Pros: Night vision camera - can check on baby all night
Cons: I'm ready to contact the company if it breaks
The time was rapidly approaching for us to transition our large-for-his-age newborn from his bassinet to the crib in his room, and I was dreading it. Sure, the hubby and I wouldn't need to tiptoe around our own room anymore, but I had grown accustomed to easily checking on the baby at night from the comfort of my own bed, and my overprotective Mommy instincts were dreading the idea of not being able to do that anymore. Now, with the Safety 1st Sight and Sound Assurance Monitor System, I can still just open my eyes and see exactly how he's doing in his own room from the comfort of my bed!
The Safety 1st Sight and Sound Assurance Monitor System is much more than your average baby monitor. It is also a video monitor with a night vision camera! You not only get the camera and monitor, but you also get a conventional sound-only baby monitor to carry with you when you are mobile. Like most baby monitors it has 2 channels, so if you are getting interference on one you can switch to the other. The overall look of the components is attractive - made of a white plastic with gray and blue accents and a general "rounded" feel to everything.
What you get:
~ A monitor / video receiver
~ A camera
~ An audio receiver
~ 3 AC adapters (for the monitor, camera, and audio receiver)
~ 2 AC cord shorteners
The camera looks very similar to a webcam, with its circle-upon-a-base style. The camera's eye is in the center, surrounded by the infra-red night-vision "lights" in a circle around it. The instructions recommend placing the camera 4 to 6 feet from baby for optimal viewing. The base can sit on a stable platform (like a bookcase or dresser-top) or can be mounted on a wall. You can tilt and swivel the camera's eye on the base to aim it at baby. At the very top is the on/off switch, which turns the unit off and on as well as selects which channel to use. When turned on a small green LED will light-up, so you can easily tell whether the camera is sending a picture or not. The camera also has a built-in night vision photo sensor, so it will switch between normal and night vision when appropriate. It broadcasts in the 900 MHz range (so you could get interference from other devices also using that range).
The monitor has a rounded-edge, new-age feel to it (so it matches the camera, I suppose). The on/off switch is a very large, easy-to-push button on the very top of the monitor. The black-and-white screen measures 5 inches (on the diagonal). The volume control is to the left of the screen, and the on/picture/off dial is to the right (you can choose to set the monitor to "sound only", "picture and sound", or off). A short, stubbly little antenna on top can be swiveled around to help improve the monitor's reception. Like a typical baby monitor, there is a line of 5 lights on top that light up in response to noise picked up by the microphone - and 1 to 5 will light up depending upon how loud the noise is. The channel control is on the back of the unit, and should match the camera's channel setting. Other controls on the back of the unit set the vertical hold, brightness, and contrast. A handle is built into the top of the unit for easy carrying, and speakers broadcast the sound from both the top and front of the unit (so you shouldn't have any trouble hearing baby's smallest sounds).
The sound-only audio receiver is just like any other typical baby monitor, and is a nice-to-have addition to this monitor system. Unlike the video-monitor, which must be hooked up to an AC outlet, the audio-monitor can run on either AC power or batteries (4 AAA's), so it is handy to take with you if you are doing a lot of moving around the house while baby sleeps. It also has the 5 LED's to indicate noise in the baby's room, a volume control, and 2-channel selector. It also has a belt clip for added portability. An indicator light glows green when reception is good and red when you have a poor connection. The "power on" light normally glows green but switches to amber when the batteries start to get low.
Our Thoughts & Experiences:
When my first child was born his room was directly across the hallway from my room. Because the walls in our first house were so thin I never had any trouble hearing him in his own room, be it babbling or crying, so even though we had conventional sound-monitors we didn't use them at home. Just before our second son was born we moved to a new, larger home that has thicker walls and bedrooms much farther apart (with our room downstairs and the kids' rooms upstairs). I can't tell you how much I dreaded putting my darling little baby to sleep in his own room after getting accustomed to the ease of checking on him sleeping in his bassinet in my room for months. It wasn't until we purchased the Safety 1st Sight and Sound Assurance Monitor System that I finally felt okay with letting him sleep so far from me.
