A baby monitor is one good example on how technology can help modern parents in parenting. As much as a baby needs lots of love, care and cuddles from his parents, he also need to gradually learn that no parents can give him 24×7 full attention. Because parents are also human beings who need to sleep, need to eat and need to do other things. When I say “other things”, I am not talking about going out to movies or hanging out in bars. I was talking about taking a quick shower, cleaning some mess in the house and do some work to earn living. Therefore, at some point, a baby needs to learn that he needs the skill to put himself to sleep, needs to learn the difference of daytime and night time, as well as he needs to learn not to scream within few seconds of being left alone in a room with full tummy and clean nappy, safely in his own bed.
Basically, a baby monitor helps parents to see and hear their babies without having to constantly being in the same room. There are various types of baby monitors. The simple ones only records audio and will alert the parents in the event of crying. Others have video monitoring. More advanced models even have breathing sensors to monitor when the baby suddenly stopped breathing. After a lot of reading, I concluded that today’s technology of breathing sensor is not nearly as what I would expect yet as most sensor will not work well if there is a heater with fan or aircon in the room. Therefore baby monitor with video becomes my choice.
VTech BM3000 is a baby monitor product with audio, video and temperature monitoring. It has two separate units: the baby unit and parent unit. Baby unit is essentially a mic, a temperature sensor, a video camera and a speaker. We put this baby unit near the baby cot with around one metre distance as instructed. Then it will continuously monitor the sound, temperature and record video to be streamed wirelessly to the parent unit. BM3000 can be operated using batteries or wall outlet power. Optionally we can but additional baby units because a parent unit can be connected up to four baby units. The speaker is useful to play some lullaby melodies, and parents can talk from the parent unit to the baby using that speaker too.
For video quality, BM3000 delivers reasonably good image quality. The manual says it has night vision capability, but only in greyscale. In my personal experience, the video in parents unit occasionally turns into greyscale video even during daytime. I do not consider it as deal-breaker as greyscale video is still a lot better than no video or disconnected units. And so far BM3000 does not have any problem with disconnection. Just random changes from color video to greyscale video.
The speaker to play lullaby music and for parents to speak is too soft, even at maximum volume. Plus somehow my baby boy prefers the lullaby melody from my iPhone app rather than the melody from this baby monitor. So I rarely use the speaker.
The sound monitor is good and it will automatically alert us when the baby make noise louder than some sensitivity threshold. There are 5 sensitivity settings we can choose. I find even setting #2 is good enough. Setting the sensitivity too high will alert us at the slightest sound and will eventually drive us crazy. The parents unit’s display can be turned off and will automatically turns on when crying sound is detected. The parents unit will automatically tone down the audio streaming for any noise below the alert threshold and the volume will automatically restored to normal when a crying sound is detected. This is to make sure that parents will hear the sound.
If desired, parents can actually turn the parent unit to silent mode. When this happens, the parents unit will vibrate when our baby is crying. Be careful not to use this feature too often as sometimes it is easy not to notice the vibration. On the event of losing connectivity (happened once when I turned off the baby unit before turning off the parents unit), the parents unit will make some beeping noise. It was loud enough to make me quickly aware of it.
The temperature monitor gives parents information in the parents unit about the temperature of baby’s room. Parents can set maximum and minimum temperature limit. When the temperature goes below the minimum limit or above the maximum limit, this product will warn the parents. I did set the heater a bit too warm at one time and got reminded immediately. Very useful.
Overall, I think VTech BM3000 is a decent product. My wife is very happy with it because now she can do some house work when our baby boy is sleeping without having to check on the baby every-time he makes a little sound. Good decision to use one.