Whoever came up with the saying: “Slept like a baby,” apparently never had a baby! A good night’s sleep is as essential for a mother as it is for a baby, yet with a new baby, there are a million things that could go wrong.
As parents, it is our job to worry about these things and to be pro-active in creating a safe environment for them. Many of the fears we have are entirely irrational (such as will be daughter get a date to prom one day). However, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a real threat for babies under the age of 1 year old. I don’t think I know of any mother who hasn’t stood over her baby’s crib in the middle of the night just to check whether her newborn is still breathing.
- 1 What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
- 2 Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor
- 3 Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor
- 4 The Snuza Hero SE Baby monitor vs. Owlet Smart Sock 2
What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also referred to as cot death, is “the sudden and unexplained death of a child younger than 1-year-old” and usually occurs during sleep.”
Only in 2015, about 1600 deaths occurred due to SIDS in the U.S alone. What makes SIDS even more terrifying is that there is no real scientific explanation as to what causes SIDS (sudden and unexplained). Experts, however, have identified some factors that could cause infants to be more vulnerable:
- Babies with a low birth weight
- Newborns with brain abnormalities
- Babies with or who recently had a respiratory infection
- Having too many blankets/soft mattresses in the crib
- If the mother used drugs or smoked during pregnancy
- Poor prenatal care during pregnancy
Although not entirely avoidable, there are some steps one can take to try and prevent SIDS such as always letting your baby sleep on its back and minimizing the number of blankets/pillows in the cot.
In the past few years, we’ve also seen an increase in devices such as sensor pads, movement monitors, and oximeter devices. I did a review on the Angel Care Movement and Sound Monitor not too long ago and today I am comparing two new devices: The Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor that monitors movement and the Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby monitor that keeps tabs on your baby’s heart rate and oxygen intake.
Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor
If you have ever watched a baby sleep, you would have noticed that babies are “belly breathers” by nature. It is only as they develop and grow older that they learn to use their diaphragm more effectively to breath. Snuza used this vital information to create a neat little device called the Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor.
How does it work?
The Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor, an upgrade on the older Snuza Halo Mobile Baby Movement Monitor, is a baby monitor that clips onto your little one’s nappy. The top part of the device rests on your baby’s tummy, monitoring even the slightest movement your little one’s belly makes and alarms you if no movement occurs for a certain period. It also detects any irregularity in your baby’s abdominal movement while they are sleeping and will alert you.
Alerts and alarms:
The Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor will act in two stages:
Stage 1: If no movement is detected for a period of 15 seconds, the device will gently vibrate in order to rouse your baby, hopefully getting him or her to move.
Stage 2: Should there be no reaction from baby after being roused, a loud alarm will go off 5 seconds later.
The Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor will also alert you should your baby’s movements be weak or if the device picked up less than 8 moves within a minute or if the battery is low.
Should the device come undone while your baby is sleeping, first the Snuza alerts and then the Snuza alarm will sound seeing that it will not detect any movement.
According to recommendations, the device should not be used while your baby is in a car seat or baby sleeper/rocker as the movement derived from these may be picked up as a movement from baby, giving false readings.
The Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor consists out of 1, wireless device that attaches to your baby’s diaper only. There is no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to your phone or any other device. This is where many parents get confused – if there is only one piece of equipment, how am I notified?
The alerts and alarms stem from the device itself. The volume of the alarm is set to 80 decibels, making it possible for you to hear it from outside baby’s room, however, for added peace of mind, I suggest that you make use of a baby sound monitor that you can carry around with you. You can also invest in the Snuza Trio Plus, which features the Snuza Hero SE Baby monitor as well as the Snuza Video monitor unit with two-way audio and a 3.5-inch display.
The device is suitable for babies aged 0 -12 months and is sold with a rechargeable battery, claiming to have 2000 hours battery life. The Snuza Hero SE Baby monitor only weighs 0.64 ounces and measures 1,8 x 1,6 x 2.8 inches. You can find it on Amazon for $109.99. Check out the latest price!
- No wires for baby to get strangled in
- No radio waves around your baby
- Can be used underneath clothing
- The device is very portable
- Easy to use and set up
- One should probably get a sound monitor for peace of mind
- Cannot be used in a baby sleeper, rocker or car seat.
- Cannot receive alerts on your cell phone
Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby monitor is a nifty little device that monitors your baby’s heart rate at the same time measuring the oxygen levels. All this happens when babies have the monitor on a sock.
How it works:
The Owlet Smart Sock contains an oximeter within the “sock.” Without getting too technical, a beam of light is shone through the skin which then detects how much red light and infra-red light is absorbed under this skin, calculating the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream as well as identifying the number of heartbeats per minute. This process is completely painless and non-invasive, and your baby won’t even be aware of it.
