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Listening for Baby

March 19, 1987

What do you get for the parents of a new-age baby who have everything?

A nursery monitor.

With this walkie-talkie-like device, modern parents can spy on their infants and not even be in the same room.

Ranging in price from $40 to $60, the devices, which include a transmitter for the baby's room and a portable receiver for the parents, are becoming popular, said Lisa Curran of The Juvenile Shop in Sherman Oaks.

"It's really sensitive," she said. "You can even hear the baby breathing."

Picking up every little sound also can be a problem. Curran said she had one man tell her that he could hear his baby cry every few minutes.

"He kept running into his baby's room and the baby was always fast asleep. Finally, he found out it was his next door neighbor's baby who was crying. He also had a nursery monitor and they were on the same frequency."

Despite its quirks, however, proud parents Billy and Cheri Steinkellner of Studio City found the device purely a pleasure.

"It's great for nighttime," Cheri said. "We have to keep the door to the baby's room closed at night so the cat won't sleep in her crib. In the morning, the baby wakes up really early and we just lie in bed and listen to her singing to herself and playing with her toys. It's really sweet."

She said a friend of hers heard her baby's pacifier fall out of her mouth and ran in to replace it before the baby woke up.

Other parents have found added uses for the monitor. A screenwriter who writes in a converted garage in his backyard said, "I'm starting to use it to listen to the phone machine. I can screen calls."

Curran said one woman bought two monitors: one for her baby's room and one for her maid's room.

"She wanted to spy on her maid," Curran said.


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