Baby talk: Buying a baby monitor

Even if you live in a small HDB flat, a baby monitor still gives you peace of mind by allowing you to know how your baby is doing from one room away. It also frees you up to run chores in another part of the home or enjoy a movie in the living room while your baby sleeps.

Baby monitors on the market range from basic radio receivers to web-compatible video monitors that you can use when you return to work. Here’s what to look for when choosing a baby monitor.

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Types of baby monitors

  • Audio-only. The most basic baby monitors are a set of small radios that transmit the sounds a baby makes through radio frequency, like a walky-talky does. This lets you hear when your baby awakes or starts to cry, which is great if your baby sleeps in his own room. Some models come with a light that flashes along with the baby’s cries.
  • Video monitors. If you want the added security of seeing your baby, you can get a monitor with a camera and a hand-held screen so you can see how your baby is positioned at all times. This can be reassuring if you have a baby that likes flipping over.
  • Movement-sensing monitors. These monitors come with a motion sensing pad you put under the sheet, which warns you if the baby has stopped moving for some time. This feature is not really useful for most parents but some find it reassuring.
  • Web baby monitor. This is a cross between a baby monitor and web surveillance software. You can hook up your baby monitor to your computer, and have it wirelessly transmit the video and sound across the internet. This is an option if you’re returning to work but still want to monitor your child’s nap times. You may have to pay a monthly fee for the service.


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What to know about baby monitors

There are some pointers about baby monitors that you should know about for when you are shopping for one. They are as follows:

  • Be aware that baby monitors can pick up frequencies or static from other devices in the house or even from the neighbour’s home, like a cordless phone or handphone. You should choose a monitor that uses a different frequency band.
  • Analog monitors are not encoded so anyone can pick up the signals. If you want more privacy, look for a digital monitor which uses encoded transmission.
  • Baby monitors tend to consume a lot of batteries, especially wireless sets, so you may want to get one with a charging station or invest in rechargeable batteries.
  • Check for the maximum range of the baby monitor. Small ranges are good for apartments while a house needs a larger range.


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How many receivers should I get?

Should you get a set with one receiver or two? This depends on your lifestyle. If you live in an apartment, one receiver should be good enough. If you live in a house however, you might want to have two receivers, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. Alternatively, get a handheld that clips onto your belt so it follows you around.

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