Fisher Price Sound and Light monitor
With its space-age-style transmitting unit that wouldn’t look out of place on a lunar landscape, the Fisher Price Sound and Light monitor looks the business. It has a very long transmitting aerial (which folds down for convenience should you need to pack it in a suitcase) and its mellow night light casts a restful golden glow in bubba’s room. Both the units are lightweight, but the receiving unit (the bit parents listen to) has a ridiculously long aerial which could potentially get in the way and makes it pocket unfriendly. However, the sound-sensitive activity lights are responsive and bright, which means even if the volume is low and bubba is having a paddy, you will be visually alerted to his cries. The only real downside is that the receiver picks up quite a lot of interference and we found it gave off a steady ‘whooshing’, which got quite irritating when the volume was up.
Toys R Us, 04 206 6564, Dhs179
Chicco Baby Control
This lightweight, no-frills monitor doesn’t provide a night light for baby’s room, and, though we liked the general look and feel of the styling, that was about it. The Chicco Baby Control has activity lights on the parent unit that supposedly flash when the noise level in the nursery increases. They did indeed flash, but only when there was a significant amount of sound (we used a television with the volume turned up to an annoyingly loud level to test it – the noise equivalent of your tot screaming themselves stupid). Otherwise, the lights registered very little activity and didn’t flash brightly enough to attract attention. Although the parent unit picked up a strong sound signal, it also picked up interference and the electronic ‘whooshing’ distorted the transmission. This monitor does the job – but is in no way outstanding. There are better products out there.
Toys R Us, 04 206 6564, Dhs249
Juniors Baby Phone
We’re usually a fan of Juniors products, but the Baby Phone is one long catalogue of failures. Never has the sentiment ‘good things aren’t cheap and cheap things aren’t good’ been so apt (it’s half the price of most other basic models on the market). The problems begin with the weedy and erratic transmitter, which, despite its impressive bulk, cannot maintain a signal. The transmitting light keeps going out, which means it’s not sending anything, while the equally pathetic receiver couldn’t pick anything up – even when it was in the very next room. It took us waving the blessed thing around and holding it mid-air in silly positions before it finally managed a short-lived crackle from the dodgy transmitter next door – and then promptly lost it again. This is not worth the box it’s packaged in. Sorry Babyshop – it’s back to the drawing board.
Babyshop, 04 266 1519, Dhs89
Philips Avent Healthy Climate Total Comfort
We were so impressed with the level of competence that’s gone into designing this baby that we half expected it to plump the sofa cushions, pass us a footstool and produce a steaming cup of tea into the bargain. Okay, we’re exaggerating, but, short of adding a TV monitor to the receiving unit (which would make it unnecessarily bulky), there is no way of improving it. The digital transmitter registers the baby’s room temperature and humidity within two seconds of being turned on, and sends it to the compact receiver – which has crystal clear reception. But that’s not all. There are super- sensitive and very bright activity lights, a soporific selection of drowsy lullabies, a night light, a rechargeable battery in the receiving unit that lasts up to 24 hours, a neck- carrying cord and belt hook for the receiver if you’re on the move and a very slick travel pouch so it can all be transported conveniently. Pretty pricey – but definitely one to consider.
Toys R Us, 04 206 6564, Dhs900
Tomy Walkabout Platinum
The Walkabout Platinum is another brilliant example of how a monitor can be so much more than a simple sound transmitter. We’re certain this was designed by an experienced mum because it gets everything so on the nail. Like the Avent, the Walkabout Platinum has digital reception (no annoying ‘whooshing’), a two-way communication feature, which means you can sing soothing songs to bubba from downstairs if the little so-and-so is refusing to sleep, and it maintains a strong signal at 300m. Sensitive activity lights, a soothing blue night light, a rechargeable parent unit that has a vibrate mode if you don’t want the volume turned up, a temperature reading – and a ‘last feed’ timer completes the picture. Having used this model ourselves, we have to add that its durability is impressive and it withstands a huge number of knocks from rough-and-tumble tots. But even if something were to go wrong, it has a full two-year guarantee to fall back on. Put it on the shopping list.
Babyshop, 04 2661519, Dhs699