Recommended Baby Gear: Foscam Digital Video Baby Monitor

Three years ago, when I was working on the registry for my first child, my hubs and I had a long discussion: “Do we need a baby monitor with video?” At the time, the popularity of video monitors was still low, we lived in a small condo and it cost about 3 times more than a voice monitor so the decision was easy: No.

Then, when my son was about 6 months old, my cousin unloaded all his baby items and we got this:

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A Summer infant monitor. My cousin warned it was “on the fritz” but I figured, “Hey, another baby monitor just in case something should happen to the voice one.” A typical male, my hubs – the technology lover – connected this when we got home and after its first night in use, suddenly I was thinking, “HOW HAVE WE NOT ALWAYS HAD A VIDEO MONITOR?” (Yes – with that much emphasis)

At the time, my son had just starting rolling from back to tummy to sleep and it was terrifying me. I would go into his room and check on him constantly and with the voice monitor, there were times when I thought I would hear something so I would watch the monitor to see if the volume lights were “flaring” but many times, I couldn’t tell and the anxiety got me, so I would get up and walk the 50 ft to my son’s room just to check. With the Summer infant monitor above, if I heard something, I could just look and seeand not have to get out of bed. Pretty quickly we abandoned the voice monitor but as this Summer monitor was on the fritz, after 4 months,  one day the screen was just blank.

With our newfound love of the video monitor, my hubs set out to find a replacement. We started with the Summer brand but the cost to replace the one we had was about $150 and while I loved it, I didn’t feel like I loved it $150-worth. It wasn’t a bad monitor, but I did feel like the video screen was kind of small. I also liked that it wasn’t on 24/7 (it only turned on when there was sound – I think this is called “VOX”) but for $150, I felt we should love whatever we were getting. With the new parameters, my hubs found this Infant Optics as our next version:

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At less than $100 and with the larger screen, it seemed just right.

As my son continued to grow, the video monitor became even more critical for restful sleep. He had a febrile seizure at 13 months and I learned from the doctors that “many children with febrile seizures seize during the night in their crib and their parents just don’t know because they immediately go to sleep.” WHAT? Yes. This tidbit still saddens me. So when the Infant Optics above started to be on the fritz, we needed a replacement immediately. Somehow, knowing I could see my son gave me great peace of mind if there was a chance he would seize in the middle of the night and I didn’t want to be without that.

At the time we were going to replace it, I was pregnant with my second little.  So the question of brand/model arose again; Did we want to get this exact monitor or should we see if there was something else? Maybe something with two cameras? Before I drag you down the camera/screen exploration, I want you to know we abandoned the idea of getting this exact replacement almost immediately because the reason this monitor stopped functioning is because the antennae is super sensitive. I don’t know how, but one day the antennae was broken; it was hanging by a thin wire. Did somebody drop it? Did we bang it into something? Who knows. All I knew was if it broke that easy, then we shouldn’t be bringing it back into the house.

So the search began, again, for a new monitor and I thought something with a dual screen (ie, I could watch 2 kids at the same time) would fit the bill. Well …

Almost immediately, the option of the Summer Dual View arose in the house. Clearly the camera fit the bill – but it was almost $300!

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I couldn’t swallow the price tag and told the hubs to keep searching. I think Motorola made a similar version, for slightly less, but all the prices were giving me anxiety. So my hubs really narrowed down the parameters via the dollar sign. It wasn’t an easy mission, but he did it: Find something that works for 2 kids and the price needs to be reasonable.

He came back with the following result and only one major caveat – the Foscam:

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At $120 (I thought that was reasonable), the Foscam has a big screen and can accommodate up to 4 cameras. The caveat? You have to manually switch between the cameras. I wondered if the screen would pick up whenever there was movement in one room or the other and the answer to that is also no. Basically the screen would only focus on one camera (there IS a VOX option) but if you wanted to know what’s going on in another room, you have to click through a few buttons to get that camera up. With all that information, my immediate thought was, “No” but we were in dire need of a replacement and I thought maybe we wouldn’t even need 2 by the time the second baby required her own camera (she’d be in our room for a few months anyway) so we took the plunge …

Six months later and I have to tell you – I AM IN LOVE. From the big screen, to the vox, to the rotating camera, to the talk-back feature, this baby video monitor is the bees knees. I recommend it to to everyone.

You might be wondering how this has played out with 2 kids? Well we bought one camera/monitor and I played around with the handset and decided that having to mess around with buttons in the middle of the night (if we got an additional camera) wasn’t going to work. Not only did I not want to be doing that at 3am, but I wanted to be able to see both kids at all times. An additional camera was $60 – which was half the cost of another monitor – so I figured, why not just buy a whole other kit? And we did. I figure when we’re done with 1, I can then pass it on to someone else without having to sacrifice the entire system.

Yeah – sometimes it seems like a lot having all these mini-tvs on my nightstand but for the money, there really is no better value. As my son has known grown into a toddler, I use the talk-back feature to tell him, “Mommy will be there in 5 minutes” and I also pan the room when he’s playing with his toys 10 feet from his crib. The video display even tells the temperature in the room – so now I no longer worry if the kids are too hot or too cold! This monitor is really a great tool. The only thing that would make it better? If it had a clock on the display too. But then again, I can never remember what time it is. Or the day. Or the month …

TGIF!

PS – We were able to buy the first set when it was only $100 on Amazon back in January. I recommend putting the items in your cart (assuming you have an Amazon account) and then every time you sign in, it notifies you of price changes. When that item goes down, click BUY!

 

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