If you are a new parent and you’ve found yourself checking on your baby every other few minutes, then you are not alone. NY Times recently captured the anxiety of parents arguing that monitoring devices should add to the anxiety that parents already have.
Getting accurate baby breathing monitors is essential to getting a peaceful rest. If your baby is a preemie or has breathing problems, then you definitely want to invest in one of these monitors.
There are many different options available for monitoring your baby’s breathing. In this article, we will take a look at the best monitors on the market today and help you determine which one is right for your family.
Of all baby monitors we’ve reviewed here at Motherhood HQ, breathing monitors are the most essential and perhaps a ‘must-have‘ baby gear every parent should consider. In my research, I came across a wide range of technologies ranging from wearable monitors to high-tech contact-free breathing monitors.
A comparison table of the 13 Best Monitors for Monitoring Baby Breathing 2022
|Breathing Monitor Brand||Battery Life||Age Limit||Weight||Rating on Amazon||Price|
|#1. Owlet Care Smart Sock 3||16 hours||Birth to 18 months||1.08 pounds||–||No longer available|
|#2. Angelcare AC517 Baby Monitor||4.5 Hours||Birth to 2 months||1.45 kgs||4.1/5 stars in 200+ reviews||Check here|
|#3. Babysense Hisense 7||6 – 8 months||Birth to 12 months||2.2 pounds||4.4/5 stars in 200+ reviews||Check here|
|#4. MonBaby Breathing Monitor||10 days||Birth to 12 months||0.19 Pounds||3.9/5 stars in 500+ reviews||Check here|
|#5. Snuza Hero SE||2000 Hours||Birth to 6 months||0.04 Pounds||4.5/5 stars in 2,800+ reviews||Check here|
|#6. Levana Oma Sense Monitor||30 days||Birth to 6 months||0.64 Pounds||4.3/5 stars in 300+ reviews||Check here|
|#7. Sense-U Baby Breathing Monitor||30 days||Birth to 6 months||1.76 ounces||4.0/5 stars in 1,800+ reviews||Check here|
|#8. Angelcare AC327 Baby Monitor||up to 8 months for sensor pad||Birth to 24 months||0.93 Pounds||4.2/5 stars in 900+ reviews||Check here|
|#9. BabyO2 Baby Oxygen Monitor Foot||16 hours||Birth to 36 months||241 grams||3.9/5 stars in 600+ reviews||Check here|
|#10. Cubo Ai Plus Baby Monitor||10 days||Birth to 5+ years||280 grams||4.6/5 stars in 600+ reviews||Check here|
|#11. Miku Pro Contact-Free Monitor||–||Birth to 7+ years||2.96 pounds||4.0/5 stars in 300+ reviews||Check here|
|#12. Wellue BabyO2 S2 Baby Monitor||7 days||Birth to 3+ years||0.48 Kilograms||3.7/5 stars in 20+ reviews||Check here|
|#13. Simshine Smart Baby Monitor||7 days||Birth to 7+ years||8 Ounces||4.8/5 stars in 20+ reviews||Check here|
What does a baby breathing monitor do?
Babies breathe differently from adults. They have periods of pauses between breaths and their breathing patterns can change often. Newborns can have up to 60 breathes per minute while adults have only 12 to 20 breathes per minute as shown in the image below.
Infants’ breathing rate is higher, erratic and their chests rise and fall with each breath. A baby breathing monitor is a device that helps you track your baby’s breathing pattern. It can be used to detect any changes in their breathing and alert you if there are any problems.
Pediatric respiratory disorders and distress are the second most common cause of pediatric ER visits in the United States. Sometimes it is parents knowing little about what to expect with a newborn’s breathing pattern that leads to unnecessary ER visits. This is where a baby breathing monitor can be helpful for parents.
What are the different types of monitors?
There are two main types of baby breathing monitors: movement-based and wearable-based.
- Movement monitoring involves tracking your baby’s chest movements with either small bands that are strapped around their body or sensors that are placed under their mattress. These monitors will usually have a visual display that will show you your baby’s breathing pattern. If the movement stops for more than 20 seconds, the monitor will sound an alarm to alert you.
- Wearable monitors are usually placed on your baby’s chest under their clothes or gets wrapped on your baby’s foot. These monitors will track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels in their blood. The monitor will then send the information to a receiver that you can carry around with you. If there is a change in their vital signs, it will alert you.
Both movement-based and wearable monitors are fairly reliable. However, the studies on these types of monitors have shown mixed results. Some show that they can detect changes in breathing patterns at an early stage while others don’t seem to be as effective.
The overall top-rated Breathing Monitor in 2022: Owlet Smart Sock 3
Until 2015, there wasn’t a truly reliable baby breathing monitor that tracks key vital signs such as heartbeat and breathing rate of infants. Since the release of Owlet Smart Sock, it has remained the favorite for most parents that have continued to rely on it.
