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24 Jul 2020

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

Lacking useful features such as temperature sensors and sound sensitive lights, these cameras are better suited to detecting burglars than monitoring your baby

If you browse online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, you'll find tons of temptingly cheap wi-fi enabled cameras that are claimed to be suitable as baby monitors for your home.

You might pay £30 or less for one of these wireless cameras, but our testing suggests you should think twice before handing over your money.

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

Keep reading to find out what models we've tested.

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

Monitor your baby from your smartphone

In a survey of 1,625 parents with children up to five years old, only 5% of respondents monitored their baby using a wi-fi enabled camera and an app on their smartphone or tablet.

Of those who did, the benefits included being able to monitor their baby remotely, such as if they're out for an evening and someone else was babysitting.

They also valued being able to monitor the camera's video feed on more than one device and the fact that wi-fi cameras are more easy to take with you while travelling.

As we know from previous reporting, connecting any camera in your home to the internet could open up an opportunity for snoopers if the product isn't properly secured.

However, our latest baby monitors tests also show that some cheap cameras are more orientated towards spotting intruders than monitoring how your baby is sleeping.

Victure PC530, £22

Popular on Amazon and other online marketplaces, this Victure camera is pitched as being useful for monitoring pets and elderly relatives as well as sleeping babies.

However, it lacks many of the common and useful features of a baby monitor, such as lullaby function, night light, temperature sensor or sound-sensitive lights.

There are some notable clangers, too, such as the alarm function setting off a noise on the camera itself. So, instead of alerting the parent that they need to do something, it just wakes the baby instead.

We've also tested this Victure camera as a wireless security camera, so see how it fared in our Victure 1080P FHD WiFi IP Camera Wireless review

Nooie Cam 360, £29.99

Although this Nooie camera is more specifically marketed as being a baby monitor, our testing suggests otherwise. This wi-fi-connected camera seems more suited to monitoring your home for burglars than keeping an eye on your baby.

Just like the Victure, it lacks many useful baby monitor features, such as a room temperature monitor and sound-sensitive lights.

There are no important warnings of strangulation risk on the power cables. The video picture also feels overly zoomed out, so you don't get a particularly good view of your baby's face.

During testing, we also detected a potential security vulnerability with this camera that we are currently investigating. See more details on this and the full testing verdict in our Nooie Cam 360 review

To find out what useful features to look for, go to our video baby monitor buying guide and audio baby monitor buying guide.

Other wi-fi baby monitors in our latest tests:

Nanit Plus (with floor stand), £340

Pictured above, this expensive video baby monitor consists of a mains-powered camera unit built into an unusual stand that makes it appear like a floor-standing lamp.

You can then get a birds-eye view of your baby sleeping via an app on your smartphone. At more than £300, its definitely at the more expensive end of the baby monitors market, so read our full review before buying.

Get the full verdict on this baby monitor in our Nanit Plus (with floor stand) review.

Motorola Peekaboo W, £60

This wi-fi connected camera from Motorola has infrared night vision and a digital zoom function. When it senses your baby stirring, it sends an alert to your smartphone.

You can remotely play 10 lullabies and audiobooks to soothe your baby to sleep, alongside your own audio recordings if you prefer. It also has a night light and room temperature sensor.

Find out more in our Motorola Peekaboo W review.

Kodak Cherish C525 Smart Video Baby Monitor 5-inch display, £160

This wi-fi video baby monitor has a camera unit that you put in the baby's room, so you watch the video either on a supplied parental video monitor with a 5-inch 720p HD screen or using an app on your smartphone or tablet.

It has useful features, such as a room temperature monitor and sound-sensitive lights.

Get all you need to know in our Kodak Cherish C525 Smart Video Baby Monitor 5-inch HD display review.

Kodak Cherish C225 Smart Video Baby Monitor 2.8-inch HD screen, £125

It's similar to the Kodak Cherish C525, but the parent unit is smaller with a 2.8-inch colour screen.

How to protect your wi-fi baby monitor from hackers

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 and security.

We'd recommend following the steps below to further increase your security, or see more advice in our in-depth guide to baby monitors and security.

  • Choose your password carefullyAlways change any default passwords used by your device, and instead set a strong password that you've not used elsewhere.
  • Run updatesThese ensure that the camera and app always have the latest security protections. See if you can set them to run automatically so you don't need to remember.
  • Disconnect when not in useDon't leave your wi-fi monitor always connected and potentially open to hacking attacks. Disconnect remote access to your baby monitor when you don't need it.