Experts say that movement monitors cannot prevent deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but many parents report they can rest more easily with this technology in their nursery.
Parents who crave extra reassurance may appreciate the Angelcare AC401 Deluxe Movement and Sound Monitor (Est. $110). The monitor includes a sensor pad that goes under the crib mattress, triggering an alarm if no movement is detected after 20 seconds. Reviewers say the monitor's range is impressive and sound is clear. They also appreciate extra features, including a pager, two parent units, temperature sensor and night-light. On the downside, parents say it's tricky to set up the monitor so that it minimizes the possibility of false alarms. Potential buyers also should beware that Angelcare recalled 600,000 monitors in late 2013 after two babies strangled themselves with sensor-pad cords. The company has provided rigid cord covers for increased safety.
If portability is a concern, the Snuza Hero (Est. $120) can easily monitor baby's movement on the road. Instead of relying on a sensor pad, the Snuza clips onto baby's diaper and can monitor a sleeping baby anywhere. It vibrates to rouse the baby if no movement is detected after 15 seconds, and sounds an alarm after 20 seconds. Reviewers report fewer problems with false alarms than Angelcare users, but the Snuza also has more limitations: It doesn't monitor sound or offer the extra features other monitors have, such as temperature sensors and night-lights. Some also complain the battery is short-lived. Still, many parents like the Snuza's simplicity and ease of use.
A newcomer in the motion-detection market, the SafetoSleep Sleep and Breathing Monitor (Est. $299) uses a "sleep mat" -- a sensor pad like Angelcare uses, but softer -- to track baby's breathing. The monitor comes with a parent unit, but smartphone users can also connect via Apple- and Android-compatible apps using Bluetooth. Reviewers say setup is easy, and some say the monitor provides special peace of mind for babies with previous respiratory issues. But some parents complain of limited range, and others wish for a bigger mat to prevent false alarms triggered by rolling babies.
If this level of monitoring is something you feel you need, the Angelcare AC401 is the top pick as a traditional mat monitor, while the Snuza shines for its portability.