Alright, so compared to other baby movement monitors how does the Angelcare AC401 stack up and does it warrant the price tag?
To begin with, what’s included?
-Nursery unit (transmitter)
-Parent unit (receiver), rechargeable, with charging base
-Four triple A rechargeable batteries (NIMH)
-Two 7.5 volt AC adapters (nursery unit and parent unit)
You may also choose to add 4 triple A alkaline (non-rechargeable) batteries to the nursery unit, as backup, in case of a power failure.
Certainly not mandatory, but a good idea nonetheless.
The Angelcare AC401 boasts numerous features, some of which you may never even end up using.
That being said, the most valuable ones include:
-A patented sensor pad built to identify your baby’s slightest movements (sleeping or waking), alerting you if no movement is sensed after twenty seconds
-Sound reception can be continuous or voice-activated
-A soft blue night light on the top of the nursery unit
-Temperature gauge built into the nursery unit that tracks in real-time on the parent unit
-Eliminates interference from standard 2.4 GHz devices by operating on the 927 MHz frequency
-820-foot range, eight channels
It was really the sensor pad that attracted me to the Angelcare AC401.
Sound alone just wasn’t enough reassurance.
Not only that, but as your baby outgrows his need for the pad, it can be easily disconnected leaving the sound monitor fully functional.
AC401 vs AC201
You may be wondering, “What’s the difference between the Angelcare AC401 and AC201? Won’t the AC201 do the same thing for less money?”.
In short – yes.
The two come from the same family of products, with similar technology, but the AC401 offers a little more:
Eight channels – helpful when you get wireless interference from your modem, cordless phone, or any of the other standard 2.4 GHz devices that are entwined in our daily lives.
Temperature display – one of my personal favorites. Lets me monitor the nursery temperature remotely, and set a comfort range that alerts me if the temperature ever drops below or exceeds my designated limit.
Voice-activated sound – often times much more practical than a drone of continuous dead air. Perfect when I have quiet music playing in his room that doesn’t need to be transmitted.
Vibration alarm option – sort of like putting your cell phone on vibrate. If warning lights and piercing noise is too much, this is another option.
Night light – effective for middle-of-the-night feedings and changings when you want to keep light stimulation to a minimum.
Rechargeable parent unit – power level stays displayed at all times. Should help cut down on costs too, eliminating the need to replace batteries every couple of weeks.
A few months earlier, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome became far too real when a coworker of mine lost her baby.
This reaffirmed the importance of protecting my baby, and prompted me to investigate further.
Per the CDC and National Center for Health Statistics, SIDS (shockingly) still claims the lives of 3000 children every year in the U.S.
That’s approximately 8 infant deaths every day.
7 SIDS SAFETY TIPS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW
Keeping in mind the figures above, it’s probably wise to remind yourself at this point that the Angelcare AC401 is just a product.
It doesn’t replace common sense, but instead complements it.
Scott W. Cohen, M.D., author of “Eat, Sleep, Poop – A Common Sense Guide to your Baby’s First Year” suggests the following 7 tips:
-Avoid side sleeping and absolutely avoid stomach sleeping. Always place your baby on his back when you put him down to sleep.
-Avoid loose blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals. Make sure your child sleeps on a firm surface.
-Avoid over-dressing your baby and instead dress him in light sleepwear
-Avoid crib bumpers since they no longer serve any practical purpose. They’re merely for aesthetics now that government regulations require cribs to have a safe bar width.
-Avoid cigarette smoke, even secondhand smoke is a risk factor for SIDS
-Avoid excessive time in bouncers and car seats. Often times they put your baby’s body in a compromising position, crimping his airway.
-Avoid co-sleeping as this often results in accidental suffocation.
Back to the Angelcare AC401, specifically – the alarms.
If no movement is sensed for 20 seconds, you can have the monitor alert you in several combinations. It might require a bit of time for you to learn and adjust the settings, but you can ultimately choose three warning options:
-Alarm and vibration
I’ve stumbled upon literally hundreds of articles, assessments, and websites that detail people’s experiences with the Angelcare AC401.
Some are great because they outline product benefits based on personal events, but they’re often hard to find in a sea of rehashed information.
Here’s my summary: Overall, ratings are excellent from a diverse collection of sources.
Amazon.com – 4.5 out of 5 (69 reviews)
Epinions.com – 4.5 out of 5 (38 reviews)
Reviewcentre.com – 4 out of 5 (22 reviews)
Productreview.com.au – 4 out of 5 (91 reviews)
Ciao.co.uk – 4.5 out of 5 (18 reviews)
Beyond my own experience with the AC401, indicators like these should evoke an instant sense of credibility.
That being said, if you’re a glass-is-half-empty type of person looking to concentrate specifically on product weaknesses or limitations, there are 2 particular concerns many of these customers highlight repeatedly.
–False alarms– Yes, they happen.
Sometimes often, and the alarm is quite loud!
After all, the volume IS intended to notify you of an emergency and wake your baby if he’s stopped breathing.
And, it’s often difficult to put him back to sleep after he’s been so rudely awakened.
Not to mention, the additional frustration after you’ve spent the last 3 hours trying to put him to sleep!
Emotionally, you need to prepare yourself in advance for these sorts of occurrences and decide if you can live with them.
Personally, I found the secret was fine tuning the sensor settings to my baby’s movement.
It took a bit of practice, but it’s doable.
–Price– Another true statement, it’s undeniably not the cheapest monitor out there.
You can find many different baby monitors at a fraction of the AC401 cost.
I, however, am a strong believer in that you get what you pay for.
And although I too had a hard time swallowing the price tag, I had to remind myself that I’ve paid far more for less useful gadgets in the past.
For personal reasons, my husband and I do disconnect the sensor pad on occasion.
But knowing that we have the sensor option when we need it warranted the cost for us.
That being said, if you otherwise don’t intend to use the sensor pad regularly, I would advise researching less expensive monitors.
I’ve found the Angelcare AC401 to be a practical device that’s given me good value for my money.
The visual volume bar feature has been very helpful when I’ve needed to turn down the noise, and sound has been excellent.
We’ve been able to keep the false alarms to a minimum, the thermostat function has been spot-on, and battery life has been noteworthy.
Overall, I’d be remiss not to give this product an affirmative thumbs-up. Definitely a good buy if you can find it on sale, in store or online.