Wearable baby monitors do more harm than good says medical study

Devices that monitor infant vitals deemed not safe
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Connected baby monitors that can track your little one's vitals have been deemed not safe according to a review carried out by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Christopher Bonafide, the lead author on the review, claims that, "There is no evidence that they'll help kids and there's some evidence of potential harm." He also believes that these devices create undue stress for parents, leading to unnecessary hospital visits and tests.

"I worry about the unnecessary care and even potential harm to babies that can be associated with alarms from these devices," Bonafide added. "There's not a role for these devices in the care of healthy infants."

The kind of devices that Bonafide is mainly making reference to are ones like Mimo and Owlet's smart socks, which uses pulse oximetry technology and a heart rate sensor to monitor a baby's breathing and identify any interruptions as you try to get a few hours of sleep. The data is then sent wirelessly via Bluetooth to the parent's phone to alert them to potential issues.

He also warned parents that might be interested in buying one of these baby monitoring devices that many are not FDA approved and that the government agency should introduce studies to verify the accuracy and safety of the monitors.

WareableWearable baby monitors do more harm than good says medical study

We spoke to Owlet who provided us with the following statement from Dr. Ken Ward, medical director at Owlet Baby Care:

"While many of the statements in the JAMA opinion paper about the present lack of evidence behind certain products has merit, Owlet is actively addressing and resolving these concerns."

In addition to the above Owlet also provided us with a pretty lengthy company statement in response to Bonafide's review. We've picked out the key parts below:

"The Owlet Smart Sock uses similar technology, and delivers the same information, to that used in products like Apple Watch and Fitbit. We have invested millions of dollars into data collection and storage, as well as the creation of a clinical team to focus on our mission to further knowledge of the issues affecting infant health.

"We have done extensive product safety testing, such as biocompatibility studies and FCC testing, and the Owlet Smart Sock is in compliance with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements. We have conducted third-party accuracy studies that were submitted to the FDA as part of our recent 510(k) application, which review is pending for a medical version of the product."

Do you agree that these type of wearable baby monitors can do more harm than good? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: WebMD

WareableWearable baby monitors do more harm than good says medical study




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Michael Sawh

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Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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