Are Video Baby Monitors a Safe Way to Watch Your Child?

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Infant Optics DXR-5 2.4 GHz Digital Video Baby Monitor with Night Vision

Baby is sleeping soundly, and mom and dad can watch from another room – how great is that? A video baby monitor can be a great tool for parents of infants, especially for parents of preemies. Specialized video monitors for preemies have sensors that can be attached (for example) to the baby’s diaper. This technology can record movement and breathing and alert parents or caregivers when a crisis could be imminent, in addition to providing video feedback to Mom and Dad. Even simple video baby monitors can give worried parents the peace of mind of knowing that their little one is sleeping or playing safely. Unfortunately, there are also dangers related to owning a video monitor, and parents need to be aware of these.

Wireless Video Monitors are Susceptible to Hacking

Many video monitors use the wireless internet service in the infant’s home to communicate video and sound to the parents. The most modern of these devices usually sends its output to the parent’s smart phone, where it can be viewed using an app. This is certainly convenient, but there are dangers. Internet signals sent over the air are the most susceptible to hacking. This could mean that others can view the baby also. It also means that outsiders with malicious intent can listen in on conversations that occur within ear-shot of the monitor.

The good news is that parents can combat this by taking a few steps. First, they can make sure that their internet connection is as secure as possible. Changing the Wi-Fi password on a regular basis is a good place to start. Another option is to avoid using an internet enabled monitor all together. Instead, parents can use a monitor that directly streams to a video output device.

Baby Monitors Generate a Lot of Radio Interference

Most computer techs have experienced this at least a few times. A client complains that his/her internet connection has suddenly ceased working. When they check the router, cabling, and other equipment, everything seems to be in working order. The members of the household simply can’t connect to the internet. Finally, when the tech begins looking for sources of interference, he or she learns about the new video baby monitor. So, why is this dangerous? The radio interference that impacts the family’s internet connection could potentially interfere with cordless phone service and certain medical devices. In a home in which a preemie’s health conditions need to be monitored, this can be cause for alarm.

There are a couple of techniques that Mom and Dad can use to mitigate RFI. They can try changing the channels on the monitor; they can use a digital monitor, although that does increase the risk of hacking discussed above. Finally, they can limit the number of electronic devices that are turned on while the monitor is being used.

For Some Parents Video Monitors Can Encourage Complacency

This is a painful subject for parents with children who have health that is in some way compromised. We know that we cannot sit in vigil by our baby’s crib side waiting to immediately act on any upcoming crisis. The exhaustion from even attempting to do so would leave us completely unable to function. Sadly, there is a potentially tragic B-side to being overly vigilant. Parents may begin to assume that as long as the monitor isn’t alerting them to trouble, then trouble simply must not exist.

Parents who opt to use video monitors should discipline themselves to stick with the health protocols their child’s physician has recommended. A monitor is a great tool, but it is no substitute for a parent physically observing a child, holding him or her, and bonding with him or her.

Parents should not feel discouraged from utilizing a video baby monitor. They simply need to employ a few precautionary measures, and remember that the monitor is just one of many useful parenting tools.

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