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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Audio baby monitor
Digital video baby monitor

A baby monitor, also known as a baby alarm, is a radio system used to remotely listen to sounds made by an infant. The transmitter, equipped with a microphone, is placed near to the child and the receiver equipped with a speaker, is carried by, or near to, the person caring for the infant. Some baby monitors are bi-directional, using transceivers that allow the caregiver to speak back to the baby (parent talk-back). Some allow music to be played to the child.

One of the primary uses of baby monitors allows attendants to hear when an infant wakes, while out of immediate hearing distance of the infant. For those worried about sudden infant death, a monitor should only be used under the supervision of a pediatrician or other doctor. Although commonly used, there is no evidence that these monitors prevent SIDS, and many doctors believe they provide a false sense of security.[1] Infants and young children can often be heard over a baby monitor in crib talk, in which they talk to themselves. This is a normal part of practicing their language skills.


Video baby monitors (baby cams)

Some baby monitors also use a video camera to show pictures on the receiver, either by plugging the receiver into a television or by including a portable LCD screen. These are often called baby cams.

Some baby cams can work at night with low light level. Most video baby monitors today have night vision feature. Infrared LEDs attached on the front side of its camera allow a user to see the baby in a dark room. Video baby monitors that have night vision mode will switch to this mode automatically in the dark.

Baby monitors continue to evolve and now also can utilize features such as night lights and built-in lullabies. These are not available in all monitors.

Wired and wireless

Baby monitor generally use wireless systems, but can also use wires or may operate over existing household wiring such as X10).

Wireless systems use radio frequencies that are designated by governments for unlicensed use. For example, in North America frequencies near 49 MHz, 902 MHz or 2.4 GHz are available. While these frequencies are not assigned to powerful television or radio broadcasting transmitters, interference from other wireless devices such as cordless telephones, wireless toys, computer wireless networks, RADAR, Smart Power Meters and microwave ovens is possible.

Digital audio wireless systems using DECT, are resistant to interference and have a range up to 300 m.[2]

Analog audio transmissions can be picked up at a distance from the home by a scanner receiver or other baby monitor receivers, and so present a risk to privacy as long as the transmitter is switched on. Digital transmission such as Frequency-hopping spread spectrum provides a level of protection from casual interception. [3]

Smartphone as baby monitors

Software for smartphones (like the iPhone) is another style of baby monitor. When the software detects a sound, it calls a telephone number and allows the user to hear the sound made by the child. This eliminates the dedicated transmitter system, and can reach as far as the public telephone network.

Other features

Portable battery-operated receivers can be carried by the caregiver around the house. The transmitter stays near the infant crib and is usually plugged into a socket. Some baby monitor packages include two receivers.

Baby monitors may have a visible signal as well as repeating the sound. This is often in the form of a set of lights to indicate the noise level, allowing the device to be used when it is inappropriate or impractical for the receiver to play the sound. Other monitors have a vibrating alert on the receiver making it particularly useful for people with hearing difficulties.

Systems with several transmitters can monitor several rooms in the home at once.[4]

Transmitters with movement sensors such as a pressure-sensitive mat placed beneath the child's mattress give additional warning of restless activity by the infant.

See also


  2. ^ Philips Babycare
  3. ^ Lorex Understanding Analog & Digital Wireless Cameras & Receivers
  4. ^ "Baby Safety Monitors". 

External links

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