It’s the middle of the night, and I’m wide awake listening for any sounds out of place as my husband snores peacefully next to me. As I sit up in bed and carefully sneak out from under the covers, trying not to jostle our dogs awake, I make my way towards my kids’ room across the hall.
At that time, my eldest son, who is now 5, had been waking up at random times in the night and making his way downstairs to play with toys, eat snacks, or—on one unfortunate night—smear toothpaste all over our carpet.
My husband had recently thrown out our broken baby monitor, so we no longer had a way to make sure he stayed in his room other than locking him inside. Which, well, wasn’t a plan I felt good about but sleep deprivation was making me a little more cranky than usual.
We tried video monitors, but each failed because our son would simply unplug or turn them off the second my husband and I were asleep. At times, we settled on putting a baby gate or array of items like a laundry basket outside his door so he would make enough noise to wake me up (like I mentioned, I’m a light sleeper).
At some point, I realized that my husband and I were in denial for a little too long. We really needed to find an affordable solution that would help keep my son safe (what if he somehow got out of the house while we were asleep?) and get our sleeping back to normal. Which is when I stumbled upon a fellow mom’s review of Decco’s the Toddler Monitor—a motion sensor that hangs on your child’s door. The device is activated on your smartphone if your child leaves their room, house, or other safe place.
@goodbyetwentiesWhere are my anxious moms at? #toddler #toddlertok #momlife♬ _Cute – Gabe Lost
How does it work?
When the monitor first arrived at our house, I was honestly surprised at how compact it was—just large enough to hang on our doorknobs without worrying that it would fall off by accident. It paired easily with the free app available to my iPhone and my husband’s Samsung phone. There were a few different sounds that we could choose from: from an intense beeping like a truck backing up to the gentle sound of bells.
What I love about this product
For starters, the monitor is small and lightweight enough that you can also pack it for travel, like when you’re staying at Grandma’s or in a hotel room. And because the monitor can be hung on any type of doorknob, it doesn’t require installation. As a bonus, each charge lasts up to five days, and its Bluetooth allows you to connect in places without Wi-Fi or unreliable internet.
The cute monster-shaped monitor is made with 100 percent BPA-free silicone materials, with no small parts or plugs to worry about when it is set on your child’s door. Coming from a family who has a child with autism, a constant worry is that our child will put something dangerous in their mouth.
I also love that it was created by moms, Lisa Caruso and Krista Teare, who had first-hand knowledge of experiencing a child escaping from the house while everyone was sleeping. The scare sparked an idea. Later, over two glasses of wine, they made a plan to develop a simple motion detector on a door with a mission to help keep kids safe.
What happened when we tested the monitor at home
We originally kept the monitor set with its original settings, placed it on our kids’ bedroom door right, and went about brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed. Not even a full minute passed before the loud alarm went off piercing through our house. I stumbled to grab a towel to dry my hands and press the off button in the app. As my heartbeat calmed, I realized that it was only a false alarm.
We immediately went into the app and fiddled with the settings to lower the sensitivity and the alarm type to something more pleasant. It was refreshing that everything was simple enough to change and I didn’t need to search around forever to find how to make adjustments.
Soon enough it was bedtime and we were ready to give it a go again. A few hours later, the alarm woke me up before my son was able to sneak far from his room. While it was a success, there were some kinks my husband and I needed to work out. For example, my husband would sometimes sleep through the alarm. Instead of me blindly searching for his phone as he snored unaware next to me, I added the app to my iPhone too.
Four months later, we’re still using it!
After those few growing pains, we are comfortable with our system. I wake up when our son does in the middle of the night, and my husband will start the day with them in the morning while I catch up on some sleep. As of today, it’s been about four months, and we are still happy we invested in a device to help keep our son safe and get our sleep back on track.