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There are many kinds of baby monitors on the market, and buying the right system can be a daunting task. There are video monitors, motion-detecting monitors and walkie talkie monitors, which remain the most popular because of their affordability and effectiveness. Some important factors involved in choosing the best walkie talkie baby monitor include the type of home you live in, the frequencies of other devices in and around your home, how the monitor is powered, the volume features available on the monitor and how many monitors you will need.
The first factor to determine when choosing a baby monitor is the type of home you have, especially the size. Most walkie talkie baby monitor models have a range of at least 200 feet (about 61 m), which is fine for a smaller home or apartment. A larger home or a home with thick concrete walls might need a longer range. Also consider the layout of your home and whether the baby’s room will be on a different level or whether you will be using the receiver while outside or in a detached garage. In a multi-family home such as an apartment or condominium, a large range can become a problem because signals from other monitors and devices can interfere with the reception.
A walkie talkie baby monitor can either use radio frequencies to transmit sounds or transmit digitally. In the case of apartment buildings, townhouses, or even single-family homes with cordless telephones and other frequency-transmitting devices, these frequencies can cross and cause other noises and static to clutter the transmission. A digital or interference-blocking walkie talkie monitor works best in these situations, or choose a monitor with a different — often higher — frequency than any telephones. At the very least, be sure that the walkie talkie has more than one channel so you can find the clearest one.
Another important factor is whether the monitor is battery powered or able to be plugged in. Most parents prefer the portability of a battery-powered receiver, which allows them to move freely around the house or property while still being able to listen for sounds from the baby. Although battery power is convenient, receivers should still have the ability to be plugged in and recharged, avoiding the need to constantly replace batteries or face a receiver powering down in the middle of the night.
Not all baby monitor models come with a volume control feature, which is very useful to parents who do not want to hear every little sound the baby makes while sleeping. In addition to volume control, another useful feature is a light-up display on the receiver that lights up more the louder the baby cries. This is especially helpful if the baby sleeps with music playing or tends to make lots of sleeping noises, which could disturb other people who need silence or very little noise.
Finally, it is important to consider the need for more than one monitoring system in the home for multiple small children in separate rooms. Most walkie talkie baby monitor models come with two or more receivers, but because of interference issues, parents who need to monitor more than one child run into problems using more than one transmitter base. There are a few walkie talkie baby monitor models that offer a multi-room feature, which is a better option than attempting to use different monitor systems that might interfere with each other.
To me, the best walkie talkie baby monitor has enough sensitivity to pick up the sounds of a child's breathing. Just because a child isn't crying doesn't mean he or she is perfectly fine. I sometimes just want to hear sounds of snoring or giggling or breathing to make sure my baby isn't in any respiratory distress. Obviously I don't want to get blasted at 3 in the morning with a full-on cry, but I do want to be able to turn the volume up loud enough to hear very quiet noises, like the rustling of blankets or whatever.
One thing many people don't consider when buying walkie talkie baby monitors is protection from electronic eavesdropping. Older walkie talkie radios sometimes use a frequency that can be picked up with very basic equipment available to anyone. I actually rode around town with a guy who used an antenna hidden inside a potato chip can and a portable shortwave radio receiver to tap into baby monitors. Those things can pick up some very private conversations and other activities.
My advice is to purchase the most modern baby monitoring equipment you can afford. Newer walkie talkie baby monitors use frequencies that are much hard to intercept.
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