There's nothing more precious than an adorable little baby. That's why parents go to all lengths to ensure the health and happiness of their child.
Over the years, there have been many breakthroughs in technology to help with child rearing. One device that has gained popularity lately is the health tracking baby monitor. But is this actually helping or hurting parents?
What we're talking about are wearable devices for babies that connect to the parents' smartphones. They are built into clothing like socks, pajamas or even a diaper clip. The monitor sends real-time updates of the child's heart rate and breathing to an app on the parents' phone.
Some of these monitors are designed to generate alarms for apnea, tachycardia, bradycardia, and desaturation. One smart sock maker even claims that parents will be alerted if their baby stops breathing.
However, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently said, "There is no available evidence supporting the safety, accuracy, effectiveness or role of these monitors."
In fact, some experts believe that these monitors could be harmful to the parents' state of mind. This could lead to unnecessary hospital visits and expensive tests.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also warns against using these type of monitors. It stated, "Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS." Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is one of the leading causes of infant mortality.
Since companies selling these gadgets don't make specific medical claims, they are not FDA regulated. So it's difficult to know how accurate the biometric readings actually are.
One of the JAMA researchers advises parents who use these monitors to also stick to SIDS prevention recommendations from their doctor. These typically include the use of tight fitting sheets, having your baby always sleep on their back, and not leaving anything in the crib that could cause suffocation.