Friday, June 24, 2011

Graco - Secure Coverage Digital Baby Monitor Review

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted back in February regarding testing a Graco Secure Coverage Baby Monitor! Graco provided me with this monitor and asked me to share my honest opinion on this product. I was so excited to get it in the mail. I opened up the package, and decided to read the instructions. I know; who does this right? I am glad I did because you have to charge the unit for 16 hours before using it. Why? because this model's parent unit operates on a rechargeable battery pack! I was super thrilled at this point and yes it was very difficult for me to wait to use it, but I waited and I am happy I did so that the battery won't wear down as fast. A feature that I found this unit had was that the baby unit also works on either 3 AAA batteries or the AC adapter that came with the unit. At the time, I wasn't quite sure if I would use the batteries in it, only to use it plugged into the wall with the AC adapter, but I soon came to find out not just once, but twice that we had lost power and I snuck into the room the first time to plug 3 AAA's into the unit so I could hear Gracie sleeping. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that it uses rechargeable and AC power because I usually never have batteries stashed in the house enough to where the kids don't find them.

Graco Secure Coverage Baby Monitor Model 2M19

With getting this in March, not quite mowing weather, I had the hankering to get on the riding mower and start mowing. Unfortunately we ended up holding off until the end of April to begin that task and I was very anxious to get Gracie sleeping so I could run out and mow. After all this parent monitor had a belt clip on the back and I could wear it around. Unfortunately every time I went to bend over it kept falling off. I found a really neat way around this situation though... I went and put one of the baby's rings that link together and put that on the top where the handle is and it's a go anywhere I want to tool now! I also use it to keep my timer on the same ring so that I can work and focus on what I am doing (not to mention keep track of that dang timer!).

I love the light system on it, showing noise/movement in the room and the vibrate feature works well in the house but not on a noisy tractor. I love the light motions because while mowing I could look down at the lights to see if there was any noise going in the room.

I have found that I use this monitor better than the other unit I had before, not only by the quality, but saving me 3-4 batteries a day! I had a 25.00 unit before with a nightlight in the baby unit and I found a lot of static ran through it from my husband's fire pager. I had to watch where I plugged it in and where it sat before because it would actually make the pager go all crazy. With the Graco Secure coverage monitor, we do not have that problem, both the monitor system and the Fireman's pager work wonderfully as they should hand in hand together. I find that both the baby and parent monitors are not as harsh if you get too close with squelching also. A plus when you forget you have the monitor on and try to attempt to sneak in the room without waking a sleeping child!

As for the sturdiness of the parent monitor, I have dropped the unit a couple of times before putting the link ring on and it still works and looks as good as it did before taking it out of the box. Both units are very easy to dust/clean, even just using a wet washrag and running it over the parent unit works wonders for the dirt.

A neat trick I found to help me get the baby to sleep: I turn the unit on before feeding the last bottle and keep it near me. The two girls in her room listen to the radio, so with her finishing her last bottle, me rocking, and her listening to the music they listen to in their sleep helps her fall asleep in no time flat. I also can hear if the other two are asleep so that I can put the baby down without them waking her up.

when Graco sent out the Secure Coverage Digital Monitor, they sent more information that I found very good. I am including it in this review to help others as well....

Introducing the new secure coverage™ digital baby monitor

Click here to visit the interactive product demo!

You always want the confidence that baby is resting safe and sound. That’s why our secure coverage™ digital monitor operates on a 900 MHz frequency, so you can clearly hear even the quietest whimper, without fear of interference from your phone or wireless network.

Plus, at $44.99, the secure coverage™ digital baby monitor is a great value and is also available with two parent units (retail $64.99)!

