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If you’re a recent parent, you’ve probably considered getting some sort of baby monitor. You possibly considered the utility of a video monitor and then you may or may not have balked at the exorbitant price tags they come with. If you choose not to pay for such an expensive item, yet still like the idea of having a video monitor for your baby or pet, then this article is for you.
There are dozens of great ways to set up a baby monitor using webcams, old computers and a bit of geek know-how. We’ll go through the simplest method in detail, then give you some other ideas you can use to fuel your creativity if you prefer.
The Skype Baby Monitor
The Skype baby monitor is very easy to set up and only relies on you having a spare webcam, preferably with a microphone inside, and an old computer handy. If you have an old laptop or a Mac mini lying around these would be ideal.
Firstly, on whatever computer you like, set up a Skype account for your baby. You’ll need to make sure it’s kept as private as possible and that the following things are set up for their account.
- Add yourself and other close relatives as a contact.
- Video Set-Up tab: Enable Skype video, set to start video automatically and to automatically receive video calls from people in your contact list.
- Calls tab: Set to auto-answer calls.
- Privacy tab: Limit calls and chats to only people in your contact list.
In the baby’s room, set up your computer and start Skype, logging in as the baby, and check that any on-board sound has been muted. Adjust the webcam so that the baby can be seen and heard easily by the caller. Ensure any relatives who require access have added the baby as a Skype contact and vice-versa.
This set-up means that you can leave your Skype baby monitor on and only the relatives in the contact list can call. These relatives will instantly get a video feed of the baby whenever they call.
Note that because you can use Skype these days on mobile phones and tablets this option is extremely versatile. You could easily keep an eye on the baby while you’re in the kitchen or the shed getting something useful done. Also, if one parent is away for business this could be a neat way of checking in on occasion.
Other Baby Monitor Ideas
Of course, if you have the old webcam and computer lying about, there are many other ways you can set up a baby monitor depending on your budget, needs, patience and geek skills. Here’s a few more ideas:
- Set up a Google+ account and try using Google Hangouts similarly to the Skype method. Note: This account could get deleted if Google found out.
- Get a webcam which doesn’t need to be attached to a computer and connect it directly to your wireless network. If you use a dedicated router for your baby monitor you’ll be able to take this with you when you visit friends and family.
- Leave an old mobile phone near your baby’s crib. Set it to be on mute and speaker-phone so it picks up baby noises but won’t wake them up. Call the old mobile phone from your current phone whenever you want to check in.
- You could also set up a baby monitor quickly using your iPhone as the camera with Air Cam Live Video Lite for iPhone and the corresponding software for your desktop.
More Baby Articles
If you’re browsing for cool tips for your baby, check out these articles:
- Baby Connect Helps You Monitors Your Baby’s Health [Android & iOS]
- 10 Free Android Apps A Busy Mom Will Love
- 10 Baby Websites To Help Expecting Parents
What’s your favourite idea for a baby monitor using regular hardware you already own? Tell us in the comments.
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