Wearable baby monitors do more harm than good says medical study

Devices that monitor infant vitals deemed not safe

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.

Read this: The best baby tech and connected monitors

"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.

Wearable baby monitors do more harm than good says medical review

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

owlet responds to wearable baby monitor report

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  • Kiernanp·

    Not enough data around electrical current flow and transmission around babies to even begin to suggest that wearable body metrics are safe for infants.

    Moreover, modular sensing mechanisms can be choking hazards.

    Ware maintains its stance that, outside of the NICU, present sensing embodiments have no place around infants.

    Pamela Kiernan

    CEO, Ware (Biometric Apparel)

  • SLG·

    As a mother who lost a child at 3 months to a genetic disorder and is now enjoying a beautiful, healthy rainbow baby, I can tell you that the Owlet helps me get at least a little sleep that I wouldn't otherwise get. Before we had it, I would be up all night (literally) watching him breathe. The hospital kept our first sick baby on a similar device and the nurses and doctors counted on its alarms, so I feel some reassurance to have access to this sort of technology in our home. Just because there isn't evidence yet to prove that these at-home monitors are beneficial doesn't mean that they are not (or that they're actually harmful as this article suggests). Anything that gives nervous mothers like me a little peace of mind, I think, is a good thing.