by Sara Lacey
Most car manufacturers take a very low-tech approach to monitoring children in their vehicles. Typically, it involves a curved mirror installed just above the rearview mirror that looks into the back of the vehicle. This actually works fairly well, except when the kids are rear-facing. Unless you’re really great at lining up multiple mirrors and have magnified vision to get a glimpse of your napping baby as your superpower, those mirrors aren’t going to cut the mustard.
What’s a parent to do? Bring on the aftermarket options! These setups involve a camera mounted on the headrest of the rear seat (which is pointed at the baby’s car seat) and a monitor that mounts to the windshield of the vehicle. By the way, these cameras can be moved and mounted on the back of the driver’s seat once the kid’s car seat is turned around and facing forward.
Anyway, the camera wirelessly transmits the video to the monitor, enabling the driver to look in on the baby while keeping their eyes on the road. Well, not really keeping their eyes totally on the road, but you know what we mean.
Two options available online are the Yada Digital Tiny Traveler Wireless Video Baby Monitor and the Garmin babyCam Child Monitor. The Yada monitor costs $149.99 at Walmart.com, and it’s a pretty straightforward arrangement: camera, monitor, mounts, power cord, done.
The Garmin babyCam monitor kit can be paired with multiple Garmin navigation systems, the least expensive being the Garmin Drive 50 priced online at Garmin.com for $129.99. However, the babyCam kit is $199.99 on top of that. If you have multiple kids, you can pair up to four cameras with your navigation system so you don’t have a bunch of video monitors lining your dash. The Garmin system allows you to use a voice command to switch from the navigation screen to the view of the child in back. Another benefit of the Garmin system is that it will send you an alert reminding you to check the back seat for passengers.
Both cameras have a night vision option, so you can check in on Baby even when the sun goes down.