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Do baby monitors really keep babies safe?

Ami is a writer who is also a childbirth educator and former doula. In addition to her love of all things birth and babies, she is addicted to celebrity news and isn't ashamed to admit it. Ami lives in Chicago with her husband and her te...

The truth about baby monitors

Check out any baby supply store, and you'll see a lot of baby monitors touting how safe they can keep your baby — but do they really work?

Parents like monitors for safety reasons and convenience. It’s fun to listen to your baby or watch him if you have a video monitor. Monitors may also provide reassurance to parents that their babies are breathing well.

Too much of a good thing?

If you spend hours listening to or watching your baby on a monitor, you may have trouble sleeping or worry too much about what you may hear or see.

Carrie Caroll, a mother of twins says, "I personally can attest to nights where I would not want to turn the monitor off as I wanted to try my best to keep watching my infant twins sleep. After a few nights of that, my husband and I opted to only use the sound portion of the monitor, and would turn on the video if the babies made an unexpected sound. That was key for us."

Can monitors reduce SIDS?

We want what’s best for our babies and to keep them safe — some manufacturers claim monitors will reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

However it's important for all parents to know that according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), these claims are untrue. The FDA warns parents not to purchase these products simply if they think it's going to reduce the risk of SIDS.

The best "monitor" for your baby? You.

The Safe to Sleep Campaign — formerly known as Back to Sleep — and the FDA both recommend room sharing with your baby and putting him on his back to sleep. This sleep position has reduced the risk of SIDS by nearly 50 percent.

Whether or not you decide to buy a baby monitor, remember that nothing will replace you or your partner when it comes to monitoring your baby's health.

More about baby monitors and other baby gear

Baby monitors: Which one is right for you?
Best baby swings on a budget
New baby gear for 2012

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