For Hollywood scriptwriters, the baby monitor was a plot device sent from heaven. Not only could they be used to expose domestic scandal (who’s that kissing the au pair), they could also overhear dramatic revelations and, of course, become ghost magnets for paranormal activity.
Unfortunately, I am not a Hollywood screenwriter. As a result, for a long time I resisted the need for a baby monitor. This was partly due to the fact that, until last year, my family lived in a two-bedroom Sydney apartment. My wife and I didn’t require a monitor to tell us that one of our sons had woken up (again). After all, they were only a maximum distance of 15m away.
But then we signed up for the whole sea-change cliché and moved to the coast. Suddenly, we had a lot more room. This was great from a cat-swinging perspective, but also meant that our kids were no longer immediately audible. Turns out the tagline from Alien – In Space No One Can Hear You Scream – also applies to small children at night in a moderately large house.
So now we’ve found what, we reckon, is the ideal baby monitor. The Owlet Baby Cam essentially gives you a high-definition video and audio coverage that streams direct to your smartphone via the Owlet app. Here’s four reasons why we’ve become instant converts.
1. You Can Monitor Temperatures, Too
The Owlet Baby Cam comes with a room temperature sensor that sends an alert if your baby’s room becomes too hot/cold. This is handy intel for a bunch of reasons. According to the Mayo Clinic in the US, babies have less developed abilities to regulate their internal temperature, making them more susceptible to overheating than adults. But when it’s too cold, on the other hand, a baby is more likely to wake up. We now live in Victoria where the temperature is unfailingly twitchy and yo-yos up and down with tiresome frequency. With the help of the Owlet, we’ve since begun regulating the temperature of our 18-month-old’s room, keeping it around 20 degrees. He seems to approve too, as he now wakes up less during the night. Result.
2. It Can Help (Sometimes) Soothe Your Kid From The Other Side Of The House
Occasionally, we get lucky. There are times when our kids wake during the night and we can lull them back them to sleep just by doing some tactical “SHUSH, shush, shushing”. Brilliantly, the Owlet Cam offers two-way audio. That means there’ve been times we can nudge them back to sleep just by whispering into our smartphones. From the other side of the house. While sat on the sofa with a stiff drink in front of Netflix. Frankly, that’s our kind of parenting.
3. You Can Still Use Your Phone
Sad but true: if you’re anything like me, you’re glued to your iPhone for a shameful amount of time each day. Many baby monitor apps don’t let you use your phone for other stuff while you’re accessing their features. But on the Owlet, you can use the audio as background noise to keep an ear on your child while still being able to use the phone for life’s vital priorities. Like tweaking the formation of your Fantasy Football team.
4. It’s Great For Long-distance Dads
This is the real clincher for me. Living a fair distance from the city, there are days when I have to leave the house painfully early or end up getting back after my kids are in bed. The odd night away on a business trip is also a fairly regular occurrence. The best thing about the Owlet is that you can access the video coverage from wherever you may. Interstate on business? No worries. Just open the app and you’ll get a live stream of your child’s sleeping face. When you’re not there to tuck them into bed, it’s somehow comforting to still be able to check in and watch them dream.
The Owlet Cam is $279.99.