Most parents would like a pair of eyes in the back of their heads sometimes, particularly if your attention is fixed elsewhere - when driving, for instance, writes Adam Binnie from parkers.co.uk
With your baby secured in a rear-facing seat the job of checking they’re OK requires turning around, often awkwardly, and taking your attention off the road. Not ideal.
The Garmin babyCam promises to solve this problem by beaming images from a small camera aimed at your child to a sat-nav screen in the front of the car.
A special antenna fixed to the windscreen with small suction cups picks up the signal from the camera. We ran it up the right-hand side of the glass to keep it away from our eyeline while driving, and plugged it into a special charging cable for the sat-nav itself.
One end goes into the unit and the other into a 12v accessory socket, as normal.
The camera, which is clamped to one of the rear headrests, should automatically be visible to the sat-nav unit, but there’s a manual “pairing” function if it doesn’t display properly.
There’s a button on the sat-nav screen to swap between the map and babyCam image. It’s not the largest target to hit and in some cars the unit is positioned quite far away, making it a bit of a stretch.
The image is bright and clear so you can see what your child is up to, and whether they have their eyes open or closed.
There’s also a night vision mode for when you’re driving in the dark.
We were quite impressed by the Garmin babyCam. It’s easy to set up and quite intuitive to use, although the trailing wires up the windscreen and across the dashboard looked a bit untidy.
There’s also a potential problem if your headrests are the wrong shape – overhanging ones will block the camera’s view, although an adaptor is available to get around this issue.
Then there’s the price - £159.99 for the camera, plus the cost of the sat-nav to display it on.
There are plenty of compatible choices here though; we tested it with a Garmin Drive 40 that costs £109.99.
If you’re in the market for a new sat-nav and are about to have a baby, or are looking for a pricey but useful present for an expecting friend, the Garmin babyCam is quite a convincing package.
If your car has a built-in sat-nav it makes less sense – a cheap clip-on mirror does a remarkably similar job for £10.