In 2022, our overall best breathing monitor is owlet’s 3rd generation smart sock which was released in July 2020.
Reviews of top Baby Breathing Monitor Brands in 2022
1. Owlet Care Smart Sock 3: Anklet/Sock
Owlet Smart Sock 3 emerged as the overall best breathing baby monitor that uses a unique technology that was discovered in the 1940s. The pulse-oximetry technology was locked up in hospitals for decades.
Owlet is a baby breathing monitor anklet/sock that uses pulse oximetry, a technology that uses LED light to get critical vital signs details, specifically the oxygen level and the baby’s heart rate.
Owlet smart sock 2 has been available in the market since July 2017 but the complete Owlet smart sock with a camera has been available since February 2019. Owlet Smart Sock 2 made it to our list of best baby breathing monitors for the second year in a row mainly because of the following three reasons:
- Pioneering and most accurate readings of the baby’s breathing using a smart sock that has since been improved from the first generation, smart sock 1, which was released in 2016. The technology was first tried out in 2010 and went through rigorous testing that enabled it to be a dependable baby breathing monitor sock. Pulse oximetry, as a technology that obtains details on the breathing rate per minute and the oxygen levels in the blood, has been around for more than 3 decades but Owlet pioneered a home-use pulse oximetry device that is changing the lives of many parents. This point went a long way to our ranking of Owlet as the best baby monitor to monitor breathing in 2019.
- Easy to use Owlet app which has all the details about the baby’s breathing and oxygen levels with just one swipe up. The app is also free although you’d have to pay to use another version of the app called Connected App that is currently available only on iOS devices.
- Multiple alerts: Owlet smart sock has been designed to alert you by changing the color of the base station from green to red or yellow in case your attention is needed and those alerts can also be sent to your smartphone. This makes it very easy for you to be updated anytime when your baby needs you.
When you purchase Owlet Smart Sock 2, it comes with the following:
- 3 washable socks that comfortably wrap around the baby’s foot and connect to a base station up to 100 ft. away using. The socks are ideal for infants of 0-18 months.
- The base station which receives information from the sock
- The smartphone App that receives the information on the base station
Before Owlet Smart Sock 2 was developed by Owlet, a start-up that had to pivot a number of times before its great success, parents had to depend on breathing monitors with clips. The clips had to be attached to the diapers or to the chest of the baby and this was some real work. Owlet made it very simple and easy to monitor the baby’s breathing using a technology that has been used for decades in hospitals.
How Owlet works:
Owlet smart sock allows you to track the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels when asleep. It uses clinically proven pulse oximetry, and as a parent, you’ll be alerted if the breathing patterns are out of the ordinary. The Owlet smart sock 2 has a base station that glows green when everything is working as expected. Sound and light notifications are sent to your smartphone in case you are needed.
- Tracks: Heartbeat and oxygen levels
- Notification: Light, sound and smartphone app
- Apps: iOS and Android Apps
Angelcare AC517 came second in our 2022 list of top breathing baby monitors behind Owlet Smart Sock 2. Angelcare AC517 has been in the market since January 2017 and it has achieved incredible success as a best performing breathing baby monitor.
Unlike Owlet which uses a smart sock to keep track of the baby’s heart rate, Angelcare AC517 uses a sensor pad that is placed at the bottom of the mattress. This means that no gadget comes in contact with the baby. It is Prime eligible if you purchase it on Amazon. It is significantly cheaper than Owlet, coming at almost half the price.
Another variation of Angelcare’s breathing baby monitor is the Angelcare AC401 which has a green breathing sensor pad. Another variation is the Angelcare AC1320 which has been on the market since August 2016.
Buy on Amazon here
Babysense came third in 10BabyGear’s list of top breathing baby monitors of 2022. Babysense made it to the list partly because of its backing by a stable, well-known brand.
Babysense breathing baby monitor is manufactured and distributed by Hisense, a baby product manufacturer since 1992. Hisense released a new breathing baby monitor – replacing the old Babysense breathing baby monitor that had been in the market since October 2017.
Babysense breathing monitor uses FHSS, a spread spectrum technology that ensures 100% privacy and guarantees the security of the baby, unlike Owlet care which can potentially get hacked.
How it works:
- A sensor pad is placed below the mattress
- Sounds an alarm if no movement is detected within 20
When you purchase Babysense 7 breathing baby monitor, it comes with an under-the-mattress sensitive movement monitor. The movement monitor includes 2 sensor pads that cover the entire crib without touching or coming in contact with the baby.
This makes Babysense a non-contract breathing baby monitor, similar to Angelcare AC517. Babysense breathing baby monitor sounds an alarm if the baby does not move for 20 seconds or if the system detects less than 10 micro-movements per minute.
You can check its price on Amazon here.
