The best baby monitor is the one that works best for you. Some parents prefer the low-tech sensibility of an audio-only unit; others prefer one with video so they can keep a better eye on their baby. Now, as technology improves, there’s a third option: Baby monitors that not only see and hear but also offer a more detailed look at a child’s sleep patterns. This emerging trend is available in a number of monitors but we think the Nanit Plus is best in class. It’s a beautifully designed baby monitor that provides a clear, bird’s eye view of a child in-crib. More so, it has a deep array of sleep-tracking tech that logs enough data to put even the most neurotic of new parents’ minds to ease.
The Nanit Plus, a follow up to the original Nanit, is a small, square camera that’s made to be placed above a crib, aiming directly down for an overhead view. It’s well designed and unobtrusive, mounting as simply as a shelf. It’s equipped with a wide-angle lens that streams 1280×960 resolution to your phone or tablet 24/7. It also boasts two-way audio, a soft-glow nightlight, sound- and motion-detectors, and, thanks to an array of infrared LEDs, crisp, clean night vision. Nice touch: even when the Internet is down, the Nanit continues to stream over Wi-Fi. All of these features allow for a perfectly framed view of a baby in their crib.
And the Nanit Plus takes advantage of that. Using machine learning, the camera keeps a watchful eye of not only the baby itself, but also his or her sleep patterns. It notes whenever the baby is awake or asleep, how long it takes them to fall asleep, and how many times someone goes in to check on them.
How does it know all this? Nanit Plus uses “computer vision technology” which basically means that it has a number of sensors and processors that detect movement in the crib. Using this gathered information, Nanit’s creators say the “camera can process, analyze and actually understand images of your baby.”
The Nanit Plus automatically pushes all of this data, keeping a running log so that parents don’t have to groggily scribble down every midnight feeding or fussy session. It’s also smart enough to crunch all of the data and suggest different practices for helping the little bundle of joy sleep better, from making the room darker to telling parents to stop picking them up so soon.
Now, it’s easy to be wary of a smart Wi-Fi baby monitor, especially one that continuously logs data and pushes that data to the cloud. And while no unit is 100 percent safe from hackers, the folks at Nanit have taken some very nice measures to prevent any issues. The system features a 256-bit encryption is rated HIPAA-compliant, meaning that it has all proper measures in place to protect all the data it collects.
That data, by the way, sits in an easy-to-use app that’s also very well designed. Testers noted how nice it was to pop open the screen and be able to get crib notes on, well, their baby’s crib notes (the app tracks sleep efficiency, time asleep, visits, how long it took the baby to fall asleep) instead of deciphering their own late night scribblings. The app also allows parents, once multiple weeks of data have been logged, to look at longer trends in activity too. Testers also dug the silly happy and sad faces that accompany each log and indicate if the night was a success or not. All testers also surmised that the camera was a godsend for any parent dealing with baby sleep issues and wanting an in-depth readout. “It’s a game changer,” summed up one, succinctly.
Now, the Nanit Plus offers a lot but also costs a lot, too. The camera itself retails for $279. Then, there’s the Nanit Insights program which provides more in-depth data. This is optional, but is really the portal into the monitor’s robust sleep functions. Free for the first 30 days, it then costs $100 per year for in-depth sleep analysis, personalized tips, and such features as its ability to create short video recaps of the baby’s entire night.
While a few parents grumbled at the price, most testers said they would consider paying that rate for the peace of mind the Nanit Plus provides. “It was like I had a night nurse,” said one tester. “No, they didn’t feed and change my baby but each morning I had a log of what happened and, after a few weeks, ‘insights’ that made more aware of the little things I can do to help them — and me — sleep better.” We’d recommend would too. If you’re willing to take the leap into high-tech monitoring, it’s a revolutionary piece of parenting technology.