Angelcare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor
If you’ve read my What is the Best Baby Monitor? guide, you have probably already noticed that I’m not a fan of all-singing-all-dancing baby monitors, however one of my best friends has the Angelcare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor, and I got to see it in action and discuss it whilst on holiday with them last week. These friends like to have the best of everything, so it came as no surprise to me when they chose one of the top brands of baby monitor, and that they went for a model with a motion sensor mat for extra peace of mind.
- Sensor mat alarm to detect baby’s breathing
- Room thermometer on baby unit
- 250m optimal range
- Visual indicator
- Both units are portable (batteries included for parent unit only)
- White noise filter
- Nightlight on baby unit
- Vibrate mode
- Analogue audio
- Sensor mat becomes redundant once baby can roll
- May provide false security that baby is fine
Sensor mat to detect breathing
I have a love hate relationship with the idea of using a sensor mat to detect that your baby is breathing. The Angelcare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor comes with its fair share of reviews claiming that that alarm going off has saved their baby’s life since the parents ran into the baby’s room and began resuscitation when their baby had stopped breathing. You can’t put a price on that kind of technology, and from what I’ve found when researching this particular monitor is that is does get high scores for accuracy of the sensor mat. You can even adjust the sensitivity of the sensor, however I’m not sure what guidance Angelcare give on how to calibrate the sensitivity for your particular child and their movements in the cot.
The sensor mat works by detecting motion from your child’s breathing, and sounding an alarm if motion is not detected for more than 20 seconds. You cannot place the mat straight onto the wooden slats of your cot, it does need to be placed onto a 6mm hard board underneath the cot mattress. This is to ensure that the mat detects all motion from the whole of the mattress, since the wooden cot slats moving at one end of the cot would not necessarily transfer movement down to the sensor mat in the middle of the cot. Other than that, setting up the sensor mat is very simple.
With all these great reviews on the sensor mat, you may be wondering what is there to hate about it? Well based on exactly what I’ve just said – with all the great reviews on the sensor mat, don’t you think that parents might become complacent and overly reliant on the sensor? Parents should be frequently checking on their children when they are in their cots, and having this sensor may make parents think that they don’t need to. Furthermore, I’ve seen on numerous baby forums that parents are using these motion sensor monitors as reassurance that their baby is safe when they are placing their babies into rooms by themselves, well ahead of the SIDS risk reduction guideline of 6 months of age. I’m not one to judge people on their parenting choices, however I do think that some of these parents truly believe that the motion sensor is protecting their child from SIDS, rather than following the statistical proven methods of how to reduce the risk.
Final point on the sensor mat is that it becomes almost useless once your baby begins to roll. Although you can adjust the sensitivity of the mat, my friends found that as soon as their little girl began to roll in her cot, they had several false alarms, with the monitor going off a few times in one week. They decided to remove the sensor mat at that point, and to continue using the Angelcare AC401 Movement and Sound Baby Monitor as a stand alone audio monitor. I guess at that point you have to weigh up whether you value your sleep more than the high possibility of a false alarm!
As is standard on most baby monitors, the unit which is located in the baby’s bedroom features a thermometer function. It’s one of the features that I would always look for when buying a baby monitor as I use this as an objective reference of what to dress my son in for bed.
Similar to our Chicco Top Digital Audio Baby Monitor, I would say be wary of the claim of a 250m range! You must always remember this is the optimal range, and if you have lots of thick stone walls in your house, expect the range to be vastly reduced. It shouldn’t be a problem in most family homes though.
Visual indicator / vibrate mode
If you wish to use the monitor in a situation when you cannot have the volume turned up to listen for noise from your baby, then the Angelcare also has a visual indicator (lights to signal intensity of the baby’s crying) or a vibrate mode that can be switched on.
Both units are portable, however you are only supplied with the rechargeable batteries for the parent unit within the box. The unit can then be charged by placing into the charging cradle. The nursery unit can be made portable by inserting 4 x AAA batteries, but this isn’t something that most parents will need, so I can understand why they don’t supply the batteries with the monitor.
One slight downfall of this monitor is that it is analogue rather than digital audio. What this means is that the noise is transmitted in a very accurate representation of the real sound, since analogue sound is a continuous flow of sounds waves. You may find that you get some interference because of this, however a great feature of this monitor is that it has a filter so that it cuts out out any low volume white noise and has an option to only turn on the transmission when a sound is detected from your baby. You can also opt for the continuous transmission so that you hear sound at all times, but you will find that you get more interference in this mode, and the constant hum that is the main annoyance of analogue baby monitors.
Another problem with analogue transmission is that it can be intercepted, and that also means that you may have some cross transmission with other baby monitors on the same frequency in your area. The Angelcare can be cycled through 8 different channels, so you should be able to find a suitable channel with no interference and no cross transmission.
The nursery unit has a nightlight built into the rim (designed to look like an angel and halo). It’s very faint, so not a true nightlight as such, but it does provide enough light to check on your child without turning on any other lights.
Value for money: 4/5 (but can you really place a price on the potential to save your baby’s life?)
Buy from: Amazon.com
Since this is not the most recent version of the Angelcare monitor, you can often find it for a great price on Amazon. If you are looking for a baby monitor with a motion sensor mat, then it comes highly recommended. There is also a version with a video monitor too, but this obviously comes with a higher price tag.
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