Any parent with a newborn or a young child will tell you that their baby monitor is their best friend. From nap time to bedtime and 4 a.m. feedings, they’re the eyes and ears of exhausted moms and dads, letting them know the moment their little one needs them.
But beyond the nursery, your baby monitor has the potential to do so much more. With features such as sound and motion detection, night-vision video and remote smartphone control from just about anywhere, there are tons of fun and helpful ways to repurpose your monitor to take advantage of all that tech. We’ve put together this list to help give your best friend new life.
Is your little virtual-schooler working on her fractions or is she sneaking in some Roblox time? With all the Zoom calls you’re on for work, too, it’s not always easy to go and check. A simple hack for your old audio or video monitor is to just put the baby unit in your kids’ room so you can watch and/or listen in, or use the talkback feature to nudge them back to work or see if they need help.
Some video baby monitor systems have high-end features that rival many dedicated security cameras. Video units with moveable, 360-degree tilting cameras and motion sensors are perfect for keeping an eye on your home while you’re away, or for just alerting you when a package arrives and you’re in the backyard. Although we wouldn’t suggest this as a formal security system, multiple cameras placed around the house can cover much of your home, while remote access and control from smartphones, tablets, and PCs let you check in from anywhere. Alternatively, if you’re repurposing an audio monitor, even they have motion sensors that can trigger visual or audio alerts if someone’s at your door.
If you’re a parent, you probably do enough yelling. Next time, put the two-way talkback feature of your monitor to use as an intercom or walkie-talkie system. With many monitors offering ranges above and beyond 1,500-feet, send the kids out back with a unit so you can call them in for lunch. Or better yet, head next door for an evening beverage with the neighbours knowing the kids can call you, too.
Those with ageing or ill relatives in their care can benefit greatly from utilizing a video or audio monitor. Around-the-clock monitoring with sound and motion alerts is possible and configurable to various sensitivity levels, if, for example, wandering is a concern. Two-way talkback communication allows loved ones to call for help and built-in night lights are great to brighten things up should they wake in the night.
Don’t want to miss a second of the big game? Whether you’re out back tending to the barbecue or just can’t hold it anymore and have to dash to the bathroom, try putting the audio monitor or camera unit focused on the TV and take the parent/screen unit (or smartphone, if the feature is available) with you to keep an eye (or ear) on the play-by-play.
This is where night vision-capable monitors shine. If you’ve got a couple of young campers brave enough to pitch a tent in the backyard, but want the comfort of mom and dad without mom and dad, run an extension cord to the tent for power and focus the video unit on the kids so you can keep an eye on them in the dark. Motion and sound sensors can alert you if need be but, more importantly, you can talk to the kids remotely, from your smartphone or the parent unit, if they get scared or need some soothing.
VTech RM5764HD Smart Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor
Reassurance, safety, and ease-of-use are all keystones of this top-rated video monitor. With 360-degree camera control you can focus precisely on your little ones, with clear night vision, delivered in 1080p video to the parent unit’s crystal-clear 5-inch screen. Wi-Fi connectivity is a game changer here, allowing remote access from anywhere with the free VTech Baby smartphone or tablet app, while sound and motion alerts let you know when your baby is stirring. Available at Walmart.ca, $199.99, as well as Babies R Us and Best Buy.
VTech DM1211 Enhanced Range Digital Audio Monitor
Everything you need for peace of mind in the nursery is right here, with this clear-sounding and no-nonsense audio baby monitor. The DM1211’s 1,500-ft range is best in class, providing a strong connection around the house, whether you’re in the basement or backyard. Adjustable microphone sensitivity lets you hear the faintest breaths to the loudest cries, while your choice of audio, vibration or silent LED alerts is yours. Use the built-in night light and two-way talkback intercom to soothe baby back to sleep before you make the trek upstairs. Available at Babies R Us, $49.99, as well as Walmart and Best Buy.
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