the monitor instead of by you.

To monitor room temperature:

If your house temperature varies and you want to ensure your baby’s room is at a safe temperature, choose a monitor with a thermometer feature. This will allow you to monitor the temperature of the room and adjust accordingly to keep your baby comfortable.

Do note that most baby monitor thermometers are inaccurate and can show you readings that are wildly off from the true room temperature. Thermistors and thermocouples used by most monitor brands are impacted by the camera temperature and since the sensor is built into the camera, its temperature is impacted by the camera which heats up after several hours of use. If you are getting a monitor with a temperature sensor, consider getting LeapFrog or Sense-U which are a lot more accurate.

It helps if you have a hearing impairment:

For parents with hearing impairments, a baby monitor with visual alerts or vibrations can be very beneficial in keeping track of their baby’s movements and needs. For example, a monitor with vibration or LED sound indicators can be beneficial to a parent who can’t hear as audible sounds from a baby aren’t able to alert them. Check out these vibrating monitors for deaf parents.

For sleep training:

Baby monitors can also be helpful for parents who are sleep-training their baby. By using a monitor, they can check on their baby’s sleep patterns and determine if any changes need to be made. A monitor such as Nanit has advanced sleep insights and actionable tips to help you train your better to get better sleep.

If you live in a noisy area:

If you live in an area with high noise levels or busy streets, making it difficult to hear your baby. For example, if you live in a city with constant traffic noise, a baby monitor can help you hear your baby crying or moving around even if the windows are closed.

FAQs on the necessity of baby monitors

What are baby monitor benefits?

Baby monitors offer a multitude of benefits, including life-saving alert features and enhanced safety for your little one. With advanced monitoring features and sensors that detect temperature, unsafe sleep positions, and dangerous environmental conditions, they provide peace of mind. Additionally, the ability to check on your baby remotely adds to the convenience and reassurance they provide. Read about all the benefits of baby monitors here.

What are baby monitor disadvantages?

While baby monitors have many benefits, they also come with some disadvantages. One of the main concerns is privacy and security, as these devices can potentially be hacked or accessed by others. Another disadvantage is the reliance on technology, which may fail at times and give false alarms or not work as intended. EMF radiation emitted by monitors is a legitimate health concern, as is the strangulation risk associated with wired monitors. Additionally, some parents may become overly reliant on the monitor and not respond quickly enough if their baby needs them. Read this article with 8 reasons why baby monitors are bad.