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9 Jun 2022

Which? warns parents not to use a security camera as a baby monitor

Lacking important baby monitor features, such as temperature sensors and sound sensitive lights, security cameras are better at detecting burglars than keeping an eye on a sleeping baby

A wireless security camera might seem like a cheap and flexible way to monitor your baby while they sleep. However, you should think twice before buying one.  

Not only have we exposed security issues with wireless cameras in the past, our testing indicates that these cameras simply aren't suitable for effectively monitoring your baby in their nursery.

Keep scrolling to find out why a security camera doesn't work as a baby monitor. Plus, we give expert advice on what you should buy instead and share our pick of some recently tested monitors.  

See our round-up of the best baby monitors for our top recommendations

Five reasons why you shouldn't use a security camera as a baby monitor

Security camera in a kitchen

Here's a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t rely on a security camera to monitor your baby’s sleep. 

  1. Security alarms - Some security cameras have alarms you can sound remotely from a smartphone app. This is clearly for warning off intruders, as few parents would want to wake their child with a shrieking siren.
  2. Incorrect angle of view - A security camera tends to have a wide and zoomed out angle of view to cover as much ground as possible. By contrast, baby monitor cameras should be more focused on the sleeping child.  
  3. Lack of temperature sensors - Ensuring the nursery isn’t too hot or cold is key for maintaining a safe sleeping environment. However, security cameras lack built-in temperature sensors seen on proper baby monitors.  
  4. No sound sensitive lights - Security cameras also lack sound sensitive lights - a feature which enables you to turn off the volume on a supplied parent unit but still see if your baby is crying via a series of progressive lights.  
  5. You can't play lullabies - While security cameras do usually have the ability to talk to the baby, you won't be able to play lullabies to soothe the baby to sleep.

Why are parents choosing security cameras over baby monitors? 

looking at baby on phone using a smart baby monitor

Our February 2022 survey of 2,004 parents revealed that 28% of parents who owned a baby monitor used a wi-fi enabled model. These clever gadgets are super convenient, enabling parents to keep an eye on their sleeping children via an app on their smartphone or tablet. 

However, with our cheapest Best Buy smart baby monitor costing more than £100, it can be tempting to look for more affordable options.

A security camera might appeal as they can cost around £50, or even less, and can potentially be repurposed for home security after your child grows up. 

But, as explained above, security cameras typically lack important features and are far more suited to detecting intruders than monitoring your baby.

Discover the best baby monitor brands before you choose your model

The baby monitors parents should buy instead

Baby monitors come in three main variations - audio only, video monitors and smart monitors. 

  • Audio monitors - While audio monitors don't let you see your baby while they sleep, they have lots of useful features and are usually relatively cheap, with Best Buys starting from around £35. 
  • Video monitors - You get a camera with a video monitor, just like a security camera, but also a parent unit to watch your baby, combined with extra features such as temperature sensors, sound sensitive lights and more. 
  • Smart monitors - Smart baby monitors do tend to cost more than £100, but for that you get the flexibility of being able to use either the parent unit, mobile app, or even both at the same time. You could even re-purpose your smart monitor as an indoor security camera after you are done using it with your children. 

Baby monitor reviews - see the audio, video and wi-fi enabled baby monitors that aced our tough tests

Smart wi-fi baby monitors in our latest tests

We've recently reviewed six new smart baby monitors. Here are three models that are worth considering:

VTech RM5754HD, £120

VTech RM5754HD

This smart video baby monitor from VTech allows you to check in on a smartphone or tablet app, or via a parent unit with a Full HD 5-inch screen. 

It has a room temperature sensor, sound sensitive lights and a built-in night light with three different colours.

See how it fared in the lab in our VTech RM5754HD review.  

Hubble Nursery Pal Cloud, £150

Hubble Nursery Pal Cloud

Just like the Vtech above, this Hubble baby monitor has an app and a mains or battery-powered parent unit with a 5-inch colour screen. 

You can talk to your baby through the monitor, or play preloaded audio books, lullabies and soothing sounds. There's also a night light with seven different colours on the camera unit.

Find out whether it is worth buying in our Hubble Nursery Pal Cloud review.

Motorola VM65X CONNECT, £220

Motorola VM65X CONNECT

Motorola’s smart baby monitor also has a 5-inch colour screen parent unit and an app, but the nursery camera is what you're paying for. 

This can be placed on a side or mounted on a stand over the crib to give a bird’s-eye view of your sleeping baby.  

Our Motorola VM65X CONNECT review gives the in-depth verdict on this baby monitor. 

How to protect your wi-fi baby monitor from hackers

A hacker in front of a computer

Either for criminal gain or just for kicks, malicious hackers trawl the internet hunting for unsecured cameras and baby monitors. If they find a vulnerable device, they could access the video feed, and spy on you and your baby. 

You can protect yourself by choosing a highly rated baby monitor in our reviews, as they have been checked for how they protect your privacy. 

We'd recommend following the steps below to further increase your security:

  • Use strong passwords - Always change any default passwords that come with the device, and choose strong passwords that can’t be easily guessed. 
  • Run updates - Giving the latest security protections, software updates are vitally important, so always ensure the camera and app are up to date.
  • Is it supported? - Manufacturers don’t support products with updates forever, so if you’ve had your baby monitor for quite a few years, check if it is still supported either via the app, or by contacting the company that made it. 

Could my baby monitor get hacked? See our guide for more safety tips