Baby Monitors

Monbaby vs Owlet & Other Wearable Monitors

Sandra W Bullock

This website is reader-supported. When you click on links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

When the New Yorker Magazine featured a story from a parent who regretted using wearable baby monitors, it became one of the first widely-read critiques of the potential downsides of such devices.

In the article, Jake, a first-time dad, shares his experience with three different baby monitors: the Owlet Smart Sock, MonBaby Smart Button, and Snuza Pico.

After using these devices, Jake, echoing the sentiments of many other skeptics of baby monitoring technology, ultimately argues that parents might not actually need any of the smart baby monitors currently on the market.

Baby monitors are not medical devices

In this blog post, I have tried to explain a few misconceptions about some of the more sophisticated smart baby monitors that specifically track temperature, oxygen levels, breathing patterns, and sleep quality.

It is important to note that none of the baby monitors are meant to keep babies safe from Sudden Infant Dead Syndrome (SIDS). In fact, the American Academy for Pediatrics has warned ‘Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS.’ In addition, the FDA has not approved any of the smart baby monitors and it released a formal report in 2017 to urge the public not to confuse the smart monitors as medical devices. 

Who needs smart baby monitor?

FDA also advises parents to speak with baby’s doctor before using smart baby monitors. For normal babies, the monitors may not be necessary as Jake made the case but baby monitors are required if; 

  • If the baby has had an ‘Apparent Life Threatening Event’ (ALTE) like absence of breathing. In this case, the doctor could suggest an apnea monitor to keep track of baby’s heart rate and breathing. 
  • Premature babies have persistent breathing pauses or have a slow heart rate
  • A baby has a rare medical condition that necessitates tracking of breathing or body temperature patterns 

How wearable baby monitors work

Wearable baby monitors use sensors placed on the baby’s body to monitor things like heart rate, respiration, sleeping position, blood oxygen level or body temperature.

The sensors are able to send the signal to the parent or the caregiver in case any of the above parameters fall outside the range of normal.

Read more about the three main types of breathing monitors including wearables monitors.

Types of Breathing Baby Monitors

There are several types of smart baby monitors and each device can measure many parameters but could be specialized to measure a particular item such as temperature, sleep patterns, oxygen level etc. 

  1. Breathing baby monitors that use movements – To provide extra safety and more health-related information about the baby, a baby’s breathing can be recorded by a mat placed under the mattress. The baby’s breathing can also be monitored by a monitor placed on the baby’s clothes such as diapers or pajamas. These monitors are portable and easy to install. They can however easily get detached or the baby could rollover in a different side of the bed that the tracker is unable to get any data. 
  2. Heart and breath baby monitors that use breath/pulse – Baby monitors that register the chest movement and hearts electrical activity through electrodes attached to the baby’s chest. The heart alarm is set at a heart rate of 60 beats per minute for older babies and 80 beats per minute for a young one.
  3. Oxygen baby monitors – Mostly used in hospitals and given by a baby’s doctor. 

Breathing wearable baby monitors

All breathing wearable baby monitors are not medical equipment but manufacturers put a case for it that it assists the parents to get some peace of mind as they are able to track the breathing patterns of their babies.

Breathing wearable baby monitors are able to detect the baby’s breathing patterns and it is attached to the baby’s diapers or waistband. Most of the devices are made of non-toxic products such as medical grade silicon that does not affect a baby’s sensitive skin.

Below are some of the breathing wearable baby monitors. 

  1. Allb Smart Baby Breathing Monitor – Allb allows you and your family to check up on your baby in real time through your smart phones and alerts you if anything is amiss.
    allb smart baby monitor for breathing
    Primarily, allb smart baby monitor closely monitors your baby’s abdominal breathing and sends an alert to your smart phone and emits an audible alarm if your baby stops breathing. It also relays real-time respiration graph provided (Watch your baby’s breathing in real time like CCTV.). As long as there is a smart phone within 15m connected through Bluetooth LE with the allb running, the baby’s health data will be transmitted to and stored on the secure allb server. Parents and permitted connected users can check up on the baby in real time regardless of distance.
    allb-server-03.png
  2. MonBaby Breathing Wearable Monitor is the least expensive but not the least effective. The device is manufactured by MonBaby and comes with two color  options, white and pink. The device has to be paired with a phone in order to allow the MonBaby app receive information about the baby.
    MonBaby App.png

The MonBaby monitor needs to be clipped to MonBaby to the baby’s pajama and the app needs to get connected to MonBaby iphone and android app. After that, you just start monitoring your baby in real time!  

