Young parents may want to rethink their choice of wearable baby monitors for their kids, pediatricians warn. Such monitors that track the vital signs of their baby might actually be more harmful than useful.
These monitors are electronic sensors that are attached the babies’ clothes and are meant to continually record the vital signs of the child, such as the pulse rate, the oxygen level, and their breathing. The monitors would notify the parents on their smartphones any time an abnormality occurs.
Such an electronic monitor is the smart sock manufactured by Owlet Baby Care. The sock is worn on one of the baby’s feet and monitors the vital signs.
However, Christopher Bonafide, pediatrician at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, declared that these wearable devices have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. There is also no conclusive evidence regarding the monitors. It has not been proven that these devices actually signal the presence of dangerous symptoms in the babies.
The devices can also produce false alarms that lead to the excessive and unnecessary testing of the babies. The monitors can be triggered when babies roll over or kick or when they experience harmless changes in their vital signs. They cannot differentiate from what is harmless and what is not and any change may be identified as dangerous.
Moreover, if the parents get alarmed and bring their children to the doctor, they might undergo blood tests or even x-rays and these are not only expensive, but also dangerous for babies. These tests are harmful for them if they are performed when they are not necessary.
A persuasive means used in the advertising of these monitors involves SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) which is known to kill around 3,500 babies per year only in United States. However, pediatricians declared that these monitors that are paired with a smartphone are not effective in reducing the risk of SIDS.
What parents can do to reduce the risk of SIDS is to follow the AAP advice. They should breastfeed their babies and sleep in the same room with them, preferably not in the same bed, for at least six months. Thus, the SIDS risk is considerably reduced.
Parents should not forget that nothing compares to actual human caregiving. They should not try to replace this with technology and offer all the attention their children need. A monitor does not compare with noticing for yourself any changes that occur in your baby’s state.
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