Putting high-tech baby monitor systems to the test

Putting high-tech baby monitor systems to the test

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They promise to help put you at ease, allowing you to stay connected to your new baby like never before.  Extreme baby monitoring is a growing industry, but is that a good thing?  

We put one of the latest high-tech devices to hit the market to the test.  And we found out from  doctors and safety experts  whether they really make your baby safer. 

Like so many first-time parents, coming home with their newborn baby, Jaxson, was both exciting and a bit terrifying for Anissa Borrego and fiance Chad Hernandez.

"We were overwhelmed at first," said Borrego. "We were pretty nervous." At seven weeks old, Jaxson's nursery has barely been touched.
 Instead, he sleeps in his parents' room, so they can keep constant watch on him throughout the night.
 
"I make sure he's alive," said Hernandez.  "All the time," Borrego added.

"My personal biggest fear, like as sleeping goes, is the SIDS risk," said Borrego. "That just terrifies me to  wake up one day and him not be there."

The family was eager to try out the latest high-tech monitor, called Mimo. At $200, it tracks your baby's breathing, skin temperature, sleep quality and position. 

Information is gathered through a clip-on turtle attached to a cotton onesie and sent to your smartphone.

But before putting it on baby Jaxson, we took the Mimo to Safe Kids Oklahoma. 
"Those are peace of mind devices," said executive director Katie Mueler.  "They're not necessarily a safety device, if you will."

We also showed it to OU Children's pediatrician Deborah Shropshire. "A lot of times monitoring, as a parent, winds up causing more stress, distress and anxiety," she said.
 
Devices like Mimo don't claim to prevent SIDS and the FDA is clear that they don't.  Still, parents like Jaxson's want to do what they can to keep their baby safe.

The number of unexplained infant deaths is rising.  It's now the second leading cause of death for kids under two in Oklahoma.

Mueller said, "What we're finding is a lot of those children that we thought died of sudden unexplained death were actually dying of unsafe sleep conditions."

Safe sleep conditions mean putting your baby down on his or her back in a space free of blankets, toys, and even bumpers. Those are proven ways to reduce SIDS. 

"There's not a lot of utility to knowing your child's vital signs or what position they're laying in," said Dr. Shropshire.  "You should prepare an environment that provides that safety, then leave them alone and let them take a nap."

We checked in on baby Jaxson after his parents had been using Mimo for over a week.

 "It's really accurate," said Borrego.  Showing us the stats on her iPhone she said, "On this one it shows that he's awake and on his back, and he has his normal skin temperature. Right here is his breathing."
 
The couple noticed the Mimo apps are slightly different on the iPhone versus a Droid.  The Droid takes pictures, but Borrego and Hernandez preferred the detailed charts on the iPhone version.

Their only complaint?  Baby Jaxson didn't seem comfortable in the onesie. "Just the style of it," said Borrego. "I don't think he liked it, just because it wraps and there's buttons on the inside."

Overall, this family rated the Mimo a 10 out of 10 in accuracy and in putting them at ease.  But they admit for $200, they'd probably go for a cheaper option.

 "I mean it's a really cool product," said Borrego. "But it's just really pricey."

 It's been several weeks since the family tested out Mimo for us.  We recently checked in on them, and they tell us they're still using Mimo, but only as an audio monitor in his nursery, not attached to his onesie.  They say they've gained the confidence to place Jaxson in his own room for naps.
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