There are health-tracking wearables for babies, too

Nov. 10, 2017

Crystal King, quietly checked her 6-month olds temperature on her cell phone. Using her tablet, she could also monitor his breathing, body position, skin temperature and sleeping schedule, and an app notified her that it was time for his next bottle feeding.

For CNN, King has been testing new and emerging health-monitoring technologies designed for babies, including a smart pacifier, which Avery would spit out, and a biometric-tracking onesie.

There are hundreds of high-tech gadgets on the market that promise to help new parents closely monitor their babies’ health and well-being. Often, they are no different than the Fitbits or Apple watches that adults wear, said Dr. Jennifer Shu, pediatrician at Children’s Medical Group in Atlanta.

King thinks smart thermometers and wearables could be useful to new parents, who could customize the amount of notifications they receive from a baby-monitoring app or technology in order to minimize feeling overwhelmed.

Technologies now available can help parents casually monitor a baby’s heart rate, temperature, feedings, and sleep cycle, but experts warn against using them for valuable medical information or diagnoses.

For instance, a pacifier thermometer can be a convenient way to casually check your baby’s temperature at home, but for a medical emergency or when your child is sick, talk to your pediatrician about what’s recommended.

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has not cleared or approved any baby technologies or products as being able to prevent or reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, known as SIDS. Some retail baby products have been marketed with false claims that they do, according to the FDA.

An opinion published in the medical journal JAMA in January even noted that “there is no evidence that consumer infant physiologic monitors are life-saving, and there is potential harm if parents choose to use them,” such as due to over diagnosis by using consumer monitors.

On the other hand, it could be useful for tech-savvy parents to share the data from their smart thermometers or wearable devices with their pediatricians.

There appear to be dozens of wearables for babies, such as wristbands that track heart rate, smart socks that track oxygen levels and a baby monitor button that snaps onto clothes. Those types of wearables for babies can set parents back a few hundred dollars.

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