In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Angelcare AC403 Review

Reliable sensor pad with sensitivity adjustment and sound monitor
The AC403 includes a sensor pad and one to two parent devices.
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Price:   $120 List | $110 at Amazon
Pros:  Reliable, parent unit, sound monitor
Cons:  Not very portable, need a hard surface, not good for all mattress types
Manufacturer:   Angelcare
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team  ⋅  Jun 22, 2018
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The Skinny

The Angelcare AC403 is a mattress style movement monitor with a single sensor pad, nursery component, and dedicated parent unit. The AC403 is a reliable option with a sensitivity adjustment feature on the nursery unit. This feature helps parents find the sweet spot in monitoring for consistent alerts without false alarms. While the setup of the AC403 takes time and patience, we think it helps create a high functioning monitor that can help parents get a good night's sleep. This unit is not the best for those who want a great option for traveling thanks to multiple parts and specific requirements for the crib and mattress. It also isn't great for larger or mobile children thanks to the single pad design. However, with parent alerts and sound monitoring, the AC403 is a good choice for many families.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The nursery unit on the AC403 connects to the sensor pad under the mattress and relays information to the parent unit like lack of movement and sound. It also has a nightlight and low EMF.
The nursery unit on the AC403 connects to the sensor pad under the mattress and relays information to the parent unit like lack of movement and sound. It also has a nightlight and low EMF.

Angelcare began in 1997. They offer a variety of sound, video, and movement products for monitoring babies. The company is located in Canada, the USA, the UK, Europe, and Asia. Angelcare tries to provide peace of mind by helping parents keep tabs on their baby's comfort and well-being.

Performance Comparison


The Angelcare AC403 replaces the AC401 we have reviewed in years past. The new model continues to impress with similar features and functionality, but the single sensor pad is disappointing and the sound is only subpar.

The AC403 has adjustable sensitivity on the back of the nursery unit to help parents avoid false alarms.
The AC403 has adjustable sensitivity on the back of the nursery unit to help parents avoid false alarms.

Reliability


The AC403 is a sensor pad style of movement monitor that did not have false alarms during our testing after we set the sensitivity level. This adjustment feature can help parents find the best level for their nursery and mattress. We suspect being able to make this adjustment is why we didn't experience any false alarms. Parents should avoid placing the product and crib near any device that could cause false alarms by creating vibration or movement like a heater, air filter, or white noise maker.

Mattress Selection
The AC403 does not work with every type of mattress. You can't use it with a hollow core or memory foam mattress where the foam will have direct contact with the sensor.

The AC403 seems to be one of the most reliable products we reviewed, but some online users have reported false alarms once their baby is old enough to roll into areas not covered by the sensors. We acknowledge that this is definitely possible, but as indicated on several movement product websites, babies that can roll and move have usually developed enough to avoid the issues that lead to lack of breathing during sleep which makes the need for movement monitoring significantly decreased. Depending on your little one and your mattress, you may or may not experience this problem as your baby ages.

The AC403 parent unit plugs in and has backup batteries  so you'll have coverage no matter what happens as long as you are within range.
The AC403 parent unit plugs in and has backup batteries, so you'll have coverage no matter what happens as long as you are within range.

We like that the AC403 has AC power and a battery backup. This feature is unique amongst the units we reviewed. Having both energy resources means parents can sleep soundly knowing they have coverage for the night.

The AC403 can be purchased with a single or double parent unit. We think having two parent units can be very helpful and provides additional monitoring opportunities.
The AC403 can be purchased with a single or double parent unit. We think having two parent units can be very helpful and provides additional monitoring opportunities.

A parent unit is a unique component in movement monitors with most of the competition alerting only in the nursery to rouse the baby as you race to turn off the alarm. Pairing a movement product with a sound or video monitor can solve this problem, but it is far more convenient to have a single parent unit that does it all. The inclusion of a dedicated parent unit means you will get immediate alerts, have regular feedback on what is happening in baby's room, and you can potentially avoid the loud false alarms that can distress a peacefully sleeping little one. A parent unit provides alerts in your location instead of inside the nursery. It gives you constant contact with your baby's room and you avoid loud in-nursery alarms found in some of the competition. Also, one product instead of two is simpler and you don't need to remember to turn on two products every night.

The initial setup of the AC403 can be challenging  but the everyday use of the parent unit is far simpler. However  it can take time and the manual to figure things out.
The initial setup of the AC403 can be challenging, but the everyday use of the parent unit is far simpler. However, it can take time and the manual to figure things out.

Ease of Use


This monitor is fairly straightforward once you familiarize yourself with the features and setup process. Angelcare suppliesuseful user videos in case you get stuck or need an assist. Initially, we found the parent unit somewhat confusing, but once you have the unit set, there isn't much to consider on a day-to-day basis.

You need to turn the nursery sensor on the AC403 off before you remove your little one from the bed to avoid the alarm going off.
You need to turn the nursery sensor on the AC403 off before you remove your little one from the bed to avoid the alarm going off.

The difficulty we experienced with the parent unit is due to the impressive amount of customization during initial setup. Once we familiarized ourselves with the parent unit, it wasn't a problem. You need to wait to turn the movement monitor on until after little ones are in bed, and you need to turn it offbefore you take your child out of bed. This process prevents the alarm from going off after it senses no movement with no child in the bed.

Set Up


Set up of the AC403 sensor pad is similar to any sensor pad monitor including the Babysense 7. The surface under the mattress must be firm with minimal flex to avoid false alarms and for the unit to function properly. Angelcare has a potential accessory wooden board you can use if your crib doesn't have a firm surface for the mattress to sit on. The sensor pad is placed under the mattress and the wires from the pad are routed to the nursery unit. Be sure to route the wires out of baby's reach to avoid potential injury or death related to strangulation. Angelcare recommends placing the nursery unit at least 39" from the crib.

The AC403 includes a sensor pad and one to two parent devices.
The AC403 includes a sensor pad and one to two parent devices.

Portability


The AC403 is not easy to transport making it a poor choice if you want to travel with it. It has multiple parts and requires more time to set up and a somewhat specialized crib and mattress set up. On the upside, most parents feel less worried about monitoring little ones because you are usually sharing a room.

Electromagnetic Field (EMF)


The AC403 did not register any EMF (Volts/meter) in our tests. These results make it ideal compared to other products that do have EMF. Some of the wearable movement products we tested emit high levels of EMF and in our opinion, are not good choices given the sensitivity of an infant's developing systems.

Accessories


For the AC403 to work properly, there must be a hard surface under the crib mattress. While many cribs already have a hard surface in their design, Angelcare offers a board accessory, Angelcare Wooden Board for Monitors, suitable for a standard crib if your crib does not have a hard surface.

Other Versions


Angelcare offers a variety of movement monitor options. Some of these products feature sound or video capabilities. Some even have wireless features with touchscreen options!

The Angelcare AC517 movement and video monitor
  • If you are considering a video and movement monitor, the Angelcare AC517 is a possible contender that includes a fancy touchscreen. This product is more expensive than other Angelcare products, but some parents will be impressed by the technology of this choice.


Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team