Many SUDC parents find that using home monitors for their surviving children helps to alleviate their anxieties by tracking a child’s vitals and alerting parents if something is out of normal range (i.e., change in temperature, reduced breathing, increased heart rate, etc.) For other families, they may experience increased anxiety from using a monitoring device if it disrupts sleep or causes a false alarm. The decision of whether or not to use a monitoring device is unique. The SUDC Foundation recommends that parents considering a monitoring device for their child discuss it with their pediatrician to make an informed decision that will best meet their family’s needs. It is important to note that there is no evidence that these devices will prevent a death from occurring.
Wi-Fi baby monitors connect to your existing internet network and are controlled using your mobile device. Some Wi-Fi enabled monitors allow one to enjoy convenience and safety without wires and the ability to monitor from a distance. Video monitors: Video baby monitors often include audio capabilities. They can have a built-in microphone and speaker to enable two-way audio to see and speak to your baby from another room. Some monitors include a color display screen to check on your baby. Others have a mobile app that connects to your smartphone for the same functionality. Video monitors are often bought for their camera functionality, allowing parents to see their baby in real-time remotely. Most video baby monitors include night vision, digital zoom and storage for videos and photos.
Audio-only baby monitors allow you to hear your baby. Some audio-only monitors include two-way audio to sing lullabies or speak to the baby through the monitor. They can include low-battery and range indicators to keep your monitor working properly. With audio-only features, you should expect crystal clear sound without static or much background noise.
Wearable temperature monitors track the baby’s temperature off their skin. Room temperature devices allow you to know if your baby’s nursery is too warm or too cool.
They are designed to alert you if the baby movements are absent or irregular for a preset time frame. These monitors are sensitive and can detect even the slightest of movements conveying some heart rate and breathing information. Movement monitors can attach to the baby’s clothing or placed under the sleep surface (a force plate mat). If there is a pause in movements for a predetermined setting, an alarm with sound and alert the caregiver.
Breathing monitors are designed to detect a baby’s breath patterns and sound an alarm if there is a deviation from pre-set patterns. These monitors measure the chest movement caused by breathing. Some devices track heart rate as well. This can be accomplished by electrodes on the baby’s chest, or wearable devices through special clothing such as a sock, onesie or small clip device.
Pulse oximetry tracks oxygen levels. The ideal oxygen saturation is 95-100%. If oxygen saturation drops significantly, it can affect one’s health. Oximeters use a sensor in a wearable device, directly attached to the baby, or in special clothing such as a sock, onesie or clip.
Another resource for devices focused on seizure detection and prediction is available through the Danny Did Foundation. As with any product, please read all directions and follow safety warnings. Disclaimer: The SUDC Foundation is providing this information as a resource and neither endorses nor recommends any monitors.
Click HERE for the complete American Academy of Pediatrics, Policy Statement, July 2022, VOLUME 150/ ISSUE 1: Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in Sleep Environment.
American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence, (2007), George J. Cohen, M.D., FAAP, editor-in-chief.
CCDF HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FACT SHEET: Reducing the Risk of Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome and Using Safe Sleeping Practices https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/public/259_1508_healthsafety_summary_sids_final.pdf
George J. Cohen, M.D., FAAP, American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence
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Bronheim, S. (2017). Building on campaigns with conversations: An individualized approach to helping families embrace safe sleep and breastfeeding. Washington, DC: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health
Christopher P. Bonafide, David T. Jamison, Elizabeth E. Foglia. The Emerging Market of Smartphone-Integrated Infant Physiologic Monitors. JAMA. 2017;317(4):353-354. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19137
Kemp JS, Nelson VE, Thach BT. Physical properties of bedding that may increase risk of sudden infant death syndrome in prone-sleeping infants. Pediatr Res. 1994;36(1 pt 1):7–11.
Kemp JS, Livne M, White DK, Arfken CL. Softness and potential to cause rebreathing: differences in bedding used by infants at high and low risk for sudden infant death syndrome. J Pediatr. 1998;132(2):234– 239.
Moon, R (2016) American Academy of Pediatrics. How to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe: AAP Policy Explained
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SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. TASK FORCE ON SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME Pediatrics Nov 2016, 138 (5) e20162938;
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website for more information about crib safety: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/cribs/.
Last Modified December 2023