LIKE many items of baby equipment, a baby monitor is not an essential purchase but can be a very useful one.
What you are buying is extra peace of mind while your baby sleeps, so that you don’t have to constantly check on them, or worry that you won’t hear their cries from the garden if you are hanging out some washing.
Prices range from under €30 for an audio monitor to over €200 for top-of-the-range models with a video system and motion sensors.
Many audio monitors now use digital sound and come with around a 300m/50m outdoor/indoor range and out-of-range and low battery indicators.
Extra features such as a talkback function allowing you to reassure your baby from another room, adjustable nightlights and pre-programmed lullabies can be useful, particularly late at night.
Some parents like the additional reassurance of being able to see their baby via a video link to a parent unit or their phone.
You can also invest in a monitor with a motion sensor pad that can be placed under the baby’s mattress and some of the more expensive models offer both of these features.
A selection of the most popular baby monitors available from Mothercare, Argos and Boots includes:
Summer Infant Babywave Digital Baby Monitor, €26.99
Budget buy audio baby monitor, with portable parent unit.
Exclusive to Argos, the Summer Infant Babywave is their lowest-priced baby monitor.
Sound-activated LED lights supplement the sound by giving you a visual indication of noise levels — useful if there’s background noise near the parent unit.
The 300m range allows plenty of freedom to move around, with an out-of-range indicator to alert you if you’re too far away from the baby unit.
Motorola MBP8 Digital Audio Baby Monitor, €29.99
Reliable basic plug-in audio monitor.
The cheapest of Motorola’s extensive range of award-winning monitors, the MBP8 is a no-frills audio monitor with a 50m indoor range. Simply plug it into the wall and you are ready to go.
Equipped with DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) technology for sound clarity, it has five volume levels and LEDs on the baby monitor to indicate the level of sound.
There’s an alert if you move too far away and a nightlight on the baby unit.
BT 300 Digital Audio Baby Monitor, €55.99
Good sound and extra features including two-way audio for a reasonable price.
With a wireless range of up to 300m outdoors and 50m indoors, the BT Digital Baby Monitor 300 has a rechargeable parent unit to take with you as you walk around your home or garden and an out-of-range alert.
The two-way talkback feature means that not only can you hear your baby if they wake, you’ll be able to let them hear the sound of your voice from another room or communicate with a partner in the room.
BT monitors have been awarded numerous parenting accolades.
The BT 350 Lightshow, €83.49, which projects images of stars and moons onto the ceiling over your baby’s cot and has 18 built-in lullabies, won Silver at the Maternity & Infant Awards 2016.
Motorola MBP482 Baby Video Monitor, €64.99
The nursery team at Argos also like Motorola’s MBP482 which has a 2.4’’ diagonal colour screen, clear audio sound and a room temperature display.
The camera is wall-mountable with a zoom function and infrared night vision to monitor baby in the dark, with a range of up to 300m and an out-of-range indicator.
Motorola MBP36S Video Monitor, €179.99
Parent’s favourite, with a pan and tilt camera, two-way audio and lullabies to soothe your baby.
Voted Best Baby Monitor at the Maternity and Infant Awards 2016, the Motorola MBP 36S has a 3.5 inch screen, with a pan and tilt wall-mountable camera, infared night vision and two-way communication so that you can reassure your baby from another room.
It also comes with five pre-installed lullabies and has a range of up to 200m and cameras can be added.
Angelcare AC401 Sound & Movement Baby Monitor €139.99 (currently €109.99 at Mothercare)
Good value in the motion sensor range for extra peace of mind.
This 2-in-1 monitor from Angelcare has an indoor range of 100m (250m outdoors), with a parent unit that you can clip to your belt.
The sensor pad will detect all your baby’s movements — even the slightest ones and an alarm will sound if no movement has been detected for 20 seconds.
The halo nightlight on the baby unit, allows you to check on your baby, without turning on the light and movement and sound monitoring functions can be temporarily deactivated when you need to feed or change them.
There’s an optional audio ‘tic’, to reassure you that the monitor is still working correctly when your baby is sleeping soundly.
Angelcare AC1100 Digital Video Movement and Sound Baby Monitor, €299.99 (currently €255 at Boots)
Top-of-the- range high-tech monitor for day and night.
A super high-tech monitor, this will allow you to see, hear and communicate with your baby, it has the features of the AC401, along with a HD video camera with zoom and rotate functions and two-way talkback.
This system has a 200m range and a touch-screen portable parent unit.