Christopher Bonafide, MD

A new article, published in the journal JAMA, investigates the pros and cons of using a smartphone-integrated physiological baby monitor. In the article, pediatrician and safety expert Dr. Christopher P. Bonafide, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and his colleagues comment on the health benefits of the new class of infant physiological monitors that have become widely available over the past two years.

These monitors come in the form of apps that are connected to sensors built into the babies' clothes and diapers, which can measure the baby's heart rate, respiration, and blood oxygen saturation..

In the past 2 years, a new class of infant physiologic monitors marketed to parents for use in the home has emerged. Smartphone applications (apps) integrated with sensors built into socks, onesies, buttons, leg bands, and diaper clips have the capability to display infants’ respirations, pulse rate, and blood oxygen saturation, and to generate alarms for apnea, tachycardia, bradycardia, and desaturation (Table). Despite the lack of publicly available evidence supporting the safety, accuracy, effectiveness, or role of these monitors in the care of well infants, sales of these products are brisk and the market is expanding. For example, the makers of a “smart sock” monitor (Owlet Baby Care) that claims to alert parents if their infant stops breathing recently reported sales of 40 000 units at $250 each.

Read the full article here.