Parents are being cautioned against relying on monitors to accurately measure their baby’s vital signs in an attempt to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The new research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, administered by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Research Institute, tested two smartphone-integrated consumer baby monitors: the Owlet Smart Sock 2 and the Baby Vida. Both use pulse oximetry which monitors the levels of oxygen in the blood as well as the heart rate.

Dr. Christopher P. Bonafide, a pediatrician and researcher of the study, used the monitors on 30 infants ages 0-6 six months, who were hospitalized in general pediatrics and cardiology wards at CHOP.

Dr Bonafide told “Good Morning America” that he was “pretty shocked” by the results, shares ABC news.

“The two monitors used, looks on the outside was the same technology, but performed drastically differently,” Dr Bonafide explained.

The Owlet Smart Sock 2, which is priced online at $299.99, performed “fairly well” in terms of pulse oximetry with some inconsistencies based on a hospital-grade monitor.

According to Dr Bonafide, the device would sometimes suggest that oxygen levels were low when they were actually normal. But, this monitor was more favorable than the Baby Vida in terms of measuring oxygen in the blood, he said.

As for the Baby Vida, the device failed to accurately read heart rate and oxygen. If the baby was fine, the monitor would read that their oxygen levels were low. In these cases, parents may bring their child to an unnecessary trip to the emergency room, Dr Bonafide said.

In another instance, the monitor would suggest the opposite–that the baby’s oxygen levels were totally normal when in fact they were dangerously low.

“Parents are buying these not just to tell them when things are OK, but to tell them when something is wrong,” Dr Bonafide said. “What we’re showing is how these monitors are failing them to some degree.”

Dr Bonafide also noted that parents should still let their pediatrician know if they’re using these types of monitors. “Alarms will go off,” he explained.

“Those could be false alarms, they could be true alarms. It’s important to have a conversation with the pediatrician to decide what to do when the alarms do go off.”

Share your comments below

  • You should supervise ypur child and in case if you have to use gadgets go for the prescribed ones. Thanks


  • If there is a definite medical issue that you are advised by medical staff it is essential to monitor as in one case I know of make sure you get the equipment recommended by the medical professional involved in your baby’s care.


  • They are a good tool but doesn’t replace parent supervision.


  • I read recently that there is a genetic component to SIDS, so baby monitors may not be useful at all.


  • Thanks for the info. These are important and concerning findings.


  • Interesting. Buy these machines to prevent SIDS. Yet they dont live up to expectations. Parents are relying on these things..


  • Interesting read! Goes to show that the proper expensive hospital equipment can’t be replicated for a cheaper price


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