For children with special needs, nighttime isn’t always a break away from the stresses and challenges of everyday life. In fact, many children face additional or unique concerns when it comes time to sleep.
The best camera monitor for special needs children is not only a monitor, but an entire bed and sleeping experience designed with their needs in mind. The Cubby bed includes a camera and microphone with WiFi connection, along with a padded canopy, a speaker, and various sensors.
Children with special needs often deal with sleep problems, and understandably so, because bedrooms, beds, and general sleeping experiences were not designed with them in mind.
A Cubby Bed has everything that a child and caregiver need to create the peaceful nights that we all so desperately need.
Why invest in a camera or baby monitor?
Night time, when others in the household are asleep and out of the room, can be a scary and overwhelming period for children in general, but additional concerns are often relevant when it comes to children with special needs.
Leaving the bed during the night, wandering around, elopement, becoming tangled or stuck in blankets, nocturnal seizures, and other phenomena are common occurrences for many children with special needs.
This reality is not only concerning for the child in question, it can also be very stressful for caregivers - it can feel impossible to leave your child unsupervised, but a lack of sleep and self-care inherently impacts your ability to provide care, too.
Not only does a monitor help the caregiver find peace of mind and sleep themselves, but it also may lead to better sleep for the child, as you don’t need to open the door to check on them and they can fall asleep independently.
A child who learns to fall asleep alone is also a child who can fall asleep alone again when they inevitably wake up in the middle of the night.
All of these points are a large part of the reason camera or baby monitors are useful for families that manage special needs.
Types of Monitors
Not all nighttime monitors are created equal. Some are better suited for children than others, and depending on the needs you’re looking to accommodate, some options may be more successful in terms of keeping your child safe.
Different types of monitors to consider might include:
These devices can detect motion like repetitive muscle spasms and can send alerts or sound an alarm to notify others when unusual activity is detected.
These are great options for those who experience seizures, night terrors, or other occurrences that tend to pose physical risk.
Perhaps the most versatile and popular option, video or camera monitors can be aimed at a child's bed to monitor nighttime activity.
Some cameras are specially designed to watch for seizures or other concerns and can notify a caregiver accordingly.
Most baby monitors fall into this category. Some even feature additional capabilities, like microphones and speakers, to make things even more hands-on.
These generally detect movement consistent with seizures and can alert a caregiver via a mobile device.
These monitors might also feature help buttons that allow the user to reach out for assistance when needed.
Wearable monitors aren’t an ideal choice for young children or those with more complex needs; they won’t record or capture things that happen without the child realizing it, like sleepwalking, and don’t provide as large of a picture of what really happens when your child is alone at night.
As mentioned, bed monitors and wearables rely mostly on movement detection, but not all seizures or other nighttime concerns result in a great deal of moving around.
That means these options might be more ideal for those who experience more severe seizures or other physical disruptions like autism elopement.
They also tend to be more expensive to purchase and maintain.
With that said, it’s not hard to see why camera monitors tend to be the most popular option for those looking to care for children with special needs.
Not only can camera monitors capture movement, they can also pick up sound, give you a clear image of what’s going on, and can be transported easily as needed.
How to Choose a Baby Monitor
If you’ve decided that a baby monitor or another type of camera monitor is the right choice for your child, the next step is deciding which specific model will work best.
One key thing to ponder is just what you’d like your monitor to do for you.
- Do you just need a simple video feed, or something that includes sound?
- Do you plan to access stored information from a smart device?
- Do you need some sort of notification system to alert you when things outside the norm are detected?
Below are a few main features to consider before you start looking into specific listings:
Audio options: do you need audio, and if so, is one-way or two-way most appropriate? How often will you utilize these features?
Connection: do you want the device to connect via wifi, or do you prefer a more traditional, stand-alone device?
Camera and screen quality and resolution: in how much detail do you need to monitor the room?
Night vision abilities: necessary, or just nice to have?
Camera flexibility: how easy is it to move the camera around the room or angle it in the direction you need it? How simple will it be to relocate the camera if you need to?
- Alert options: alarms, smartphone messages, etc.; which are preferable, if any at all?
