Some baby monitors have additional safety features, including temperature sensors to ensure your baby doesn’t get too hot, and sensor pads that alert you if your newborn has stopped moving.
We’ve just tested eight baby monitors from Angelcare, VTech and Summer Infant, and enlisted a family with a newborn to try out the Owlet Smart Sock + Cam. Find out more below.
Or jump straight to the best baby monitors in our tough tests – including models from Philips, BT and Tommee Tippee.
Baby monitors with temperature sensors
Experts recommend that your baby should sleep in a room with a temperature that’s between 16 and 20°C.
You could opt for a separate room thermometer, but many baby monitors have a function that enables you to check the room temperature, including the Summer Infant Baby Pixel Cadet Monitor and Summer Infant Baby Pixel HD Zoom Monitor, which we’ve just tested.
A sensor detects whether the room has become too hot or cold. How this is displayed varies by device, but often a red warning light is shown if it’s too hot, it goes blue if it’s too cold or stays white if it’s ‘just right’.
Our in-depth lab testing reveals which baby monitors you can rely on to be accurate when it comes to measuring the temperature. See which of the 42 baby monitors with temperature sensors that we’ve reviewed made the grade.
Monitoring your baby’s temperature
If your baby monitor doesn’t have a temperature senso, there are other ways to check whether your baby is too hot or cold while sleeping.
- Feel the back of your baby’s neck or their tummy to get a basic check. Don’t just feel their hands or feet, which are always typically cooler.
- If your baby feels clammy or damp, remove some layers of clothing. Don’t put a hat on them while they sleep indoors at any time.
- A normal temperature in babies and children is about 36.4°C, but this can vary slightly. A fever is a temperature of 38°C or higher.
- Always seek medical advice if you’re worried about your baby, whether it’s linked to coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other health issue. Call your doctor or ring NHS 111.
Baby movement monitors
Some baby monitors come with a baby movement monitor, such as the Angelcare AC127, which we’ve also just tested.
Some of these types of movement monitors claim to protect against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death.
The monitor includes a motion-sensing pad that you place under your child’s mattress while they sleep. An alarm on the monitor alerts you if your baby stops moving for more than 20 seconds.
While some parents might find this reassuring, for others it might actually increase levels of anxiety and stress. Also, there’s no evidence that this type of monitoring can actually help prevent SIDS, so take any manufacturer claims with a pinch of salt.
Sometimes, you might want to mute the volume from the parental unit of your baby monitor, if you’re speaking on the phone or wanting to watch a favourite TV programme.
In this case, sound-sensitive lights – such as on the VTech VM2251 – can be a great baby monitor feature to have.
Lights on the display indicate the level of sound that your baby is making, from just little snuffles to full-on crying. Sound-sensitive lights can be a big help if you are hard of hearing, too.
This is something we test, so always check our baby monitor reviews to see which models have the most accurate sound-sensitive lights.
First look of the Owlet Smart Sock + Cam
Every smart baby monitor we test goes through our tough hacking tests, to make sure it’s secure and safe for you to use.
We haven’t yet tested the Owlet Smart Sock + Cam, but we recently gave it to a family with a newborn baby to try out.
The Owlet Sock + Cam is a baby monitor with a camera and a sock that gives you live readings of your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level.
It connects to an app on smartphone or tablet via wi-fi and has a temperature sensor, two-way talk and 1080p HD video. There’s also night vision, so you can see your child even when it’s dark.