This monitor comes with several thoughtful details, including:

  • Sound lights and exclusive vibration alert to see, hear and feel baby’s call
  • Exclusive Graco® vibration technology can be turned on & off
  • Secure digital technology provides optimal clarity, performance and privacy
  • Low battery alarm reminds you to charge the parent unit
  • Belt clip gives active parents wear-it-anywhere convenience
  • Battery back up in child unit for added peace of mind

Complete Household Coverage

  • 2000 ft. range for complete household coverage
  • Secure digital technology for optimal clarity, performance and privacy
  • 900 MHZ frequency means no interference from phones and electronics
  • Includes: 1 child unit, 1 parent unit, 2 AC adapters, 1 instruction booklet


Monitor Noise: Why do you hear static? The two main causes of static are due to weak signal and/or interference. Read below to find out common causes for weak signal/interference and prevention suggestions.

Weak Signal – think of your AM/FM radio in your car, the further you drive from the city or radio station
transmitter, the weaker the signal. So the further the parent unit is from the nursery unit, the greater
the chances for static. Also, read your product instructions for maximum range – this is the best case
tested range, but will be affected or reduced by interference.

Interference – there are many things that disrupt your monitor’s reception. Below is a list of common
causes of interference and prevention suggestions.

• Background Noise: Your monitor’s job is to pick up sounds in the nursery – this includes background
noise that may not be static.

• Channels:
- The monitors allow you to manually change channels. On Analog monitors, make sure you change
the channel on both the parent and nursery units. On Digital monitors, you only need to
change the channel on the nursery unit.
- Ask your neighbor if they are using a baby monitor. You may have to change channels to avoid
interference with their monitor.
- Try changing channels on other wireless equipment in your home (WiFi modems and routers).

• Other Electronics: Lots of signals are being transmitted at the same frequency as your monitor,
which will cause interference.
- Analog monitors operate at 49Mhz and 900Mhz, similar to AM/FM radios and some cordless phones.
- Digital monitors operate at 900Mhz and 2.4Ghz, which also supports some cordless telephones,
WiFi, Bluetooth, microwave ovens and other wireless devices.
- Try turning off other electronics and wireless devices one at a time to see which device may
be interfering.
- Keep your cell phones away from both the parent and nursery unit.

• Batteries:- Low batteries or dead batteries cause interference.
- Make sure both nursery and parent units batteries are charged.

• Construction/Furniture/Plants:
- Signals can be weakened or blocked by construction materials in your home (metal studs, wire
mesh for stucco, plumbing or A/C ducts, etc.).
- Avoid placing your nursery and parent units on metal objects, this also causes a weak-signal condition.
- Even non-metal items can interfere – Did you know long needles on some pine trees are the
perfect length to absorb 900Mhz signals – like a Christmas tree?

• Motors: Motors will cause interference.
- This includes washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, ceiling fans, humidifiers, air filter, dish washers,
treadmill, furnace, kitchen appliances, and refrigerators.

• Sun:
- The FCC requires radio stations to reduce power output at night to keep them from interfering
with each other after the sun goes down.
- Energy from the sun will increase background noise on analog monitors and cause weak signal
conditions for digital monitors.
- Lightning storms can cause interference.

Privacy: Not all monitors are private.
There are two types of monitors – analog and digital. Read below to understand the difference
between the two technologies.
Analog – simple, continuous sound transmission at a fixed frequency. Note, some video monitors are
analog, so both the audio and video signals will NOT be secure.
Digital – clear, secure connection that offers privacy and virtually eliminates static and interference.

Batteries: Understanding rechargeable vs. non-rechargeable.
There are two types of batteries – rechargeable and non-rechargeable. Read below to learn how to
optimize the performance of your batteries.

Rechargeable Batteries:
• First use – charge the rechargeable batteries for at least 16 hours before first use. Parent units
should be able to run 8-10 hours before needing a recharge.
• Battery lifespan:
- Rechargeable batteries have a limited number of times they can be charged.
- The battery storage capacity diminishes over time, so the batteries will not hold a charge as
long over the life of the battery.
- Battery should last about 2-3 years.
Non-rechargeable batteries:
• Do NOT mix old and new batteries.
• Check or replace backup batteries on nursery units periodically (just like you should check the
batteries on your smoke alarms regularly).
Note: Nursery units are constantly transmitting a signal when they are ON, which will use up battery
life if they are not plugged into AC power.

