top of page
  • Writer's pictureBaby Whisperers

Home Apnea Monitors for SIDS

As two pediatric nurses, we are huge advocates for seeking medical care and following through with what the doctor recommends. With that being said, we are also very supportive of parents wanting to make informed decisions.

Part of staying informed is also knowing about alternatives. A website called Choosing Wisely helps give alternatives and offers other ways of thinking. We love their site and wanted to share a great piece written by them on home monitors and the reduction of SIDS. Are they always necessary? Check out the article below for more information.


SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome. It is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant under one year old.

SIDS is rare, but parents worry a lot about it. It is more common in babies that were premature. There’s also more risk if you had another baby who died of SIDS.

Home apnea monitors track the breathing and heart rate of sleeping babies. An alarm goes off if a baby’s breathing stops briefly (apnea) or if the heart rate is unusually slow.

This monitor might sound like a good idea to con­cerned parents. But most newborns do not need a monitor. Here’s why:

Home apnea monitors give little or no protection from SIDS.

Research has not shown a clear link between apnea and SIDS. Even full-term newborns in the first few weeks of life may have brief periods of apnea. But this is not linked to SIDS.

Monitors cause unnecessary worry.

Home apnea monitors cause many false alarms. The noise can make parents worry too much and lose sleep.

Parents may actually feel more fear and anxiety if they often use medical equipment to check on their healthy baby. One study found that parents of monitored infants said they felt more depressed, compared to parents of infants that weren’t monitored.

There are better ways to protect babies against SIDS.

There has been a lot of research on SIDS. Since the start of the “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1994, there are half as many SIDS deaths in the U.S.

This campaign encourages two important steps to reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • You should always put your baby to sleep on his or her back—not on the stomach.

  • You should place your baby on a firm crib mattress close to your bed and keep pillows, blankets, bumpers, and stuffed animals out of the crib.

If your baby is on the back, she or he will be able to wake up much more easily. If the mattress is firm and there is no bedding around the baby, this decreases the chance of your baby having problems with not getting enough oxygen-rich fresh air. We know that many of these deaths occur when a baby is not getting enough oxygen and does not wake up. Following these two simple steps will help to protect your baby from that situation.

When is a home apnea monitor a good idea?

In rare cases, your doctor may recommend a home apnea monitor for your baby. The device may be needed if:

  • Your baby needs home oxygen.

  • Your baby has serious breathing problems.

This report is for you to use when talking with your health-care provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.

© 2018 ABIM Foundation. Developed in cooperation with the American Academy of Pediatrics. 07/2014


A big thanks to Choosing Wisely for this information. We hope this information helps you make more informed decisions about your health.

As always- like, comment, and share!

-The Baby Whisperers


53 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page