Alerts and alarms:
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor has preset parameters about the oxygen levels and heart rate. These parameters cannot be changed. Should your baby’s oxygen saturation levels drop below 80% or if your baby’s heart rate goes below 60 bpm or above 220 bpm, you will be alerted.
The product consists out of the actual sock, which contains the oximeter, and a base. The two devices communicate using Bluetooth, sending information back and forth. It is also the base that will alert you if anything is wrong utilizing an audible alert and the color of the base station.
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor has 4 different alerts/colors: A green light on the base station indicates that the device is in working order. It is picking up readings and that all readings are normal. The yellow light, accompanied by an audible lullaby, indicates that the sock placement is incorrect. It could also be that the sock came lose and that the device is unable to provide an accurate reading.
The blue light, also accompanied by a soothing lullaby, indicates that the two devices (sock and base station) are unable to communicate with one another. This may be due to signal loss, a low battery or the device and sock may be too far away from one another.
The red light indicates that readings have gone outside of the preset parameters, meaning that either the oxygen saturation levels are too low or that the heartbeat is either too high or too low. The red light is accompanied by a loud siren that stems from the base station.
Cell phone application available for download:
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 allows you to download a free app which enables you to monitor your baby’s stats in real-time and to receive alerts should there be any abnormal readings. Owlet also recently brought out the Connected Care app which can be connected to the device but unfortunately, this version is not free.
The difference between the basic and the paid-for app is that the paid-for app sleeping patterns stores in the alert history. You can also see the actual readings on the new app. Meanwhile, the old app only alerts you if readings go below the preset parameters.
The basic app works on both Andriod and IOS phones, but the Connected Care app is only available for download on an IOS phone for the time being. I should also mention that the app will just work using Wi-Fi.
Although I like that fact that you can receive real-time notifications on your cell phone, there are a lot of complaints regarding the app, both free and paid for. It appears that the app often struggles to sync correctly and due to this, parents find it unreliable.
There is also no alert if your phone suddenly stopped connecting to the base station which puts your little one at risk if you are relying on your phone alone to provide you with notifications. I also feel that considering the product’s price tag, the Connected Care App should be free of charge to all parents who spend their hard-earned money supporting Owlet and its products.
According to reviews, customer service is also a problem, citing unfriendly, unhelpful staff when needing help. Although this may not seem like a problem now, once you need assistance with your device, excellent customer service will make a huge difference.
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 is manufactured from cotton, and you can wash it if you remove the oximeter before washing. This product includes the base station and 3 socks in 3 different sizes, allowing the Owlet Smart Sock to grow with your baby. The sock is suitable for babies 0 – 18 months or babies up to 25 pounds and will continue to work if you put a baby sock or baby-grow on over the Owlet Smart Sock.
The base station and sock have a range of 100 feet, an improvement on the previous Owlet sock. The oximeter (sock) makes use of a battery which charges when placed on the base station itself. I like that you can take the Owlet Smart Sock 2 with you. However, keep in mind that it will not be able to work without the base being plugged in within a 100 feet. You could take the whole device to daycare, for example, should you wish to do so.
Unfortunately, the Owlet Smart Sock 2 will only work on one baby at a time and is not suitable for twins. If you do have twins, you can still make use of the Owlet Smart Sock, but you will have to purchase two separate sets with two separate socks and base stations. You can, however, monitor both twins on one phone and have more than one person monitoring one baby at one time. This monitor is available on Amazon, and it costs $299.99. Check out the latest price!
- Monitors both oxygen saturation and heart rate
- You get 3 socks in 3 different sizes
- Gives real-time feedback via a cell phone app
- There are no wires
- Somewhat portable
- You have to pay extra for the latest app
- Poor customer service
- Unreliable syncing to cell phone device
The Snuza Hero SE Baby monitor vs. Owlet Smart Sock 2
Comparing the Snuza Hero SE Baby Monitor with the Owlet Smart Sock 2 is challenging because while they both aim to prevent SIDS, they work in two very different ways. The Snuza makes use of your baby’s “belly breathing” to detect movement and the Owlet Smart Sock 2 monitors your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels.
I like that the Snuza is very portable and wireless although it would have been nice to have an improved “warning system” other than the device itself. To be honest, I probably would not feel comfortable using the device without a sound monitor which can effectively rely on the alarm.
The Owlet Smart Sock 2 has a convenient, downloadable app that will alert you should there be any abnormal breathing but seeing that many users are complaining about the efficiency of the app, I am not sure whether to jot this one down as an advantage.
In theory, I would probably favor the Owlet Smart Sock 2 when it comes to comparing the two devices. I like that the device relies on more advanced technology. Especially the oximeter, however, because of the kinks it still has to sort out. I feel that both products are on an equal playing field and that both technologies will be sufficient when used correctly.
For now, until Owlet improves the way their devices communicate with one another, it is probably a matter of preference for each parent.