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Should you monitor your baby 24/7?

What could be wrong with an extra safegaurd to watch over your baby?

With the release of a new study published by the Journal of Pediatrics regarding infant suffocation, parents may be ready to try just about anything to keep their baby's health in check.

The study found that around 55 percent of infants nationwide are put into beds with blankets or comforters that raise their chances of suffocation or SIDS.

In regards to risk factors for SIDS, “bedding has fallen through the cracks,” the New York Times reported Dr. Thomas G. Keens of the California SIDS Advisory Council saying. “This article is a wake-up call.”

And not a moment too soon, several companies have begun marketing new technologies allowing parents to monitor their babies around the clock. These devices are designed to measure a baby's heart rate, blood oxygen level and body temperature 24 hours a day.

Companies hope to use these kinds of monitoring technologies to prevent infant health issues like sudden infant death syndrome, according to a recent report by NPR. But Dr. King, a pediatric researcher at the University of Sheffield wrote in the British Medical Journal that these monitors only provide a false peace of mind for parents.

King cites a variety of similar products that surfaced during the 1980s and 90s developed with the intention of reducing SIDS. These devices showed no positive effect on reducing the syndrome, and the American Academy of Pediatrics could not endorse such devices as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Products like those out of the 80s and 90s have resurfaced today, in the form of devices like the Owlet, Rest Device and Sproutling. While these products do not outright claim to reduce the risk of SIDS, King notes that their marketing strategies may allude to doing just that.

“It's not a medical device; it's not registered as a medical device. It's just for fun really,” King wrote. “But if you look at the marketing so far, I don't think that's the message that come across.”

Consequently, in the FAQ section on the Owlet website, it specifically notes that the device “is meant to help you be aware of possible indicators of danger, but your baby's safety is your responsibility.”

The Mayo Clinic's list of tips to prevent SIDS include placing your baby to sleep resting on his or her back and not stomach, keeping the crib as bare as possible without padding or blankets, and avoiding the use of baby monitors and other commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Perhaps these new devices still provide an extra safety net for parents monitoring their child's health. Owlet's marketing proves to speak to many parent's needs and wants, with descriptions like “more sleep, less stress. Owlet silently watches over your little one, giving you peace of mind and maybe even a full night's sleep.”

The question posed for parents today is, just because you can monitor your child round the clock, should you?

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