Mothers of newborns, like Stephanie Hinkaty, say a baby monitor offers peace of mind.
Stephanie says, "It's really comforting to know what's going on with the baby without having to be physically in the room with her. It, you know, gives me a sense of security."
But choosing the right monitor could mean the difference between true comfort and a false sense of security.
Consumer Reports tested 10 baby monitors. A basic unit cost $25, while this more elaborate video setup cost $200.
Interference is one of the biggest complaints from parents, so Consumer Reports recommends getting a unit that's digital.
If you want to unplug your monitor and take it with you - battery life is key, and there were big differences. The battery charge on this Safety First True View Video Monitor didn't even last three hours. But this Sony BabyCall kept going for $28.
Consumer Reports also found that signal strength really varied. To evaluate, testers set up a transmitter near a soundtrack of a crying baby.
Then they measured how far away they could move the monitor while still maintaining contact.
John Galeotafiore with Consumer Reports found, "All the monitors worked inside this test house, but if you have a larger home or if you want to do yard work during naptime, it may be a different story."
Some monitors lost contact before the tester even stepped out of the house! That was just 37 feet. But a few monitors worked as far away as 400 feet.
Among those, this top-rated Phillips Avent SCD510, for $120. It's digital, so interference is not a problem, and it had excellent battery life.
A safety caution from Consumer Reports - there have been several cases of accidental strangulation when babies pulled the transmitter cord into the crib. So even if your child is not yet standing or crawling - it's essential to keep the transmitter well out of reach.
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