Summer Infant traces its corporate history back to 1985 in Rhode Island when William Lockett III wanted a safe method of soothing his infant daughter Summer and noticed that she would become calm as he bounced her in his arms. From such inspiration came his first brainchild, the original Bouncy Seat, a product now so ubiquitous that most baby gear companies have duplicated a “bouncy seat” for their own merchandise lines. In the years following the introduction of the Bouncy Seat, Summer Infant saw spectacular growth as the company racked up ~$10 million in annual sales during the middle of the next decade. However, Summer Infant fell on hard times by the end of the century and sales shrunk to just over $1million by 2001.
Enter Jason Macari, the former CEO of Summer Infant, who discovered the company while VP of Product Development and General Manager of Safety 1st Inc., a maker of child safety products such as car seats, high chairs and strollers. Looking to run his own business, Macari bought the company and, with his experience in the industry along with his mechanical engineering degree and MBA, began developing patented products for Summer Infant. Macari also improved the company’s bottom line by shifting manufacturing to China. The company is now a leading designer, marketer and distributor of health, safety and wellness products for infants and toddlers, totaling $250 million in sales. Summer Infant products can be found at Target, Babies R Us, Amazon and Home Depot, with company divisions now in Canada and the United Kingdom. Macari stepped down as Summer Infant CEO earlier in 2014 but remains with the company as consultant and director.
Remember this safety precaution: all monitor manufacturers including Summer Infant stress the importance of keeping all cords and camera at least three feet away from baby’s crib. Not only is the electrical cord a strangulation concern, a distance of three feet or one meter optimizes the camera’s picture quality. Also note that all Summer video monitor systems can support up to four cameras simultaneously.
Summer Infant offers numerous baby monitors, categorized into four categories:
- A. Internet
- B. Video
- C. Audio
- D. Prenatal
They also sell accessories such as extra cameras and batteries as well as replacement parts including wall mounts and adapters. Summer Infant monitor brand names include:
|Baby Touch||Day & Night|
|Baby Zoom||Best View|
|Baby Link||Safe Sight|
|Peek/Connect Plus||Secure Sight|
|Slim & Secure||Sure Sight|
Summer Infant has five products listed in this category. They are as follows:
The unifying quality among all of these products is of course their internet capabilities. Other features common to these items are the inclusion of hardware wall mounting kits, AC adapter cords and security clips for securing power cord to walls or furniture. For those products that have monitors, one 3.7V rechargeable lithium/ion battery is included. Some standard features on Summer video baby monitors include a 3.5 inch color touchscreen, a kick-stand recharge base, a belt clip for portability, remote brightness, motion tracking and volume controls and a video on/off button.
The camera features include:
- infrared LEDs for night vision capability
- two-way talkback communication
- a multi-positional/multi-directional microphone that focuses on baby’s voice while filtering out ambient noise
- five-level sound lights (useful in noisy environments)
- pan/scan/multi-level zoom
- split screen
- temperature sensor
- internet status lights
- can take snapshots or video of baby to be stored on smartphone or tablet
- system can use up to four cameras simultaneously
Both the Connect Internet Baby Camera Set and the Peek Plus Internet Baby Monitor System include a gateway for internet connectivity. The Summer baby monitor supports multi-platform computer architecture for iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Android and Blackberry with Wi-Fi apps available from Google Play and iTunes.
Summer Infant monitors in this category include:
- Slim & Secure Plus Digital Color Video Monitor
- Complete Coverage Plus Digital Color Video Monitor Set
- Best View Digital Color Video Monitor
- Baby Touch Plus Digital Color Video Monitor
- Safe Sight Digital Video Monitor
- Secure Sight Digital Color Video Monitor
- Multi View Digital Color Video Monitor Set
- Baby Touch 2 Digital Color Video Monitor
- Baby Touch Boost Digital Color Video Monitor
- Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor
- Day & Night Digital Vi deo Monitor
- Complete Coverage Digital Color Video Monitor Set
- Best View Choice Digital Color Video Monitor Set
- Dual Coverage Digital Color Video Monitor Set
- Sure Sight Digital Color Video Monitor
- Slim & Secure 2 Digital Color Video Monitor
No doubt the observant reader will see a redundancy between the names of some of these Summer video monitors. So what exactly are the differences between the digital color video baby monitors found in (4) Baby Touch Plus, (8) Baby Touch 2, (9) Baby Touch Boost and (10) Baby Touch? Or (1) Slim & Secure Plus and (16) Slim & Secure 2 Digital Color Video Monitors? Look at the images below:
(9) Baby Touch Boost Digital Color Video Monitor
(10) Baby Touch Digital Color Video Monitor
(4) Baby Touch Plus Digital Color Video Monitor
A brief glance shows that all these models are virtually identical; the only differences are that (4) Baby Touch Plus has a nightlight on the camera while the others do not and (9) Baby Touch Boost has a temperature sensor while the others do not. The verbiage in the manuals may be slightly different but all other functions are the same.