MonBaby Breathing Monitor is our 4th best breathing baby monitor in the MotherhoodHQ list of breathing baby monitors for infants. It is manufactured by MonBaby, a New York-based brand focussed on promoting baby products.
It was released in December 2016 by Monbaby, a manufacturer of baby products including baby monitors. Unlike other baby monitors that track and inform you when the baby suddenly stops breathing, Monbaby also lets you know how the baby is sleeping – on his or her back/stomach – very essential details in preventing SIDs.
How Monbaby works to monitor baby’s breathing:
- A Clip is attached to the baby’s clothing – it could be placed in the chest.
- Just like that, you get updates to your smartphone on breathing movement alarms, sleep position alarm, fall detection alarm, sleep cycle alert etc.
You can read more about Monbaby monitor on Amazon here
A new, renewed Snuza Hero (SE) Baby Movement Monitor was released in May 2019 and is currently in the top 100 best-selling baby monitors as of July 2019.
Snuza Hero SE is the fifth-best breathing baby monitor in the BMC list. The new Snuza Hero SE is an improvement of a similar model that had been in the market since 2016. Snuza Hero is a renowned brand for monitoring a baby’s breath patterns using wearable clips that are attached to the diaper. They are no wires or sensor pads making it a diaper-clip breathing baby monitor.
Buy on Amazon here
How Snuza Hero SE works to monitor baby’s breathing:
- It vibrates after 15 seconds of no abdominal movement
- Sends you an alarm after 20 seconds of no abdominal movement
You can check its current price here
Oma Sense Breathing Monitor is our 6th best monitor you can use to monitor the breathing of your baby. Unlike Owlet which is attached to the sock and to the feet, Oma Sense is clipped onto your baby’s diapers or clothes.
How does it work?
Oma works by detecting breathing and if no breathing movement is detected for 15 seconds, Oma Sense will trigger:
- Fluctuating sounds,
- Vibrations and
- LED lights to encourage the return of regular movement
Buy on Amazon here
This breathing baby monitor from Sense-U, a Silicon Valley brainchild, is a next-gen level device that gives you good value for your dollar. It tracks your little one’s breathing movements and sends notifications in form of audible alarms and lights to your smartphone when it senses weakness in your baby’s breathing pattern. You will also get notified when your baby sleeps on his tummy or rolls over.
In addition, the Sense-U baby monitor tracks your baby’s body temperature and sends you warnings when the levels are abnormal to protect him from overheating or getting cold. I love the 50 feet range as well as the Bluetooth Low Energy (BT4.0) technology that emits insignificant radiation making the device extremely safe for your infant.
It is HSA/FSA eligible, has green and pink color options, and comes with a 1-year warranty plus a 30-day return policy. For Android users, ensure that you activate Location Permission continually for a strong connection.
Compatible with: Android Phones, Smartphones
Tracks: Breathing Movement, Temperature, Rollover & Sleeping Position
Buy on Amazon here
With a range of up to 820 feet, this 3-in-1 AC327 Baby Monitor 4.3-inch style from Angelcare is a fantastic pick for tracking your baby’s movements. Unlike some models, the Monitor Sensor Pad of this product is positioned on a solid surface underneath your baby’s crib. Therefore, the 4 adjustable sensitivity levels will only pick accurate baby movements to prevent false alarms.
When turned on, the Nursery Unit starts monitoring and will only send an alarm if no movement is sensed for 20 seconds. Even best, you have video access on a 4.3” screen (480×272 resolution) with infrared night vision where the streams are protected from hacks using 2.4GHz FHSS encryption. I love the 2-way talk-back capability that allows you to interact with your little one as well as the low-energy emissions for her optimal safety. The sensor pad battery, as per the adverts, is said to last up to 8 months. Angelcare boasts more than 20 years of experience with groundbreaking success and was founded by a first-time dad who was driven by the zeal of taking care of a newborn.
Buy on Amazon here
9. BabyO2 Baby Oxygen Monitor Foot
Nothing would monitor your baby’s vitals like a wearable sensor and that is what Wellue offers you. An adjustable band attaches the monitor to your little angel’s leg to help track their heart rate, movement, and O2 levels. In case the device drops or oxygen levels go low, you will receive a notification alert on your free mobile app. The alarm volume and level are adjustable to your desired limit.
What I admire about the wearable band is that it is made from breathable and soft fabric is its gentleness on your baby’s skin for wearing comfort. BabyO2 comes in two different strap sizes to help match well with your baby’s age and features Velcro for securing it precisely. In addition, this monitor has in-built memory which means that you can use it even without a smartphone.
