Thursday, July 23, 2009

Baby Monitor Smack Down - webcam vs. traditional sound monitor

A good friend asked if I had any thoughts about if he should invest in a webcam baby monitor for his second child. He has a standard baby monitor from baby #1. With my first child, I bought multiple baby monitors because I couldn’t find one that worked reliably in our cordless phone, near our neighbors and wireless networked house. And our baby’s nursery is as far away as possible from the master suite – not intentional, but ultimately very nice. For the record, the (then) $19.99 Fisher Price Sound and Lights monitor was the absolute best.

We’re past baby monitors now – if our kids need us, they either come and get us or shout at the top of their lungs. And only the baby who cannot get out of her crib is tolerated using the shouting technique. I did a little research on these webcam baby monitors on Amazon and There’s a Dad’s actual experience here. But my recommendation to my friend – don’t bother with the webcam baby monitor.

First, most of the moments with a newborn are not all that interesting - sort of like watching paint dry. Of course they’re snuggly and cute and those hands and feet are just amazing. But it’s not really an interesting video stream. Think about how often you watch home videos – you’d watch more if they were edited. How often do you do that? I have about a year’s worth of video snippets that need to be burned to a grandparent and great-grandparent DVD.

Second, when they get more entertaining, they generally are moving all over the place so a stationary camera is likely to miss the most interesting activities. Cameras are portable for this reason.

Third, if you are going to do video-calls with family, it’s nice to control the environment a little bit. Plus every Mac can do this easily with iChat and I think PCs can do it as well. Not to mention it doesn’t invade the privacy of your home without your permission.

So, save the $170+ or apply it to a video camera and get good at posting the most adorable videos of your children that you can catch. I predict that the webcam just won’t get viewed often and everyone will still want the cute videos that they can kvell over with their friends.

What do you think?  What sort of monitor did you use and did it help you sleep or keep you up?

1 comment:

G.C.Gibbons said...

I would think that the visual monitor was not for entertainment purposes. The sound only monitors only tell you that the baby is crying or quiet. When the sound only monitor is silent you always wonder if it is mistaken due to low battery or lack of power on the sending end. Having the visual to look at can let you know how fast you need to rush to baby. If the baby is crying, yet all is well visually, there isn't such a rush. If baby is struggling and crying because they are stuck behind the bumper pad to the crib, there is no time to put your slippers on, just rush to aid baby. It is not meant to provide entertainment it is meant to provide important information to the parent.