Baby Monitors

Baby monitors became popular in the 1980s thanks to the availability of simple localized radio communication. Either battery and/or plug-in (mains-operated) standard models consist of a “baby’s” monitor, which is placed in the child’s room, and a “parent’s” unit for the room where the parent or caregiver is. Some baby’s units have incorporated nightlights and room temperature displays. The baby’s unit has a microphone and a transmitter that will alert the parent or caregiver if the baby cries or requires attention. More sophisticated models vibrate like a telephone pager. They have a range of between 50 and 100 meters.

One of the largest manufacturers is the Japanese Tomy Corporation, which was founded in Tokyo in 1927. Although its main business is toys for young children it also produces a range of baby monitors.

Such appliances reflect changing social attitudes about caring for small children. Many parents no longer think their children should cry themselves to sleep. Also, recent publicity given to “crib death” (SIDS) and asthma has made such devices almost essential for concerned parents. These appliances take advantage of the developments in communications technology; the Tomy Baby Watch can transmit live images of the sleeping infant onto the family television screen.