For the most part, my 11 week old son sleeps pretty well. He’s actually really easy to put down – often fast asleep within minutes of his bedtime. Heck, the other night he slept for 9 straight hours! Despite these gifts from the parenting gods, my wife and I are still very new at this. That means we worry about our son a lot – especially while he sleeps. Combine this new parent anxiety with our love of technology and we just had to try the Tommee tippee Closer to Nature Digital Sensor Pad Monitor.
The device has the typical monitor/parent unit set up just like most other monitors, but that’s just about where the similarities end. This particular monitor has features on top of features, separating it from most other devices.
Let’s start with the color LCD display. According to Closer to Nature:
The Closer to Nature Digital Video monitor is equipped with digital 2.4GHz, FHSS (Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum) technology that constantly changes the monitor’s channel to ensure a family’s privacy and prevent interference. The DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) audio monitor provides interference-free secure connection. The auto channel select function automatically selects the clearest audio channel for uninterrupted reception.
Not much to add here except it’s excellent. I can see my son clear as day – even during night…uh, moving on. The picture is much clearer than other monitors we tested, and even in monitor heavy Brooklyn we haven’t experienced any interference. It even has a zoom for those moments when you’re not quite sure if his eyes are open or not.
Next, the two way speaker provides such an advantage over the traditional one-way job. I can think of two scenarios when it could come in handy (these may or may not have actually happened):
- It’s 3 AM, you’ve already been up 2 times to soothe your uncontrollably crying baby and you’ll try anything to prevent you from walking the 25 feet (What do you want? It’s a Brooklyn apartment!) to your son’s bedroom.
- It’s now 4 AM and daddy is stuck changing the diaper. You’ve got Junior all lying on his changing table, baby wipes are everywhere, things are messy and you reach for the next diaper when…….wait, there is no next diaper! The only person who would know where a spare may lie is your incredibly organized wife, but she’s still 25 feet away lying in bed. No worries – no need to scream for help and/or leave your son lying naked next to a dirty diaper while you search for another. Simply speak into the video monitor and ask your wife where she put the diapers. After she lets out the world’s longest (but loving) sigh, she’ll be happy to remind you they’re next to the bookshelf.
Now, let’s say you “accidentally” mute the speaker to get some extra sleep. Well, with this device you won’t won’t have to feel guilty about missing a single whimper. You see, when the device is muted the receiver vibrates when your baby throws a midnight temper tantrum.
Now for my favorite feature – the sensor pad. The pad “sits under the crib mattress and detects even the slightest newborn movement, alerting parent if baby hasn’t moved in 20 seconds and bringing parents closer to baby.” So far, it’s worked just as advertised. We place the pad under a standard sized mattress and it picks up the baby’s breathing pattern within minutes. The monitor provides lights that move in unison with your baby’s breathing pattern (mom and dad were beyond mesmerized by this). If the alarm ever does go off, you will be able to hear it from anywhere in the house (even if you don’t live in a tiny Brooklyn apartment). After about 2 weeks, we have yet to experience a false alarm. It’s good to note, the pad can be removed when your child is a bit older. Tommee tippee offers a version of the monitor sans the sensor pad too.
The setup was simple and took me only 2 minutes. The receiver found the camera right away and the signal strength is very strong. The device advertises a range of 1,000 feet, but again we live in Brooklyn so I’ll take their word on this one 🙂
Other features include a built-in thermometer, a night light and most importantly a parent unit locator (why can’t car keys come with this?). All of which make the Digital Sensor Pad Monitor a great monitor and well worth the investment.
If I could add one thing, I would make the buttons on the receiver a bit more salient. Perhaps by putting lights next to them. It can sometimes be difficult to find the exact button you need while in the dark.