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A baby monitor is an important part of your new baby kit. There are lots of options and features to consider when buying one. It’s helpful to know how they work before you choose yours so let’s talk about whether baby monitors pick up other signals.
Do baby monitors interfere with each other?
It is possible for 2 baby monitors in the same house to interfere with each other when operating using either analog or wi-fi. For parents who live in densely populated areas there is a chance that their baby monitor could pick up a neighbour’s monitor.
The most common interferences with baby monitor signals are:
- Clicks, static sound and/or buzzing along with the normal audio from your monitor
- Blurry, or delayed video on your screen that might be out of focus (if yours has this feature)
Occasionally, people have reported hearing other voices or sounds from outside their home. Interestingly, some parents have stories of baby monitors interfering with their garage door openers because their signal is usually stronger. A little something to look or listen out for!
Digital monitors are less likely to experience interference, but are more likely to be hacked.
What causes interference with baby monitors?
Most baby monitors use a common frequency that is shared by a wealth of other devices. They send signals through the air and so they could pick up a signal from another device quite easily.
The most common inferences come from other baby monitors, mobile phones, radios, wireless broadband routers and other electronic devices. Sometimes static noises on your baby monitor are simply created by a weak signal so it is a good idea to reposition your device before trying anything else to rectify the problem.
How can you stop it?
There are a number of different things you can try to stop baby monitor interference:
- Move your baby monitor to a different place. Even a small movement could fix the problem.
- Try changing the channel.
- Consider using a digital baby monitor. They are known to be more reliable than an analog version.
- Choose a baby monitor with DECT. They use a different frequency to transfer signals between units and tend to experience much less interference.
- Make sure the batteries are full before you turn your monitor on.
- Try turning the monitor off and on again. It sounds like a cliché but it really does work sometimes! A reboot can be as good as a rest for your baby monitor.
Can a baby monitor pick up other signals?
Some parents have reported their baby monitors picking up signals from other devices in their own home or even a neighbour’s home. Most people find the interference on their monitor is a series of clicks, buzzing or static, although other voices or sounds can be picked up in some cases.
Since most baby monitors use a common frequency and work by sending signals between units there is a chance they can pick up signals from another device. A baby monitor is basically an upgraded radio transmitter and so can pick up other signals.
What about cell phones?
The good news is that baby monitors mostly rely on exchanging radio signals and so while they might pick up signals from an older, cordless phone, they won’t pick up signals from a modern cell phone.
Can baby monitors affect wifi?
Most baby monitors will not interfere with your wi-fi because they rely on a different frequency to many routers. However, some wireless baby monitors do operate on a similar frequency to certain routers and block wi-fi signals. If you think this might be happening in your home, first try turning off the baby monitor and test your wi-fi without it. Next, turn the monitor back on and see what happens.
One solution to this issue is to purchase a wi-fi friendly baby monitor system. This kind of setup is designed to connect with your existing system and will not interrupt the wi-fi.
What channel/frequency do baby monitors use?
A digital baby monitor typically uses a 2.4GHz frequency. This gives a broad range which explains why other devices can sometimes interfere with one another.
Analogue baby monitors use a 49 mHz or 900 mHz frequency which is very similar to traditional radio transmitters. Hence, on your monitor you might hear the common interference of static or clicking which you also get from your radio when you change between stations.
Can my neighbour hear my baby monitor?
A radio scanner could pick up your baby monitor and hear your conversations. This is highly unlikely though, there’s more of a chance that your neighbour with another baby monitor could pick up the signals from yours. If this happens try changing the channel and see if this fixes the issue.
Could a police scanner pick up a baby monitor?
Yes, technically an old police scanner could pick up the sounds from your baby monitor if they were to drive by. The worst case scenario would be that you would experience a short burst of interference from your monitor. It will probably disappear quickly, but if not try the tips listed above and see if one of those does the trick.
How do you know if your baby monitor has been hacked?
Many baby monitors have evolved from simple handsets to all singing, all dancing wi-fi enabled bits of kit. This means lots of useful features to keep an eye on your pride and joy but also a risk that your monitor could be hacked.
Watch out for these things to know if your monitor has been hacked:
- Listen for unknown voices or sounds. This is a common sign that your monitor has been hacked.
- The camera is rotating by itself. This could be a sign that someone else is controlling the monitor’s movements.
- Log out and log in now and again to check that your password and security setting are the same. Hackers often change that information and lock you out. Choose a strong password that is not easily guessed.
- The LED lights are blinking in an unusual way. This can be a sign that someone else is watching through your monitor. Check your settings to make sure you know what the regular LED light patterns look like and what to look out for.
To prevent your baby monitor being hacked consider investing in a monitor with advanced security features, create a strong password for your device and make sure you keep up on system updates. Only use remote access if you have to and check your viewing history regularly so you know who has been looking and when. Finally, turn off your baby monitor when it is not in use, the less time it is on the less chance there is of it getting hacked. These tips will all help you get the best out of your baby monitor’s safety features.
If you are concerned about using a baby monitor, here are some alternatives you should consider.
Can it be hacked if you’re not on wifi?
Baby monitors connected to wi-fi are more likely to be hacked. However other monitors can also be hacked without a wi-fi connection, although to do so the hacker needs to be within close proximity of the monitor. That’s why it’s a good idea to turn off your monitor when it’s not being used and listen for any usual sounds or voices.
What is the most secure baby monitor?
According to PC Mag the most secure and reliable baby monitor system is the Nanit Plus. With options to view sleep stats, a long range and advanced safety settings, you can set up your monitor to suit you and your baby’s needs and feel secure doing so.
A baby monitor is a helpful tool to let you know your baby is safe when you aren’t around. It’s worth considering the safety features of the monitor itself when you decide which one to buy for your home. You’ll need to decide whether to buy a digital, wi-fi or analog monitor, where you will put it and how you want to set it up.
Then you can enjoy the peace of mind of leaving your baby to sleep unattended with a watchful eye right there. Listen out for interference and be wary of any hacking attempts on your monitor. Note that most people experience very little interference on their monitors and even if they do, it can easily be fixed.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.