Versatility: can more cameras be added and connected? Is it easy to install and use?
Special features: these might include a nightlight, white noise, or other features that are designed to help a child fall and stay asleep. Consider which ones, if any, you’d like to look out for throughout your search.
Smartphone capabilities: some monitors can offer unique insight or provide detailed feedback through a computer or smartphone. Is this a priority?
What is the safest baby monitor?
Safety is understandably a concern for parents of all sorts when it comes to nighttime monitoring.
Some parents have concerns about monitors being tampered with or hacked; horror stories of unfavorable individuals “spying” on sleeping children have certainly made a place for themselves on the internet, and they can be genuinely alarming to read.
While there is some risk associated with bringing these sorts of devices into your home, it’s one that’s very manageable.
Newer monitors that connect to your home’s router and WiFi are more susceptible to attack than more traditional, radio-based monitors.
Traditional walkie-talkie-like monitors can still be “hacked” if an individual manages to access the same frequency as the monitor, but said individual would likely need to be very close to the monitor to even successfully do this.
That means it’s highly unlikely that anyone could access your monitor without you knowing, especially over a long period of time.
Monitors with cameras that connect to the internet are usually the larger concern.
Fortunately, those looking to access these monitors must first bypass multiple levels of protection and get access to the router itself to tamper with settings.
If someone takes control of your router, though, they can also access other devices connected to the internet, so it’s likely that your monitor isn’t the only thing you’d need to worry about.
While that may sound concerning, it can also put things into perspective: if you’re not overly worried about someone hacking into your PC for vital personal or financial information, for instance, there’s no more reason to worry about your baby monitor being targeted.
For most users, the benefits of a camera monitor, even one that connects to the internet, far outweigh these risks.
Monitors help keep countless children safe across the world.
The risks of a child with special needs injuring themselves, leaving bed, or damaging parts of a room are far more likely to present themselves.
Of course, the final decision is entirely up to the caregiver.
If confidentiality is of utmost concern to the family in question, traditional monitors without internet capabilities are likely the way to go.
If monitoring a child as much as possible and being notified when care is needed is more of a priority, camera monitors are likely the safer choice.
No matter what, it never hurts to keep an eye on your monitor’s activity, even when it’s not in use.
Considering Your Child’s Needs
Every child is different, and so too are their individual challenges.
Finding a monitor that works for both your child and home is important; for instance, finding a baby monitor with good night vision might be especially useful if you live somewhere with little outside lighting.
Be sure to take some time to explore all of the resources available to you and your child in addition to a monitor throughout this process; sometimes, a combination of tools can create the best and most secure experience. Here are some things to keep in mind:
What special needs does your child have?
A child with epilepsy may need a monitor that can detect and store data on night time seizures.
A child with autism may need a wearable device that can track their location in the case of running off.
How old is your child?
We recommend video/ camera monitors for infants.
At the age of two, children typically no longer need a video monitor.
At this point, you could switch to a needs-specific monitor, such as an FDA-approved seizure monitor, or if your child has special conditions like autism or Down's Syndrome, you can keep the same video monitor.
Are your child’s needs primarily based on safety, comfort, or a combination of the two?
Those concerned about safety might find it better to invest in higher-quality cameras or multiple monitors.
How large is the space your child sleeps in? Do they always sleep in the same place?
A baby monitor with good range (the ability to pick up sound or movement from a further distance) may be more of a priority for larger homes.
No one wants to order a baby monitor online only to find that the signal doesn’t reach their child’s room.
Can your child easily come to you for help if they need it?
Finding a monitor that can detect motion and alert you accordingly may be especially crucial if your child’s challenges limit their ability to communicate or move.
A baby monitor on phones or other devices that are close to you frequently can be a great tool in this case.
Paying for a Monitor
High-end and highly-recommended options can cost several hundred dollars, a price that isn’t insignificant for many families.
Fortunately, some retailers offer payment plans to break down the cost over an extended period of time.
Some monitors may even be covered in part by insurance, but this is relatively unlikely in the case of most baby monitors - be sure to consult a doctor for specific recommendations if you want to pursue this option.
