Baby monitor safety
By Lisa Galliers
Stop your baby monitor being hacked, and get advice on preventing cord strangulation – baby monitor safety tips all parents need to know.
How can I keep my baby monitor safe from hackers?
Video baby monitors made the news for all the wrong reasons recently when thousands were hacked and the footage broadcast on a Russian website. This footage allowed users to see inside people's homes and even into babies' rooms. One feed showed a child's bedroom in Birmingham. If you've got a baby monitor that can be used over the internet or one that updates data to the Cloud or any third-party site, here's how to keep it as secure as possible:
- Like any other internet-connected device, make sure you change the default settings and passwords.
- Choose strong passwords that aren't repeats of passwords you use elsewhere.
- Check for any security software updates regularly and make sure you remember to install them.
- Make sure your internet router or modem is secure (change any default passwords and install updates).
- Turn off remote access to your baby monitor if you don't need it.
- If you're using your smartphone app as a baby monitor, check the security settings and set a password if you can.
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Can other people hear my conversation on their baby monitor?
Whether other people can hear your conversations depends on your monitor type. DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) models should not have this problem, as scanning equipment is needed to listen to such signals.
Digital signals may crop up on digital radios or other people's monitors. Analogue signals are the most open to accidental broadcast, as they can easily be picked up on normal radios and other people’s monitors.
Baby monitor cables: why do I need to be aware of them?
There have been reports, in the past, of babies being strangled because a wall-mounted baby monitor had a wire within reach of the child, or because the monitor was positioned on a table close to the child's cot.
Always keep any wires, cords or cables well out of the way of babies and toddlers. As your baby gets bigger and older, keep checking regularly that he or she still can't reach them.
Always change any default passwords on wi-fi baby monitors
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Top five baby monitor safety tips
To keep your baby as safe as possible, check out our top tips for baby monitor safety:
1) Instructions Always read the instructions for your baby monitor. If yours has been borrowed, or is second-hand, make sure you get hold of a copy of the instructions. Most are available to download online, or call the manufacturer's customer services line.
2) Wires and cables Check your baby monitor wire is placed well away from a child's grasp, at least a metre (or 3ft) away from a cot, crib or play area.
3) Dangling cables Keep all the wires and cables that are attached to your baby monitor (including table-top, wall-mounted and movement-sensor models) taut, and not loose or dangling.
4) Reach Make sure you baby or toddler can't reach the baby monitor. Keep checking the location of your baby monitor as your child grows and is able to reach further or climb out their cot.
5) Batteries If your baby monitor uses any sort of removable batteries, keep them well out the way of your little ones and stored somewhere safely out of reach.
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