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What is Up With Infant Wearable Monitors – EP 17

infant wearable monitors

Increasingly parents are using infant wearable monitors. These wearable devices are worn as a leg band, sock, or pinned onto the diaper, and claim to monitor your child’s wellbeing by tracking their breathing, pulse rate, blood oxygen levels, etc. Although they can’t outright claim to prevent SIDS, the marketing material strongly hints at, “Buy this and we’ll let you know if your child stops breathing during the night.”

And that my friends, is marketing gold. Because there is nothing more terrifying to parents than SIDS and most people would gladly donate a kidney in exchange for a gadget claiming to protect against it. Two kidneys even.

So while the category of wearable monitors is relatively new, there are many companies selling them (Owlet, Mimo, Snuza, Sproutling, etc.), and anecdotally, many parents seem to be buying them (despite the $$$ price-tag).

But should they? Are they safe to put on your child? Do they work? And if it does go off in the middle of the night, what should you do? How will you know if it’s a technical glitch or a child in crisis?

Recently, Dr. Bonafide of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia published an article in JAMA looking at infant wearable monitors. Dr. Bonafide was also gracious enough to join us for the latest podcast to help expand our understanding on these devices.

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • What sparked Dr. Bonafide’s interest in wearable monitors?
  • What do we currently know about these devices?
  • What happens when the monitor goes off?
  • What is the AAP stance on infant monitors
  • What is SIDS vs. SUIDS? And what can parents do to reduce their risks?
  • What do parents who are using these have to say about them?
  • What are the potential risks associated with the use of wearable infant monitors?
  • How might these help infants who need medical home monitoring in the future?

Further Reading

The Emerging Market of Smartphone-Integrated Infant Physiologic Monitors
Don’t Use Baby Monitors to Prevent SIDS
Marketing wearable home baby monitors: real peace of mind?

Check it out! If you’ve got any thoughts, as always, shoot us a comment below or email us at [email protected]!

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Dr. Bonafide is a pediatrician in the Division of General Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is also a core faculty member of the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness and an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focus has been on “alarm fatigue” – which is basically when monitors “cry wolf,” and practitioners in the hospital become overwhelmed with false alarms, and subsequently potentially miss those alarms that are more critical.