I used hand-me-down baby monitors with our first son. We're really into the three R's in this house, so re-using the items was a great, economical choice for us. Then, four years later, we realized we needed an upgrade since those once wonderful hand-me-down monitor handhelds were barely hanging onto a charge at all.
VTech Phones line called Safe & Sound looked like exactly what we needed. We weren't interested in all the complicated bells and whistles, or even video monitoring. We just wanted to hear the baby or preschooler if they stirred while we weren't by their side. We'd used VTech phones in our home and we even have a VTech Bunny toy that has lasted as a gift from our first son four years ago. It seemed like the brand could really withstand the test of time, so maybe it could endure our wild family!
We went with the Safe & Sound line in the Model DM221. It has one rechargable parent handset (though you can order an additional one) and one base/baby unit. The baby unit plugs into an outlet and has a nightlight in the handle. The feature I loved most was the "talk" option on the parent unit. We are able to say "it's okay baby" or "mama's coming" -- or for the preschooler: "naptime is not over..." It's a great feature that we've never enjoyed before and adore on this monitor.
We are a bed-sharing family and last night, my preschooler was distraught. I left the room with our fussy infant to feed him. My husband was left with our older son who is still transitioning from "only" to Big Brother. I was able to use the unit to say "I will be right back, I love you." That was enough to get him to stop whimpering and actually fall back to sleep before I was done with the feeding of his brother. It's a great comfort for kids of all ages.
The audio is super clear and has five volume levels -- the only place where I lust for a bit more. I am going deaf slowly from my years running chainsaws and portable pumps -- and probably from listening to my music while running as well. Anyway, I can hear the level five perfectly clear, BUT I'd love to have a little more amplification so that if the dryer or dishwasher are running I can still catch every sigh, sneeze or cry. That said, the volume is absolutely FINE, I just always like the option of having a bit MORE.
The other unique use I've found for the baby monitor is dispatching! During spring fire season I often pick up night shifts at my old job. Since I'm often the only one there and nature still calls even when it's inconvenient, I use the unit to listen for radio calls while I use the restroom! Then I know if an Engine or firefighter has tried to contact me and can rush back up and get them back on the radio! Perfect use at home and in the office!
VTech Baby monitors can be found in many major retail stores as well as online at the VTech Phones site or from Amazon and other online resources. This particular set is very affordable, retailing for $39.95. If you're looking for a simple but very effective solution for your monitoring needs, this is it! We are super pleased with our experience thus far with the monitor and all of our VTech products!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary product in this partnership. No other compensation was received; all opinions are our own.