First off let me say that the night vision is WONDERFUL! Even though it is nearly pitch black in the baby's room, when you look at the monitor it appears as though someone is shining a flashlight on the baby. It really is fantastic. Now it is easy for me to see whether or not baby is rolling over or grunting in his sleep, or if he's actually awake and needs some help going back to sleep before he gets all upset. I love being able to just open my eyes from the comfort of my own bed and see what baby is doing (I keep the monitor on my nightstand). The sound part of the monitor works great too - I have a very content little baby who doesn't always yell when he wakes up. I'm a pretty light sleeper anyway, but using this monitor I've been roused by sounds as quiet as baby just rolling over or kicking (which is a good thing). Of course you are in control of the volume, so when baby gets big enough that rolling over doesn't concern you any more, you can just turn the volume down a little bit.
My baby just recently turned 6 months old, and since he can't get up into a sitting position on his own yet we still have our crib set at the highest setting. Because we don't have any tall furniture next to the crib, we chose to hang our camera up on the wall, where it looks down upon baby as he sleeps (but it does look a little bit silly with the long white power cord hanging down). As baby gets bigger, more mobile, and we drop the mattress lower into the crib, we will need to readdress our camera placement. I do appreciate the fact that the camera can swivel quite a bit on its base, able to be moved side-to-side, up-and-down, and any degree of diagonal, as well as the fact that the camera can be hung upon the wall.
Purchasing a video monitor was a feat in and of itself. I read any reviews I could find in an effort to make sure I was getting the system that was right for us, but people had issues with every monitor on the market. At the baby store we were essentially presented with 3 options. One was similar to this one except it did not have the sound-only monitor, and I wanted that option when baby was napping during the day or for before I went to bed at night. The other was one we almost purchased because the monitor was color rather than black-and-white, however the monitor's screen was significantly smaller than the one we ultimately purchased (and when you're trying to tell whether baby's eyes are opened or closed bigger is better). Looking back in retrospect, color isn't very important, since we mostly use the video part at night, and "night vision" typically isn't in color anyway. Overall I'm quite happy with our choice.
I was a bit concerned about having yet another wireless device in our house, which already had its fair share. Our computers are connected via a wireless router, and our wonderful telephones are wireless as well, so I was wondering how much interference we would get. When I first set up the camera and monitor I would get the occasional burst of static on channel #2 (which can get annoying when you're trying to sleep at night), so I switched it to channel #1 and it's been problem free ever since.
In doing my research the complaint some people had with the Safety 1st Sight and Sound Assurance Monitor System was that sometimes the night vision lights would quit working, which essentially renders the vision part of this baby monitor useless. People did report that if their night vision failed within the 1 year warranty period, their camera was replaced with no hassle, but if it was after a year you were on your own. I definitely filled out and sent in my warranty card, and am ready to contact the manufacturer in a heartbeat should ours ever fail.
+) Watch your baby in his/her crib from the comfort of whatever room you want to be in! See whether he/she is awake or just babbling in their sleep!
+) The night vision works really well
+) A sound-monitor is included for when you are mobile and don't need to stay glued to the video-monitor's screen
+) Light bar gauges the volume of the sound in the room being monitored
+) You can switch the video-monitor to sound-only too
+) Everything is wireless
+) Camera is quite posable and can either be hung on the wall or set atop a shelf or other piece of furniture
-) Other owners report night vision fails around the 1 year mark
-) Because it is wireless, you might pick up interference
I am absolutely in love with our Safety 1st Sight and Sound Assurance Monitor System, because it gives me the peace of mind of being able to check on my baby up in his room while I'm dozing in my own room, and I can easily see whether I can just roll over and go back to sleep or if I need to get up and start the long trek to his room. It is definitely one of my favorite new baby items (second only to the swing, in my opinion).
Check out my profile page for a (very) small picture of my son as seen via the night vision camera on our video baby monitor