Pros: 

  • 90 day guarantee 
  • 1 year warranty 
  • Free shipping for users in the US
  • Least expensive 

Check our our reviews of best breathing baby monitors.

Wearable Baby Monitor for Temperature and Breathing 

  1. Mimo Baby Monitor – Mimo baby monitor is a smart baby monitor that tracks an infant’s respiration, heart rate, skin temperature, sleep quality, and position through a small clip-on turtle attached to an organic cotton onesie. The clips captures the information and sends it to the smartphone giving you real time data on the activity of a child. 
    Mimo Baby Monitor for temperature

Pros: 

  • Easy installation

Cons:

  • Low signal strength – Mimo needs a strong signal to remain connected and that can be an issue if your router is a good distance away
  • Glitch app  – The app rarely connects to the transmitter unit and it rarely gets updated
  • Distance between Turtle and base station – the Turtle monitor must be within five feet of the base station in order to work

Concerns with Wearable Baby Monitors

Data Privacy – Most device manufacturers claim that all the data is anonymized and that the data is kept safe from third parties. But they all also upload some data to their own servers, rather than keeping it strictly on your own device. The concerns however credible as we’ve had cases of hacking in the past few years. 

Fear – The data that parents and caregivers receive loads of data and they suddenly get invested in numbers that may not mean anything. The data are not necessarily co-related with certain health risks and device manufacturers are able to increase their sales by making parents think that the data they receive will enable them to avoid serious risk such as SIDS. They are therefore able to increase sales by selling fear of ‘the unknown’. In addition, several parents who use smart monitors often receive false alarms and can be very disturbing if they are thousands away from their kids. 

Monbaby vs Owlet

Monbaby and Owlet Smart Sock are both smart tracking devices known for their advanced monitoring with Monbaby tracking baby’s chest movements and Owlet tracking baby’s heartbeat and oxygen concentration levels.

Both devices use bluetooth technology to transmit signals but the biggest difference lies on their technologies and reliability. Owlet has more features and functionalities that are more reliable and is trusted by the healthcare professionals. It’s pulse-oximetry technology lead the way in bringing hospital-grade devices in home-based nurseries and is ideal for preemies and any baby from age 0 to 18 months.

Owlet Dream Sock® - FDA-Cleared Smart Baby Monitor
  •  Track Live Pulse (Heart) Rate, Oxygen in Infants - Receive Notifications
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

On the other hand, Monbaby only notifies you when the baby stops breathing and does not relay oxygen concentration levels. For that, you’ll need to rely on Owlet’s Smart Sock.

Monbaby Owlet
It uses a smart button that has a sensor that tracks breathing movement. it uses a smart sock to track vital signs, specifically oxygen saturation and heartbeat rate. Here is the manual. It does not track breathing
Relatively cheaper than Owlet, almost three times cheaper than OwletRelatively expensive
It is FSA approved It is FSA eligible/approved
Dimensions: 1.50 x 1.50 x 0.25 inchesDimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 0.7 inches
It has a patented snap-on design that allows you to easily attach the smart button on baby’s clothes No patented snap-on design but Owlet Smart Sock 3 and Dreamsock does not easily detach from baby’s foot. Read difference between Owlet Dreamsock and Smartsock 3 here.
It emits low radiation – using low-energy Bluetooth and Wifi optionsIt emits a significant amount of radiation. Read Owlet radiation here.
It has a roll-over detectionNo roll-over detection
Does not track the baby’s sleep patternsThe latest Owlet Smart Sock 3 has improved sleep tracking feature