I am about to tell you about the best video baby monitor ON THE PLANET! And it's cheap, too. Buckle up folks, this is exciting.
First, let me tell you why this topic is on my mind. I was recently reading a post on a blog that I love, Sawdust and Embryos, about Beth's latest addition to her twin girls' adorable “big girl” room. Beth mentioned she was a bit concerned about her twin girls staying in bed once she moves them into their toddler beds from their cribs. Yeah, I was right there with her when we made the switch. I gave her my thoughts on what made our transition a HUGE success. Below is exactly what I wrote to her:
We had a very easy and successful transition when we moved our twin girls from their cribs to their toddler beds (at 2 1/2 years) and then into their big girl twin beds on their 3rd birthday.
I was super worried about them getting out of bed to play with each other. I think the key is that we have an awesome camera in their room and pair it with an iPhone app. It allows us to see them so clearly (sooooooooooo much better AND cheaper than the baby video monitors) and we can talk through it. We explained to them that big girls stay in bed and that mommy and daddy can watch them in the camera, so we would know if they got out of bed.
We also gave them each a pillow when they moved into their toddler beds, which they thought was AWESOME. We explained that pillows are for big girls and big girls STAY IN BED until we come to get them. If they got out of bed, we would have to take their pillows for that nap/night time.
Our girls are now 3 years 3 months old and they have only gotten out of bed ONE TIME. It’s seriously amazing. I am not sure what exactly motivates them to stay in bed, since we have not “threatened” taking their pillows away after the first couple of days. Maybe it’s the camera. Maybe they would have stayed in bed no matter what we said. Who knows?! I just know I was super worried about it and it was the easiest transition ever.
If you want info on the camera and app we use, shoot me an email. One of the best parts is that we can also take videos of what the camera is seeing through the app and we have some of the best videos of them singing and talking to each other. So fun!
Beth did email me and ended up ordering a camera of her own. After that exchange, it occurred to me that lots of my readers have young babies and toddlers, so I want to share this revelation with you all as well!
I will first back up and tell you that we used a video monitor from day 1. We purchased the Summer Infant Best View® Choice Digital Color Video Monitor for a whopping $190. We positioned it directly over our twin girls' cribs 9 (which were side by side) and it worked reasonably well, until it broke about a year into using it. So we bought ANOTHER ONE. Again, it worked reasonably well, though the screen did crack and made it more difficult to see the picture.
Fast forward to when our girls turned 2 and we moved into our new house. Their cribs were no longer positioned side-by-side, but were on opposite ends of the room. We had to position the video camera much further away, and, without beating around the bush, we couldn't see squat out of the video camera. That thing has to be close to its subject, or it's totally worthless. But, at that point with them still in their cribs, we were not overly concerned about our inability to see them. After all, they were in baby jail and had never climbed out. They were safe.
Now, fast forward again to when our girls turned 2 1/2 and we converted their cribs into toddler beds. Like Beth, we were TERRIFIED that they would get out of bed to play with each other. We knew we had to watch them like hawks to prevent any shenanigans, but we did not want to have to sit in the room with them. So, we needed a better quality video camera, and preferably one that we could talk through (“Get back in bed! Don't touch your sister!”). My research began.
You guys, my prayers were answered when we found a wireless video camera that you can pair with an iPhone app to use a baby monitor. You are probably getting impatient at this point, huh? You want details!!!! Okay, okay.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won't cost you a penny more)!
We ordered an IP camera that connects to your WiFi network (just like a computer, printer, etc.) and does not have to be hardwired to work. Check out exactly what we use below.
And this is the iPhone app we use. If you purchase the app and all of it's optional features, it's $8.00.
The wireless camera + the app = the best video baby monitor on the planet (in my humble opinion). Period.
Now, I am not going to tell you how to set up your camera and app. I found a post by Joyful Abode that is amazingly detailed and will tell you all you need to know. Just check out the Joyful Abode post here for instructions on how to set your camera up. Emily did an amazing job. I followed her installation instructions and had NO problems whatsoever.
What I AM going to tell you is why this set up equals the best video baby monitor and the reasons that we love it.
- The app we use allows us to take photos and videos of what the camera is seeing. These have captured some of our absolute favorite photos and videos. It's funny to hear what they say to each other when they are alone :)
- The image quality you will get from this camera is shocking. We get a clearer picture with this camera 12 feet away from our girls that we did with the Summer Infant monitor 4 feet away. I am NOT kidding. It will blow your mind. The picture is crystal clear and is full color in the daylight. Below is a sample photo that I snapped using the app this morning.
When it is dark (at night or during the day if you use black out curtains for naps, like we do), the camera uses infrared lights, so the picture will be in black and white but the quality is still fantastic. Here is a photo I snapped tonight as I put my girls to bed and it was dark outside.
Now, to prove I am not kidding about how great the picture is given the distance at issue, here is a photo of where the camera sits on my daughters' bookshelves:
And here is a photo to give you some idea of how far away the camera is from my daughter's bed. I took this photo standing beside Attley's headboard:
- One of our favorite features of the app we use is the two-way communication! WOW! We can hear them, and more importantly, they can hear us. We have said, “It's time to stop monkeying around and go to sleep” through the microphone more than a few times.
- And here is a sample video for you that explains, with no words, WHY we actually need a video baby monitor. This was taken this past week. Ummmm, this is what I would call “shenanigans” during nap time, which required some immediate intervention. But it was funny enough that Joe took a video through the app first. This level of monkeying around was unprecedented for us. Usually, they lay down and sing or talk to each other before they go to bed. This was a whole new level of experimentation for them. I will note that they stayed in bed. I think they thought since they were still “in bed” that they could do whatever they wanted. We have since cleared that up (we hope).
Q: Can you use the app to watch your baby/toddler while you are at work?
A: Nope. You have to be connected to the same WiFi that your camera is connected to to view your kids. This is for security reasons. As much as I would love to peek in on the girls from my office, it does give me peace of mind that not just anyone from anywhere can try to hack in and watch our girls.
Q: Is it secure?
A: I really am not qualified to answer this, but can tell you that you do have to have the password to be able to use the app. Between that and having to be connected to the same WiFi as the camera, WE feel it is secure to use. You may feel differently.
Q: Can the app run in the background, so that you can still use your iPhone for other things?
Q: Can you use it as just an audio monitor?
A: Basically, yes. At night, you can put it on “night mode,” which turns the video feed off, but you can still hear the audio.
Q: Does the camera allow you to pan/tilt/change the viewing angle?
A: YES! If your kids share a room and you cannot see one of the beds from one angle, you can use arrows in the app to wirelessly pan the camera to see your other kid!
The bottom line is that for less than $70 we have the best video baby monitor imaginable! What do you think? Are you going to try this or recommend it to someone else? If you think this is a great option for moms, please help spread the word by sharing this post on social media and/or pinning it to Pinterest!