Should You Buy a Monitor to Track Your Baby's Breathing?

baby sleeping
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As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your baby. From researching the best ways to take care of yourself during pregnancy to doing everything you can to make your house safe for a little one, when you become a parent, your life changes forever. Instead of thinking only of yourself or about your partner, your primary thoughts and concerns are on the little baby who depends on you for everything—including when they're sleeping.

Safe Sleep

One of the biggest worries for new parents is how to keep their baby safe during sleep. SIDS affects more than 2,000 families every year, so it's a very frightening risk to think about for your baby and most parents want to do everything they can to reduce their baby's risk of SIDS.

Along with following the safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which includes advice such as always laying your baby to sleep on her back in her own crib or playpen, making sure there is nothing in the crib, including loose sheets or blankets, and room sharing with caregivers, if possible, for the first six months of life, you may be wondering if there is anything else you can do to protect your baby while he or she sleeps. 

Sleep Monitors

To try to reduce the risk of SIDS and help ease parents' minds about their baby's health and well-being during sleep, many different types of sleep monitors and safety products have been introduced and made available for parents to purchase.

There are different types of sleep monitors available and they all work a little differently, but in general, most of them are designed to monitor your baby's breathing and alert a parent if the baby stops breathing.

Owlet Sock Monitor

The Owlet sock monitor is one of the newest baby sleep monitors on the market and it was designed with the same technology that hospitals use to track a baby's oxygen levels, so it's more accurate than other types of sleep monitors.

Other types of non-hospital grade monitors rely on movement to measure the baby's breathing, which can cause false alarms since newborns do not breathe in regular, steady patterns, even when they are breathing normally.

The Owlet sock monitor is designed to prevent against false alarms since it was designed specifically to pick up on a baby's actual heart rate and oxygen levels. It's programmed to alert both your phone and the "base station" when your baby's heart rate or oxygen drops below a safe level, so you're sure to wake up and check your baby.

Another benefit of the sock monitor is that it is very convenient to use. The monitor itself is literally built into a sock that fits securely on your baby's foot, so it can be worn 24/7 and go anywhere in the house with you. You can also travel with it, as long as you bring the base station with you. You can remove the electronic monitor when you need to wash the sock.

The only drawback to the Owlet is the price tag. Currently priced at $250, it's an investment that you will need to consider for your family's peace of mind and safety.

There are other more affordable types of wearable oxygen monitors on the market, but you will have to do your research to make sure the design you choose is a high-quality version.

Should You Buy a Sleep Baby Monitor?

In 2014, Time warned parents not to rely on baby monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS, but technology is always changing and it is important for parents to know what products are on the market today that could potentially help them protect their babies. No product should ever replace following safe sleep guidelines, knowing how to recognize a potential emergency, and learning baby CPR skills, but you should definitely speak to your baby's doctor to find out if he or she recommends a baby sleep monitor.

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