When You Can't Be Right There: Choosing the Best Baby Monitor
If you're away from baby—baby's napping and you're cooking, or baby is content in a playpen and you need to do five minutes of chores—a monitor can help you keep tabs on how your child is doing. The primary use of a monitor is if your baby sleeps away from you and the baby's room is a distance from yours. Try one that works with both sounds and lights. That way, if you're working in the garden during baby's naptime, you'll also see the lights blinking when baby wakes and 'calls' for you. Baby monitors can also give you peace of mind if your child is sick; you can listen for coughing or wheezing that might signal a cold getting worse. Either way, you'll want to be on call at all times.

Monitors have been reassuring parents for some time now. A mom can trust that her connection to baby is still intact electronically with the use of a monitor. New parents find them especially useful because of their ability to 'broadcast' baby's sleeping sounds and alert a parent to fussing. As baby grows, some monitors allow parents to keep tabs on a roaming child by way of a transmitter attached to the child's clothing. Try one that has both sounds and lights, so if you're on a business call, for instance, you can turn down the volume but still 'see' your baby's cries. And if you and baby make the rounds to your parents and in-laws, bring along a portable, battery-operated monitor for safety away from home.