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Baby Vital Sign Monitors: Wearables vs Contactless Solutions

Baby Vital Sign Monitors: Wearables vs Contactless Solutions

Being a new parent is hard. How many times have you woken up at night to rush to the nursery to see whether your baby is breathing? You lose enough sleep when they're infants even without constantly checking to see their chest moving, but it's hard not to check-in. You're always going to worry about your child's well-being, but you don't have to experience sleep deprivation to make sure that they're doing okay.

Baby monitors have long been a mainstay in the nursery, starting with audio-only models way back in 1937, and evolving into the many types available today. From low tech to ultra high tech, there's a monitor for every family and every budget. Video monitors are now basically the "gold standard" for most new parents, because they allow you to see and hear your baby from elsewhere in the home. Some baby monitors can even report on your baby's vital signs, such as pulse oxygen level or even breathing. Parents love vital signs monitors because you can get a constant wellness check without needing to hover in the room or risk waking your child. Vital Signs monitoring technology comes in two categories: contactless and wearables. 

What Are Wearables? 

A wearable baby monitor is a device that attaches to the baby's body, clothing or bedding. Many wearables are simply motion detectors dressed up with a fancy monitoring app for your smartphone, and require a separate base station in the baby's room. While these monitors are helpful for some scenarios, there are a few potential problems with wearables. First, you have multiple devices that need to be kept charged up--many have a battery life of only a few hours, which seems counter-productive to helping the baby (and you!) to get a full night's sleep. There is also some evidence that a wearable device could disrupt the child's typical sleep patterns and make it hard for them to nap properly. And we all know, the last thing you want is for your baby to sleep less! Another issue comes from the device actually being in the crib with the baby. It may fall off, which means it will stop working, and in a worst case scenario could become a choking hazard.

 owlet-sucks

Image courtesy of Owlet (Owletcare.com, $279)

What Is Contactless Monitoring?

Contactless baby monitors track vital signs differently. Rather than using a wearable device, this technology relies solely on video signals, which means that they don't require any contact with the infant. Today's contactless monitors use something called Computer Vision. This cutting-edge technology keeps a digital eye on babies and make sure that they're resting comfortably in the nursery. This baby monitor connects to your smartphone or tablet and can send Alerts, Breathing Graphs, Sleep Analysis and other important information directly to your device.

But there's a tradeoff. Most contactless monitors are able to only offer video and sleep analytics. Wearable devices can offer vital signs monitoring, but without the ability to see and hear your baby. Some parents end up spending as much as $450-$600 to buy two separate systems, such as a "sock" for vital sign monitoring and a separate video/sleep analytics system for video and audio. With all the expenses new parents incur, this is a pretty steep price tag! Not to mention, all of the other issues that each type of monitor brings, and having to manage a bunch of different devices, power supplies, power cables, and more. How do you decide what's more important?

 nanit sucks

Image courtesy of Nanit (nanit.com, $279) 

You Don't Have To Choose

Now, there's a solution. The Cocoon Cam offers the best of both worlds. Cocoon Cam is the only monitor in the world that combines baby vital sign monitoring with HD video and streaming audio. So you can ensure your baby is safe, and also see, hear and connect with her visually. It's an all in one solution with a lightweight video camera that mounts quickly and easily on the wall above baby's crib, and a simple, easy to use smartphone app that sends real time alerts and breathing graphs right to your fingertips.

 

Cocoon Cam Product of the Year 2017 Baby Monitor

The Cocoon Cam system, for iOS and Android (cocooncam.com, starting at $149.99) 

 

Why does Cocoon Cam focus on breathing? Well, heart rate monitors or pulse oximetry (such as Owlet, above) offer a useful metric if you are a medical professional and are trained to interpret pulse oxygen levels or heart rate levels appropriate for your child's stage of development. But most of us aren't doctors or nurses; we're just concerned parents. It might sound obvious, but breathing is actually the leading indicator of wellness for both babies and for adults. The other reason respiration is the key metric is that by measuring breathing with computer vision technology, the company can gain many other insights, such as sleep stages, time of awakening, length and quality of sleep, and in some cases, even illness onset. 

The Cocoon Cam system was created by a small startup team made up of PhDs and parents. The company is headquartered in the heart of the Silicon Valley, immersed in cutting edge technology. Cocoon Cam's mission is to use the latest in computer vision, artificial intelligence, neural networks and deep learning to help parents and babies sleep better. 

Buy Cocoon Cam