(8) Baby Touch 2 Digital Color Video Monitor
All images: Summer Infant
Thus, as the last image depicts, the (8) Baby Touch 2 is the deluxe model of all four, combining features from the lesser three versions while including flourishes like motion tracking, multi-level zoom and a feature control menu (as opposed to menu bars).
Before moving along, we’ll compare the (1) Slim & Secure Plus and the (16) Slim & Secure 2:
(1) Slim & Secure Plus Digital Color Video Monitor
(16) Slim & Secure 2 Digital Color Video Monitor
Again, both of these models are quite similar. The major difference between the two monitors is that (1) Plus does not have the pan/scrolling capability of (16) S&S 2. Also, (1) Plus comes with an Audio/Video (AV) cable included as well as an antenna built into the camera while (16) S&S 2 does not. Note that the AC Adapter Jack is on the bottom of (1) Plus’ camera unit while the AC Adapter Jack on (16) S&S 2 is on the side and back of the camera unit. Both models come with two adapters, six security clips and a hardware wall mounting kit. Also, both share these features below:
- Video Sleep Mode
- Sound Lights
- Quick View/Video On/Off Button
- Night Vision
- Two-Way Conversation — Talkback
- Multi-Position Camera/Microphone
- Digital Zoom
However, (16) S&S 2 has a Pan/Scan camera capability while (1) Plus does not.
As one readily discerns, Summer Infant has numerous models with a high correlation of similarities in this category. It is up to diligent parents to sift through the manuals to find the right product for their baby and their home situation.
Find More Summer Video Baby Monitors details:
In contrast to the large selection of Summer video baby monitors, there are only four Summer Infant audio monitors:
- Slim & Clear Digital Audio Monitor
- Slim & Clear Dual Receiver Digital Audio Monitor
- Baby Wave Digital Audio Monitor
- Baby Wave Deluxe Digital Audio Monitor
(2) has two monitors while (1) has but one. The Slim & Clear monitor includes handy features like low battery and out-of-range indicators and comes with a convenient belt clip. Meanwhile, both Baby Wave monitors share the following features:
- sound lights
- sensitive mic
- out of range indicator
- low battery indicator
- belt clip
The (4) Deluxe has these additional elements:
- two-way communications — talkback
- night light
- temperature monitoring
- adjustable volume
Find More Summer Audio Baby Monitors details:
The prenatal Summer Infant baby monitor is the Heart to Heart Digital Prenatal Listening System. See manual here. Note that it is not a medical device and should not be used for diagnostic or any medical purposes. It does not substitute for a physician’s prenatal care.
This monitor can begin detecting baby’s heartbeat at the beginning of the third trimester or about 28 weeks. It comes with a sensor unit, ear buds and a positioning belt.
Summer Infant is a well-known and entrenched player in the child consumer products industry. While it has a fairly respectable reputation, it’s certainly not purveying the highest rated baby monitors. For example, Baby Gear Lab’s R. J. Spurrier calls Baby Touch a “solid perform(er)” but claims the similarly-priced Motorola Digital Video monitor “outperforms” the comparable Summer Infant model. User reviews at the Toy ‘R’ Us website are decidedly mixed as well. Rob Pegoraro of ‘PC Magazine‘ says of the Baby Touch system that its baby monitor and webcam “does neither job all that well” and prefers the Withings Smart Baby Monitor. However, newegg.com gives the Baby Touch Boost four out of five stars while babygoespro.com rates the Baby Touch at 4½ out of 5 stars.
The skinny? Baby Gear Lab’s Spurrier evaluates the Baby Touch as having good image quality, above average range and easy to use with great pan/tilt/zoom. On the other hand, it has no sound activation and relatively few features. He deems it a good baby video monitor but not a great one; user reviews on the Baby Gear Lab web page are not nearly as sanguine. One of the upscale Summer Infant video monitor models will cost in the neighborhood of approximately $250.