Not all parents feel that baby monitors are a necessary nursery item. In fact, many families manage just fine without the added expense of a baby monitor that won’t really have a use once the baby starts growing. However, the odd occasion might warrant a check on the baby if you’re not in the same room. The question you might be considering then is, are there alternatives to baby monitors?
Surprisingly, with a little out-of-the-box thinking, several products you already own might be perfect to convert into temporary baby monitors. Keep reading as I highlight some of the best alternatives to baby monitors that will give you the same peace of mind.
Comparing the top 3 alternatives to a baby monitor
Here’s a side-by-side comparison between the top three alternatives to consider.
|Top reasons for considering it||Many people already own a smartphone and secondary device such as a tablet, laptop or additional phone – sound and image quality are good||If you own a laptop or a PC, you’ll already have a built-in webcam||Cheap option if you already own a tablet and a smartphone|
|Two-way communication||Yes, two devices allow 2-way communication||No two-way communication||Yes, since there are two devices one of which is likely a smartphone|
|Image quality||Good – depends on the type of device||Good – depends on the type of device||Depends on brand quality, but generally great|
|Specific app to download||Can work without an app, but many options to download||Check for a compatible app||Works simply with Skype or Google Hangouts|
|Requires 2 devices||Yes & 2 accounts||Yes||Yes & 2 accounts|
|Charge duration||Depends on the device, but both will require charging at least once in 24hrs||If attached to a laptop or PC, the unit will require charging||Will require charging at least once in 24hrs|
|Zoom function||Not from a remote phone||Depends on the model||Depends on the tablet and type of app being used|
|Price||Affordable – no cost if you already have 2 devices||If you own a device, there’s no real cost involved||Affordable, can easily connect with a phone as a secondary device|
7 ingenious alternatives to a baby monitor
My article covers a few of the more common baby monitor alternatives that some out-of-the-box thinking parents are using.
- Security Camera
- Smart Speaker
- No monitor
Not surprisingly, the number one baby monitor alternative is a smartphone. Since most people already own at least 1, it’s the simplest method of keeping an eye on your baby.
To use your mobile phone, follow these easy-to-follow steps.
- You’ll need 2 phones, or one phone and a tablet
- Use phone #1 to make a call to the other phone, laptop or even tablet
- Leave one phone in the nursery and keep it connected for as long as you need
- To use the video call option, activate features like Skype or Facetime
- Specialized baby monitor apps such as Faebir or Cloud Baby Monitor provide vibration alerts and activity logs
- If you already have two devices, no additional cost
- Easy to set up
- Many apps to choose from
- Only requires a Wi-Fi connection
- Many apps allow two-way communication
- Might need to buy a 2nd handset or device
- Using Wi-Fi leaves your device vulnerable
- Mobile data can be costly
Another option that’s already in most homes is a webcam. Simply connect the unit up in your baby’s nursery and watch as the feed is live-streamed to a separate laptop or PC.
- Images are clear
- Most PCs and laptops already have an onboard webcam
- Video and images can be recorded
- Might need to purchase a second device
- Using a wi-fi network makes your network susceptible to hacking
An advantage to using a tablet is that there’ll be minimal to no cost if you already own one. Using a tablet as a baby monitor alternative works relatively similarly to using a phone.
Keep these steps in mind.
- As with a phone, you’ll need two devices as well as two accounts
- You’ll need to utilize a specialized baby monitoring app or by activating the call features
- Options such as Skype and Google Hangouts are great for video monitoring and you’ll need Wi-Fi as well
- Great if you already own one
- Excellent picture & sound quality
- Easy to do video monitoring
- Wi-fi signal can drop, causing the call to cut as well
- Requires a second device
4. Walkie-Talkie (Two-way radio)
If you’re looking for an alternative that’s considerably cheaper than a baby monitor, then a walkie-talkie is a great idea. To use it effectively, you’ll need to opt for one that has a VOX or voice activation feature. Here’s an article I wrote about VOX baby monitors which should at least give you an intro to the world of VOX.
Using a walkie-talkie is as simple as following these few steps:
- Place one handset near your baby’s crib and keep the other one with you
- With VOX, the walkie-talkie in the nursery will activate every time your baby makes a sound
- You’ll then be able to say something back to soothe your little one
For a list of cheaper baby monitor options, check out my article on great baby monitors for under 100 bucks.
- Cheaper than a baby monitor
- Easy to use
- Can be used as a toy after when the baby gets older
- Lacks baby monitor features
- Can have poor audio quality
5. Security camera
Since most homes already contain at least one security camera, this is an option that’s gaining a lot of popularity with new parents. Another reason they’re so popular is that they are very similar to baby monitors.
- Many cameras also have a two-way radio option
- Works over a considerably huge range
- Can be used as a security camera after use
- Excellent image and video quality
- Features infra-red night vision
- Some security cameras require a Wi-Fi connection
- Audio might not that good
- Lacks features that measure heart rate and breathing
6. Smart Speakers
Smart speakers are becoming popular gadgets in many homes around the world. If you already own a smart speaker you can use it to check on your baby. Here’s how.
- If you’re using Alexa, simply activate the “drop-in” feature
- Use the speaker to call your laptop or phone
- You’ll be able to hear if the baby is fussing
- No cost if you already own one
- Long-lasting battery life
- Superior audio
- Need Wi-Fi to function
- Calls drop after a few hours
7. No monitor
Depending on your space and schedule, it might not be necessary to buy a baby monitor at all. Being close to your little one’s room all the time means you can easily check up on them.
- No cost – Many parents survive just mine without one
- No risk of hovering too much and unintentionally distracting your little one
- Might not hear baby fussing from across the house
- No monitor increases the risk of SIDS since you might not always be near your baby
Here’s a nifty clip that shows you how to turn an Android device into a baby monitor.
If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, then this next clip is for you!
If you’re going to opt for a tech device as an alternative to a baby monitor, always be sure to test it before settling on it. Test it from different rooms and with different levels of noise, your baby makes. If you have a big house, you should make sure you have a good reception – no wonder there are specially-made long-range baby monitors.
If you’re on a tight budget, opt for using devices you already own. Test a few of the apps to find the one with the best features.
Another informative article that I wrote which will provide additional baby monitor info is on the top baby monitors for travel purposes.