If finances are a concern, you might want to consider pre-owned options as well, which can go for half the original price or even lower.
There are ways to make even the best baby monitor affordable with some searching, patience, and effort, but don’t forget to consider other options (like the Cubby Bed), too.
Best Monitor for Special Needs Children: Product Recommendations
Best Monitor With WiFi/ Best Overall Option
Even the best baby monitors for special needs children are great tools, but for some families, monitoring just isn’t enough.
After all, with everyone in a household asleep, it can be hard to be aware of what’s going on even on a monitor.
That’s why creating a space that’s safe for children with special needs beyond simple monitoring devices is so important.
The Cubby Bed is a unique device specially crafted to meet the needs of children of all sorts; with a camera, microphone, and other sensors of its own, the Cubby Bed sometimes eliminates the need for alternative devices entirely.
The Cubby Bed has WiFi functionality and both an IOS and Android app that caregivers can download.
Monitoring your child is merely a few taps away, as is other important information like bed temperature and smoke and carbon monoxide alarm alerts.
If your child deals with sensory overstimulation, you will also benefit from Cubby’s white noise machine and a soft lamp that mimics sunrise and sunset.
If too much tech all at once sounds overwhelming, no problem! The electronic functions of the bed (lights, monitoring equipment, and speaker) can all be removed and used separately however you deem fit.
Anti-wander enclosure, sensory features, padding, and other thoughtful inclusions all work to keep your child secure and comfortable all night long.
The bed’s high-end sensors and camera can even alert a caregiver when motion is detected.
Though the Cubby Bed is a more significant investment than a camera monitor, funding help is actually readily available and simple to access.
Check out this funding guide to see if you qualify for special discounts and insurance coverage.
You can think of the Cubby Bed as a sort of monitor and bed in one - it goes above and beyond what any standard sleep tool can do for children with special needs.
Baby Monitor for Nocturnal Seizures
The Miku Pro Smart monitor is perhaps one of the best options the market has to offer. It detects breathing, sleeping patterns, and sounds without making any contact with your child.
With customizable alerts, it’s possible to control what sorts of changes - including unusual levels of movement or crying out - alert you immediately and which ones don’t.
Though it does come with a hefty price tag, both HSA and FSA cards are accepted to help cover the cost. Monthly payment plans are also an option.
Best Baby Monitor for Large House
This monitor offers all the features you’d expect in a high-end option - great camera quality, motion and sound detecting capabilities, two way talk audio, and more - while also packing a punch with its long-range audio and video.
That makes it an ideal choice for those looking to find a monitor that can handle the large rooms or big, open spaces often found in more sizable homes.
Best Affordable Baby Monitor
It can be tricky to find baby monitors under $50, and this one manages to offer good quality features at a reasonable price.
With two-way talk features, infrared night vision capabilities, and the ability to add more cameras, this monitor is a great balance between functionality and accessibility.
Affordable options like these also give you the opportunity to purchase multiple cameras.
Whether you need a baby monitor for visiting the grandparents, travel, or need to cover two rooms or more, affordability can make monitoring larger spaces more doable, too.
Best Baby Monitor for Toddler
This monitor features a wide variety of bonuses, including night vision, lullaby and white noise sounds, and even an eco-mode that allows you to conserve battery time (via only powering on full when motion or other stimuli is detected).
It’s a great option for those looking for high-quality tech without too many additions.
Overall, there is nothing like the Cubby Bed.
It includes not only a monitor, but also a robust, positive sleeping experience that is supported by insurance and approved as an official medical device for special needs children.
Takeaway: Take Time to Make a Smart Investment
A camera monitor, whether it be part of a device like the Cubby Bed or a separate piece of technology entirely, can be a great tool to have at your disposal if you care for a child with special needs.
These monitors aren’t just for infants - they can be helpful for children of all ages, especially if safety is a concern.
They allow caregivers to continue watching after a child even well after they’ve fallen asleep, and thanks to technology, there are more ways to create a comforting atmosphere for your children than ever.
Taking the time to do some research and reflection before making any investment is certainly a wise idea. After all, your child deserves only the best - be sure to give them the chance to receive it.
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