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.