Understanding Home Monitoring Options & Safe Sleep Practices for Infants and Young Children

The SUDC Foundation is providing this information as a resource and does not endorse or recommend any specific type of monitor. The information below is provided solely as a resource and does not constitute professional advice.
Please visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission website to ensure that you receive the most updated information related to safety.

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.

Types of Monitoring

Wi-Fi-enabled monitors

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.

Sound or audio-only monitors

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.

Temperature monitors

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.

Movement monitors

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.

Heart and breathing monitors

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.

Oxygen measurement monitors or oximeters

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.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Sleep Environment Recommendations:


  • Place an infant on his or her back at all sleep times – including naps and at night.
  • Infants should be placed on a firm sleep surface (e.g., mattress in a safety-approved crib) covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft objects to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended as it is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS
  • It is recommended that infants sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first six months.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the infant’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation.
  • Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. Studies have reported a protective effect of pacifiers on the incidence of SIDS.
  • Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Avoid overheating and head covering in infants. 

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.



  • Parents should continue to take precautions to ensure that toddlers and young children remain safe during nighttime hours.  Suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics advise parents that when a “child gets tall enough to get a leg up to the top of the crib rail, it is best to switch to a bed to avoid a tumble. Children may be ready to graduate from a crib to a toddler bed or bed by age 2.”
  • Do not give your child a pillow until age 2. Make sure the pillow is relatively small and firm.
  • Use guardrails only to keep a child from falling out of bed, not to restrain the child in the bed.
  • Keep drapery cords and electrical cords out of reach to avoid strangulation and falls.
  • Place bunk beds in a corner with walls on two sides. Never let a child under age 6 years sleep in the top bunk.

American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child’s Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence, (2007), George J. Cohen, M.D., FAAP, editor-in-chief.


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

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;132:234–239

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

Recommendations for safe sleeping environments for infants and children. (2004). Paediatrics & child health, 9(9), 659–672. doi:10.1093/pch/9.9.659

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

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