What is a SIDS Monitor?

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  • Written By: Stacy C.
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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A sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) monitor is a type of baby monitor that alerts parents when a baby has not taken a breath, during sleep, for a certain amount of time, usually about 15 seconds. It is intended to help prevent SIDS, a syndrome marked by the death of a baby in its sleep for no discernible reason, even after an autopsy has been performed. There are two main types of SIDS monitors on the market: a pad the baby sleeps on and a device that clips on to the baby’s diaper.


A pad-style SIDS monitor usually slides under the mattress in the crib and is wirelessly connected to a hand-held transmitter much like regular baby monitors. Although the mat and transmitter connect wirelessly, most pad-style monitors require that the sensor mat be plugged into the monitor base, so parents must take extra caution to keep cords and wires away from the baby’s reach. If the pad can detect no motion, including breathing, for 15 to 20 seconds, the monitor sets off alarms on the transmitter. Some users have found the pad-style SIDS monitor can cause false alarms when the baby rolls away from the area of the mattress the pad is located beneath. Some reviews of this style also warn parents to remember to turn the sensor off when the baby is taken out of the crib. Not doing so will result in a surprise alarm because the monitor cannot tell the difference between a baby that is not breathing and an empty crib.

The clip-style SIDS monitor is a small device that fastens onto the waist area of the baby’s diaper, giving it direct contact with baby’s skin at his stomach. Once turned on, the piece uses a sensor to tell when the baby is breathing and moving. After a short amount of time has passed, usually somewhere between 15 and 20 seconds, and the baby has not taken a breath or otherwise moved, an alarm will sound to alert parents that something may be wrong. Some monitors of this style vibrate first, in an attempt to stimulate the baby into breathing. If there is still no movement after the vibrating stimulus, an alarm goes off and lights on the clip will flash red. The alarm is also triggered when skin contact is lost, and even the clip falling off of the diaper will cause an alert. This type of SIDS monitor is usually only battery-operated.


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Post 7

@nony - Well if you want to be really safe I think you should combine the SIDS infant monitor with a standard video or audio baby monitor that will let you listen to what’s going on.

Of course this may be mean some sleepless nights at first. But at least you can know if what the SIDS monitor and what you’re seeing on the video for example are in sync.

If the SIDS monitor says there is no movement but you can clearly see the baby moving you can make a judgment call. Personally I think these things take several weeks before you really get used to them and know what’s normal and what’ s not.

Post 6

@hamje32 - Actually the fetal monitor reminds me of the devices that they have for sleep apnea. These devices monitor when you stop breathing in the night, except they don’t sound off alarms.

The sleep apnea devices will usually be attached to a mask that will regulate oxygen flow to make sure your bronchial passageways are open and working normally.

I bet you anything the same technology is employed in the baby monitor except of course it’s more of a life and death situation here.

Post 5

A baby SIDS monitor is a useful device. I do wonder how accurate it is, however. My guess is that it may deliver a number of “false alarms” at least to begin with.

Just because the baby is not moving much doesn’t mean that he is not breathing or is in a dangerous state. I would hope that these devices have ways to calibrate them so that they can precisely match to the baby’s normal sleeping state.

Usually you want to establish some baseline of normal movement and then if the baby deviates from there, the alarm will trigger. I am assuming that different babies have different sleeping habits and so this would make sense.

Post 4

@golf07 - As far as I know, SIDS is not inherited, but I don't know much about SIDS statistics and risk factors.

Most of what I know is how important it is to place them correctly in their crib. Babies should always be placed on their backs when you lay them down. Also make sure you don't have any soft objects in the crib that might interfere with their breathing.

My daughter also makes sure all of her babies have a pacifier when she lays them down. She said some studies have shown this might help reduce the chance of your baby dying of SIDS.

If I had a baby today, I would definitely invest in a baby breathing monitor. When my kids were babies, I used a monitor to let me know if they woke up or were crying. It would be a matter of life or death to know if they weren't breathing.

Post 3

Does anybody know if someone has lost one child to sudden infant death syndrome, if they are at a greater SIDS risk in future children?

One of my best friends tired for several years to have a child, and she finally gave birth to a healthy little girl. It was absolutely heartbreaking when she lost her baby girl a few months later to SIDS.

Now she is really afraid to even try to get pregnant again and doesn't know if she can go through everything all over again. I know I can't even begin to understand what she is going through, and don't even have any advice for her.

I can understand her fears, and wondered if there is more risk for some people to lose children to SIDS than others?

Post 2

After I lost a nephew to SIDS, I went out and bought one of the devices that clip on to the diaper.

We have had a few false alarms when the clip accidentally falls off when my son is sleeping. There is nothing that puts fear in your heart faster than hearing that alarm go off.

When we have rushed in there, we have found the clip came off, and my son is usually laying along one side of the crib where he has rolled around.

I can't describe the relief I feel when I see him breathing and OK. Sometimes it makes me want to bring him to bed with me, but I don't usually disturb him.

Having a SIDS baby monitor does give me some peace of mind and helps me sleep a little better at night.

Post 1

One of my best friends lost her daughter, and the only thing they can come up with is SIDS. I can't imagine how terrifying it would be to walk in and find your baby not breathing in their crib.

I don't know how many babies die of crib death every year, but when it hits close to home, it really makes you more aware.

I never used anything like this when my kids were babies, but I think the SIDS monitoring devices would be a good thing. Anything that would give you warning or peace of mind would be more than worth the small price you would pay for it.

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