Troubleshooting Tips:
Need Help?
• Always refer to your product manual. Can’t find it? Download a copy at
• Want to speak to an actual person? Call Graco’s helpful customer service line: 1-800-345-4109.

Model #:
• Product model info is listed inside the battery compartment of the parent unit and on the
outside of the nursery unit.
• The UPC code is listed on the bottom of the box.
• On analog monitors, the channel is listed with AB or XY and has a black check over the channel
code to indicate which one is in the box.

• Graco’s analog parent units require 3 “AAA” batteries that are not included. Batteries need to
be installed according to the diagram molded into the plastic of the battery compartment.
• Graco’s digital monitors include a rechargeable battery for the parent unit.
• Graco’s nursery units operate on AC power and use battery as back up.
• Before your monitor is ready to use, the battery must be installed into the parent unit – remove
battery door cover on the parent unit with a key or flat blade screw driver & place in either
rechargeable battery pack (included in digital) or non-rechargeable batteries.

Static Clings:
• There is a static cling on the parent unit sound lights & nursery unit night light – remove these
before using.

1st Time Use:
• The rechargeable batteries need to be installed into the parent unit before charging.
• Charge the batteries at least 16 hours before first use.
• Place the nursery unit within 10 feet of baby. Plug an AC adapter into the back on the back of
the nursery unit. Plug the adaptor into a working 120 volt AC outlet.
• Aim the nursery unit towards baby and check that no walls or large objects could block
sound transmission.
• Place the parent unit within 5 feet of nursery unit and turn the unit on. The sound light LEDs
will illuminate and bottom LED will be red on the digital units. You will also hear a single
audible beep.
• Turn on the nursery unit, the green power light should come on.
• Within a few seconds, the parent unit will lock onto the nursery unit. On the digital units, the
connection LED on the parent should change from red to green. You monitor is ready for use.

Erasing the Pairing on Digital Units:
• Turn the parent unit off.
• Hold the volume-down button on the parent unit while pressing the on/off button. Continue to
hold the volume-down button down until you hear a single beep and all the sounds lights
illuminate briefly.
• Release the volume-down button.
• Press and hold the volume-down button again.
• Within 2 seconds you will hear a beep and all the sound lights & red lost-connection LED will be lit.
Release the volume down button. The parent unit is ready to pair with the nursery unit.

Pairing a Digital Parent Unit with the Nursery Unit:
• Place the nursery unit in the same room 5 feet away from parent unit.
• Make sure the parent unit is turned ON after erasing the pairing (all the sound lights & red
lost-connection LED should be lit).
• Turn ON the nursery unit, the green power light will come on.
• Within a few seconds, the parent unit will find the nursery unit. The sound lights will shut off
and the parent unit will beep. The parent unit is now paired with the nursery unit.
• Repeat this procedure if you need to pair another parent unit with this nursery unit.
• If nothing happened when you turned on the nursery unit, first try turning the nursery unit off
and then on again. If the parent unit still does not pair with the nursery unit, press the channel
button on the nursery unit, then turn the nursery unit off and then on again.

Parent unit won’t turn on:
• Does it have batteries in it?
• Are you using the correct batteries?
• Is it plugged in (if you aren’t using batteries)?
• Is the volume turned on?
• Are the units in range of one another?

Unable to connect:
• Parent and nursery units must be in range of one another. Check the box/manual to find out
the range. Remember those are best case ranges because other things like household electronics,
construction materials, etc can affect level of interference and shorten the range.
• Re-pair your units (if digital).
• Make sure both the nursery and parent units are set to the same channel (A/B X/Y) on
analog monitors.

In truth, I really wish I would have looked harder and not thought that "a baby monitor is not just a baby monitor" and went with this one to begin with. At $44.99, I was much happier with this one that I am with the old one. The only thing I miss on the old one was the night light I had in the baby unit. If I were going to have another child I would have went for the two parent model - 2M20 so that both my husband and I would have one, or I would leave one in one part of the house and one in another, and then I wouldn't need to wear it! :O)

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