Are Snuza Monitors Useful And Safe To Use?

Posted by Megan Petchel & Julie Monson on

are snuza monitors useful and safe to use?

Snuza monitors are a proudly South-African product which is exported all over the world. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) as well as other organisations do not support the use of baby monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. This leads us to the question of whether Snuza monitors are useful and safe to use?   

The thing that sets Snuza monitors apart from other breathing monitoring devices is that they have developed a medically certified device, the Snuza Hero M.D. This means that the device has undergone rigorous testing in order to prove that it does in fact detect and identify any halts in breathing also known as apnea.   

While this new technology is reassuring for many it is important to know how it works as well as things that may impact its accuracy to prevent yourself from becoming too dependent on it. 

snuza monitor

HOW DO SNUZA MONITORS WORK?

These small monitors are attached to your baby’s nappy and use an ultra-sensitive tip which is soft and flexible to track their breathing motion. They are programmed to alert you should your baby’s breathing stop for more than 15-20 seconds or if there are less than 8 movements in a minute. 

Some of the Snuza monitors alert you with an audible alarm while others first make use of vibration to rouse your baby before sounding an alarm. For the breathing motion monitor which alerts you with an alarm only, you are able to set the alert for 15, 18 or 20 seconds. 

how do snuza monitors work

CAN SNUZA MONITORS PREVENT SIDS?

Despite being a well-researched subject, there is still very little evidence to support the cause of SIDS. While certain factors which appear to increase a baby’s risk of SIDS have been identified, there is still no definitive way of preventing it from occurring.    

On their website, Snuza clearly indicates that they do not claim their medically certified device prevents SIDS. They go on to say that the Snuza Hero MD was specifically developed to detect apnea and not SIDS as no clear link between apnea and SIDS has been established. Nationwide Children's explains that  confusion often arises because the term “apnea” is used interchangeably with “SIDS” and this may lead people to think that the breathing monitors can prevent SIDS.   

While Snuza does not make any distinctive claims about being a SIDS prevention device, they do point out that as of July 2019, they had sold over 350 000 Snuza monitors and had only one reported death. The monitor detected that the baby had stopped breathing and the alarm sounded but tragically they were not able to resuscitate the baby. If the worldwide rate of SIDS which is 1 out of every 2000 live births was used, then there should have been many more deaths reported. The lack of deaths points to the benefit of using this device.  

snuza monitors dont prevent sids

CAN YOU USE A SNUZA MONITOR FOR TUMMY SLEEPERS AND WHEN BABY ROLLS?

It is safest and recommended that babies sleep on their backs. The correct placement of a Snuza monitor is crucial in order for it to work effectively.  In the user manuals of the monitors, a diagram showing you the best place to position the monitor if your baby is a side or tummy sleeper is available. They indicate that if your they sleep on their side then the monitor should be shifted to the left or right hand side of their belly button or onto the opposite side they are sleeping on. For baby’s who sleep on their tummies, they suggest placing the monitor on either side of the nappy. 

Snuza for tummy sleepers


Although they provide alternative positioning of the monitor to accommodate tummy sleepers, they indicate that the device is most accurate when your baby is positioned on their back while sleeping.    

This question has been raised on a few internet forums with mixed responses. Some moms have said that the monitor still works when placed on the side of the nappy while others have reported that it still works if placed on your baby’s tummy. There have also been suggestions of placing the monitor on the back of the nappy, however this has not been verified by Snuza. What was frequently mentioned was an increase in the number of false alarms especially as baby’s movements begin to increase.   

CAN YOU USE A SNUZA WHEN SWADDLING YOUR BABY?

Snuza does not specifcally mention if their device can or cannot be used while swaddling your infant. They do however state that it can be used under clothing. This question has also popped up on numerous forums with a common answer of there being no difficulty seeing the lights on the monitor through clothing and a swaddle.

CAN YOU USE A SNUZA IN A CAR OR PRAM?

Using a Snuza device while your baby is being pushed in their pram or travelling in a car is not guaranteed to work. This is because the external movement of the pram or car may be picked up by the monitor and provide a false positive. 

CAN YOU USE A SNUZA WHEN CO-SLEEPING?

Co-sleeping with your baby in your bed is not recommended. In order for the Snuza to work effectively, your baby needs to sleep in a separate bed on their own. Co-sleeping with your baby may cause the Snuza to detect the breathing motion of yourself or someone else in the bed which can prevent the alarm from sounding if your baby should stop breathing. 

snuza monitors

SNUZA COMPARISON (GO, HERO MD AND PICO 2)

Snuza currently has three different devices available on the market. While two of them monitor your infant’s breathing motion, the third is medically certified and is able to detect apnea. 


SNUZA
GO
SNUZA
PICO 2
SNUZA
HERO MD
What does it track? Breathing motion Breathing motion
Apnea 
Alert Systems An alarm sounds if a breathing motion has not been detected for either 15, 18 or 20 seconds as chosen by you.
Vibrates gently to rouse baby if no breathing has been detected for 15 seconds.  

An alarm sounds should there be more than 3 unsuccessful attempts to rouse baby in a single sleep. 
Vibrates gently to rouse baby if no breathing has been detected for 15 seconds.  

An alarm sounds should there be more than 3 unsuccessful attempts to rouse baby in a single sleep. 
Is there a breathing rate warning?
Yes, warning beeps are sounded.
Yes, an alert will be sounded on your smartphone should the Pico be connected via Bluetooth if the device detects less than 8 breaths a minute.
Yes, should the device detect less than 8 breaths a minute, a specific alarm sounds
Extra functions
Audible tick to indicate breathing
Infrared thermometer that tracks your baby’s body temperature

Allows you to see what position your baby is in 
   
It is able to detect any falls 

It can monitor your baby’s sleeping patterns and heart rate
Audible tick to indicate breathing
Is there an app with the device?
No Yes, alerts about breathing rate, body position, body temperature and fall detection are sent to your app.

Warning settings can be customised. 
No
Battery life span Uses a CR2 (CR15270) battery available from most retail outlets.     

Life span depends entirely on usage.
Uses a rechargeable battery.

Lasts approx. 2 weeks dependent on usage
Uses a CR2 (CR15270) battery available from most retail outlets. 

Lasts 4-6 months if used for 8 hours a day on average.
Does it require recalibration?
No No Yes, before every use it must be placed on a flat surface.
Is it medically certified? No No  Yes, it was certified by the European Medical Devices Directive. 

CE 1639 - Medical Device Class:
IIb (Rule 10) (Annex II)
MDD 92/43/EEC)


Conclusion

No monitoring device should be the sole manner in which the safety of your baby is observed. While these devices are certainly beneficial in alerting you of potential problems, it is still important that you get up to check on your baby from time to time. 

References


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