Parents Keep a Watchful Eye on Baby Safety

If there's one thing that new or expecting parents can take comfort in, it's this: Your greatest fears are shared by others just like you.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Your baby falling or choking. All topped the list of parents' safety concerns cited in a new survey conducted by the research firm Toluna, Inc.

"Parents today know that keeping kids safe involves round-the-clock diligence," says Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Mom Central (www.momcentral.com), an online resource that provides Moms with household and parenting solutions.

In fact, according to the findings -- and don't be surprised if you recognize yourself here -- a whopping 71 percent of respondents labeled themselves as one of the following:

* "Protective." Parents who'll "stop at nothing to ensure the safety and well-being" of their offspring. Child-proofing is as second-nature to them as investing is to Warren Buffett.

* "Close Supervisors." While not as relentless as the aforementioned category, these parents admit they "hover" and take regular precautions.

No surprise, then, that the same survey ranked baby monitors as the top non-clothing item on parents' must-buy lists -- beating out everything from strollers to childproofing locks to toys.

Baby monitors can buy you peace of mind by transmitting sound and -- in the case of video models -- images for those times when you must step away from the crib. But be forewarned: There are all sorts of models out there, and experts say the biggest challenge is finding one that works with minimal interference from other nearby electronic products.

One way to skirt that problem is to look for that rare monitor that uses Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology, or DECT, like VTech's new Safe&Sound Digital Audio Monitor DM221 (www.babymonitors.vtech.com). If you want to see as well as hear what's going on up to 1,000 feet away from your child, there's the equally new VTech Safe&Sound Full-Color Video and Audio Monitor VM321.

In addition to its high-resolution, 2.8-inch color LCD screen and full-motion video, the device includes advanced features like split-screen and infrared night-vision capabilities, a talk-back intercom system and five different playable lullabies.

Now you just have to decide who needs the lullabies more -- you or your baby.

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