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Home SIDS Monitors


I was wondering if you could give any insight on the new O2 sat monitors such as "the Owelet." When I had my son 2.5 years ago this device wasn't available so I'm having trouble deciding if I should invest in the product for my baby that will arrive in August. I do think it will provide me with some peace of mind when I fall asleep at night, but at the same time I didn't have it last time. I'm just curious.

I do not recommend O2 saturation monitors or other home apnea monitors. These devices are purchased in the hope decreasing the incidence of SIDS and providing parents with reassurance.

Do they prevent SIDS?

While I am unfamiliar with the particular product you are asking about, there are multiple other similar products currently on the market. They remain unproven and are not scientifically shown to save lives. Yes, I know there are always convincing individual testimonials, but there is a lack of population research. If these devices were marketed as “medical devices” they would be required to provide research to support their advertised claims. However these devices are marketed as “consumer products” and they escape the requirements for such data. Admittedly, studying SIDS is difficult and would be expensive. The CDC reported that SIDS, in 2014, occurred at an incidence of 38 per 100,000 live births. To prove a product decreased the incidence of SIDS would require millions of participants.

Will it give you peace of mind?

This is really an individual question. Oxygen saturation monitors have a history of false alarms. If the monitor comes off or if the child moves quickly an alarm may trigger. In the hospital setting, O2 saturation monitors (a different device with often different settings) frequently have so many false alarms that parents are unable to sleep.

Before purchasing any baby monitor do a google search for “false alarms” and read real reviews from other parents. To date the best SIDS prevention remains:

- place your baby on their back to sleep
- swaddle your baby (when young)
- use a firm crib mattress
- no smoking
- no pillows or stuffed animals in the crib



Written June 2016 by
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician






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