Owlet Smart Sock 2 baby monitor

Web site: OwletCare.com

Smart Baby Monitor: Owlet. The Owlet is a $300 “Smart Sock “  that constantly monitors a baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation rate. The sock streams this info over Bluetooth to a wireless base station, which in turn sends alerts to an iOs device (an Android app BETA is available now). Even if you don’t have an iPhone, the base station can alert you if baby stops breathing with audible and visual alarms, the company claims. (It’s in its second iteration, so you’ll see the name Smart Sock 2.)

The sock itself has a rechargeable battery, which Owlet says lasts for several days on a charge. The Owlet is designed to be used for baby’s first year, although the company says it can work up to 18 months of age (there are three different sizes of the Owlet sock, which can be purchased for $40 from their site and switched out as baby grows).

Even though Owlet touts its technology as similar to that used by hospitals (pulse oximetry) with the implicit promise that this can save your baby during a medical emergency, the company offers this disclaimer:

Owlet is intended to provide peace of mind.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. This is not a medical device and is not intended for use as a medical device or to replace a medical device. The Owlet Baby Monitor is only intended to assist you in tracking your baby’s wellbeing and is not intended to replace you as a caregiver. You are ultimately responsible for your baby. This device is not intended to cure, treat, or prevent any disease or health condition, including, but not limited to, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The Owlet has only been on the market for a short while, as of this writing. We’ve heard very little feedback from parents who’ve used an Owlet. New for 2018, Owlet will release a new app with real time heart rate info. You’ll be able to add other health information to the app for a more complete pickte.

So should you plunk down $300 for this device? No, in our opinion. We have two basic objections to devices like the Owlet:

1. Home monitors don’t prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against “at-home SIDS monitoring,” saying there is no proof that even medical grade devices can prevent SIDS. The science just isn’t there to justify the expense.

2. False alarms. According to an article on Live Science, there is a major potential for false alarms with monitors like the Owlet:

A major study of more than 1,000 infants, published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in 1988, found that instances of slowed heart rate and interrupted breathing during sleep are common in even healthy infants, and that most of these abnormalities vanish before the babies reach the ages during which SIDS peaks — between about 2 months and 4 months old. Thus, events that may cause at-home monitors to alert parents to potential danger are not linked with SIDS.

That’s right—healthy infants can set off a monitor like the Owlet even though there is no medical problem. And that’s the big irony with Owlet—a device that is pitched to help warn parents of a health issue with baby may actually induce more anxiety for the parent . . . when there is no problem at all.

Bottom line: if you are into gadgets and have a spare $300 lying around, then the Owlet might be interesting to play with. But don’t expect the Owlet to prevent or warn you of a medical condition with your child. By the way, they know it’s ridiculously expensive–they offer financing for it! Rating: Not Recommended.