Hank Investigates: Baby Monitors - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Hank Investigates: Baby Monitors

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Look at this cute baby all cozy in her crib. We don't know her or her parents but all we need is this baby monitor in our car to spy on her sleeping.

And her mother had no idea.

Hank

"If you look at the monitor in the car, that's your baby in the crib that we can see."

Mother

"Right now? You can see her?"

Hank

"Yes."

Mother

"Are you kidding me?"

Remember, this is live video.

Mother (watching video monitor)

"(Gasps) Oh my God. That's horrible."

It was shockingly easy for us to peek into baby cribs and kids rooms in house after house as we drove thru the suburbs of Boston. Our video baby monitor propped on our dashboard picked up the signal from the monitor in this baby's room. And this one. And this one.

We saw this empty crib, certainly a baby lives here. And his mother confirmed, yes, that's inside her house!

Mother

"It's shocking!"

Their nanny was horrified.

Nanny

"It's scary, you don't know who's looking into your house!"

Hank

"Did you realize that could happen?"

Nanny

"I had no idea."

Here's a pile of stuffed animals. Here's a toddler bed with a soccer ball in the corner. Someone has a Star Wars quilt.

Here's another crib. And another one. Parents use these monitors to keep their kids safe, they help you keep a protective eye on the baby when you're in another room.

But they could be putting your kids at risk by making it incredibly easy for *strangers* to see into your home!

Richard Avery, New England Regional President, Securitas Security Services

"I think people need to be mindful of the fact that these are mini- radio stations, they are mini TV stations and they are broadcasting out."

Every parent we showed--was surprised and disturbed.

Mother

"I would be scared to death that somebody's watching my kid."

Mother

"That's kind of scary that you can see that from outside somebody's house.

All it took was a video baby monitor - exactly the kind you can easily buy online or in any baby department.

And we found bad guys can get a clear view of more than babies:

Here's someone's family room--with a big flat screen TV.

Here's an adult size bed.

And here is someone's bathroom.

The instructions that came with our monitor did warn "nursery monitors use public airwaves" and "signals broadcast by this monitor may be picked up by other receivers."

But clearly most parents never realized *that* means we can do *this*.

Richard Avery, New England Regional President, Securitas Security Services

"The signals that come out the baby monitors today are absolutely strong enough not just leave your house but to go down the road."

And it's not just video - you can hear, too.  We can't legally record audio--but trust us. You can hear every word.

So how do you protect your privacy? First--turn your monitors off when you're not home. And when they're on? Be aware that anyone with a receiver can see you and hear you.

Mother

"It makes me sad because I can't believe that, you know?"

If you're in the market for a monitor, which many parents rely on, security experts say, check out the digital ones. They're more expensive--but their signals are more difficult for others to pick up.  

(Copyright (c) 2010 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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