With a baby monitor, you can feel secure knowing that you can easily monitor baby while you wash cloth diapers or bask in a little me-time. But which is the best baby monitor? Do you need a video monitor or is an audio-only monitor okay?
We’ll answer all of your questions, including:
- What is the best baby monitor?
- Should you use a video baby monitor?
- How to reduce EMF exposure from baby monitors
Best Baby Monitor
The best baby monitor is a baby monitor that can be hardwired into your home, like this D-Link monitor.
What makes this a good choice:
- It has an Ethernet port, so it does not need to use Wi-Fi
- The WPA light turns off if Ethernet is engaged, so you know that the Wi-Fi is not being used
Other helpful features include:
- Clear HD 720 pixel video
- Night vision
- Pan and tilt capabilities
- Sound and motion detection
- Parental remote viewing
Why is it so important to hardwire a baby monitor?
We encounter EMFs every day—even visible light emits a low frequency of EMF radiation! (source) The problem is we receive too much EMF exposure, since we’re so reliant on objects that emit EMF radiation: computers, phones, UV rays, X-rays, power lines, and even baby monitors.
Studies show that the various elements of EMF can cause adverse health effects:
- Radiofrequency waves emitted in wireless phones is listed as a possible carcinogen in a Swedish study (source)
- EMFs affect fertility in rats (source)
- EMFs contribute to Alzheimer’s (source)
- Radiation from communication devices can be detected by the brain (source)
The above studies are a just a small sample of studies that show why EMF exposure could be harmful. To learn more about EMFs, read this article about EMF exposure and download our cheat sheet for reducing EMF exposure in your home.
What If You Can’t Hardwire?
No problem! You can make your own “wired” baby monitor with this simple hack.
What you need
How to set it up
- Plug one of the ethernet cables into your WiFi access point or your wireless router. Then plug the other end of the ethernet cable into one of the D-link adapters. Plug the adapter into a nearby outlet.
- In baby’s room, plug a second shielded ethernet cable into the second D-link adapter. Plug the other side of the ethernet cable into your baby monitor. Make sure the baby monitor is also plugged in using the AC power.
- Download the D-Link app to see the feed from any device, without exposing baby to any EMFs.
An Alternative to the Hardwiring Your Baby Monitor
It’s not always practical or possible to install a hardwired baby monitor (there just aren’t that many good options on the market), so what’s the next best option? A low-EMF analog monitor can provide you with the basics: the ability to know when baby is awake and needs you.
- Don’t require Wi-Fi
- Don’t require Bluetooth
- Are—bonus!—much cheaper than the more elaborate baby monitors
The best low-EMF analog monitors
Many companies are wising up to the dangers of too much EMF exposure and creating low emission monitors. If you’re looking for the best baby monitor with low EMF exposure, try the following:
This audio monitor is analog so you won’t be gazing at your little one’s slumbering face, but you will be able to hear her clearly. Both the baby and the parent monitor come with AC adapters, which means no Wi-Fi and no Bluetooth are necessary. The only downside? You might get interference (picking up someone else’s signal)—especially if you live in a big city.
At $36, this audio-only monitor is hands-down one of the most affordable options out there! Both the receiver and the transmitter can be plugged into the wall. Unlike the First Years monitor, the Sure Glow has four channels, which means you can switch channels if you’re picking up interference.
This monitor is not as low emission as the previous two monitors, but the Angelcare makes a compromise: It only turns on if it detects noise. As a plus, this monitor records temperature, has a range of 1000 feet, and has less “noisy” static than other options.
What About Video Baby Monitors?
Seriously, what can’t video baby monitors do? When it comes to video monitors, the best baby monitor can:
- Display video
- Offer two-way communication
- Provide live-streaming to apps and monitors
- Be remotely controlled to tilt the angle of camera
- Play lullabies
- Monitor the temperature of the nursery
- Alert you to potential problems (such as a nursery that is too chilly)
With a list of features like that, it’s almost too tempting to pass video monitors up. There’s no doubt that baby monitors (especially video monitors) have come a long way since the first baby monitors were invented.
Video Baby Monitors Emit High Levels of EMFs
Unfortunately, these devices next to your child’s provide more EMF exposure than being 150m away from a cell tower. (source) We’ll get into the health implications below, but for now, let’s just say that’s reason enough to say goodbye to the lullaby-singing, temperature-recording video baby monitor.
The following video measures the EMFs given off by the most commonly recommended video baby monitor, Infant Optics. You’ll see that the video baby monitor receiver (the part in the parents’ room) emits up to 5000 uW/m2 of radiation, while the part of the monitor that stays in the baby’s room (the transmitter) emits 30,000 uW/m2. Yikes! (source)
If you really want the piece of mind a video baby monitor offers, the best alternative is to purchase the D-link monitor recommended above and hardwire it.
Alternatively, the Philips Avent Video Baby Monitor is a decent option. While it does emit EMFs, it is sound-activated, so the monitor isn’t always on. Plus, you also have the option to use an audio only mode.
What About Wearable Monitors?
If you’re looking for the best baby monitor, a wearable monitor definitely isn’t it. Unfortunately, these seem like the safest choice (for monitoring purposes), but they are actually the worst choice. There is no space between baby and the monitor; baby is literally attached to the monitor for hours at a time.
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against using all wearable monitors, including sleep socks like the Owlet monitor. These devices not only expose babies to radiation, but they also have high incidences of false alerts due to the natural (yet irregular) breathing patterns of newborns. (source)
Unfortunately, these baby monitors are marketed to nervous parents who are bombarded with information about sleep safety, SIDS, and newborn breathing issues.
How to Safely Monitor Baby
So what’s a mama to do?
- Wearing baby in a wrap or sling for naps can help you feel relaxed knowing baby is safely snoozing.
- Plan ahead for baby’s nap.If you know you’ll be folding laundry, lay baby down for a nap in the same room.
- Get a bedside bassinet, like Guava, or a co-sleeping pillow, like SnuggleMe Organic, so that you can stay close and let your mama instincts alert you if your baby needs some assistance.
How to Reduce EMF Exposure From Baby Monitors
When all is said and done, the best baby monitor is the one that makes you feel most comfortable. So regardless of which monitor you use, you can limit EMF exposure with these tips:
Consider the crib location
Place baby monitors 10 feet or more from the crib. The further you are from EMF-emitting devices, the better. (source, source)
Use voice activation
If you use digital monitors, using the voice activation feature can reduce your EMF exposure. (source) Voice activation refers to a setting on the monitor; when the monitor picks up voices (or cries), it will turn on. This keeps EMF low, because the monitor isn’t always on.
Turn it off when not in use
Studies show that electronic devices emit microwave radiation even when not in active use. Turn the baby monitor off when not in use; standby mode is still considered on. (source)
Consider a Greenwave Dirty Electricity Home Kit
Greenwave Dirty Electricity plug-ins reduce dirty electricity, or surges of electricity that come through the electric wires in your home. They are easy to use—simply plug them into your outlets and then plug your baby monitor into them. You can use these in your whole house, not just the nursery.
How About You?
What do you think is the best baby monitor? How do you reduce EMF exposure in your house?