Compatible with: Smartphones – Windows PC, Mac, iOS & Android Phones
Tracks: Oxygen Levels, Heart Rate & Body Movements
If you are looking for a breathing monitor that will notify you when your baby’s nose and mouth are covered or facing down in real-time, Cubo Ai got your needs covered. The device has a video streaming view with night vision mode (1080p HD), and I love the true cry detection as well as the danger zone alert that sends alerts when your little one needs your attention.
This Smart Baby Monitor comes with a stand that offers 3 different installation options including floor base, mobile stand, and crib attachment. It is these capabilities that make it’s transitioning from the baby camera into a toddler camera hassle-free. Unlike most monitors, you can share camera access from your account with up to 7 people. The system is CTIA Cybersecurity Certified so you can be sure that your data and account are safe.
Oh, and I mention that Cubo Ai is FSA/HSA approved and features a 1-year free Premium Care? Cubo Ai is a Taiwanese startup founded in 2017 and has won several awards including the “Mom’s Choice Award” “2020 JPMA Innovation Awards” “2020 National Parenting Products Awards” and the “2020 CES Innovation Awards”.
Compatible with: Android, iOS & Tablets
Buy on Amazon here
The Miku Pro video baby monitor examines your baby’s breathing and sleep patterns and gives you access to her respirations per minute (RPM) in real-time right on your Miku smartphone app. It uses wireless connectivity tech as well as SensorFusion tech that utilizes multiple sensors to deliver unmatched monitoring accuracy. You can view your baby’s actual respiration via the Live Breathing Waveform on your smartphone.
I love the crystal clear HD video (1080p) and night vision mode that includes digital zoom and boosted audio with custom dual Ole Wolff speakers for flawless parent-to-child interaction. There are also sensors that monitor your baby’s nursery temperature, light, humidity, and sound levels for a friendly environment.
This monitor for babies makes sure that your data and connection is secure with an embedded Crypto Chip (256-bit encryption) as well as 2-step verification. Founded in 2018, Miku Inc. is a US-based pediatric wellness monitoring brand based in Los Angeles and Woodbridge.
Compatible with: iOS & Android
Tracks: Breathing, Sleep, Room Temperature & Humidity
Buy on Amazon here
Yet another wearable option, this BabyO2 S2 baby monitor from Wellue records your little one’s heart rate, oxygen levels, and sleep motion so you can have peace of mind day and night. Wellue was founded here in the US in 2013 with the aim of creating secure and smart family wearables. It is headquartered in Kentucky.
The base station continuously tracks these vitals via a device that is connected to your baby’s body and sends notifications to your smartphone app. These straps are soft and gentle on your infant’s delicate foot for optimal comfort and come in various sizes for newborns up to 3 years.
Like most baby monitors in this review, the BabyO2 S2 features adjustable volume and threshold value and there is unrestricted storage on your baby vital history. And did I mention that the base station has a battery that lasts 7 days?
Compatible with: Windows PC, Mac App, iOS & Android
Tracks: Oxygen, Heart Rate & Sleep Motion
Buy on Amazon here
The last product in my review today is the Smart Baby Monitor from Simshine, a monitor that supports 2k UD resolution for clear images both during the day and night. I love the 360-degree PTZ rotation that increases the monitoring range to cover all spots and the beautiful yellow and pink color varieties. Even best, this monitor features a cry detector that recognizes your baby’s cry and plays gentle music to comfort her as well as a talk-back feature for parent-child communication.
Our best video baby monitor is under $200 and supports local storage of up to 128g (memory card), sleep report (7 days), free video downloads, and can even work when your network is broken. If you are worried about privacy, the monitor employs the AES block encryption standard algorithm. You will also be able to share your monitoring account with other 5 sub-accounts with family members.
Simshine brand was established in 2017 by Aaron Zhang (CEO), Clark Chen (CTO), and Joe Tham (CMO).
Compatible with: Android, iOS
Tracks: Sleep Motion
Buy on Amazon here.
14. NORA Smart Sock Baby Monitor
Nora Smart Sock Baby Monitor is a wearable baby heart rate monitor that tracks your child’s heart rate and oxygen levels. It also monitors the quality of your baby’s sleep, vital signs, and more. The smart sock fits babies from 0 to 3 years old with a weight up to 18 kg (40 lbs). Nora connects wirelessly to the free app on your iOS or Android device so you can always be close by when it matters most.
The NORA Smart Sock Baby Monitor is a device that helps parents keep track of their baby’s temperature. The sensor measures the foot temperature, which is always lower than the body’s core temperature. This is an essential indicator that the baby is feeling too warm or chills, so parents can take appropriate action.
Baby Breathing Monitors Buying Guide
Below are 7 key factors to consider when purchasing a baby breathing monitor;
- Type of monitor: There are three types of baby breathing monitors: handheld, wearable, and stationary. Handheld monitors are small and portable, wearable monitors attach to your child’s body, and stationary monitors stay in one place.
- Functionality: Monitors can vary in terms of the features they offer. Some monitors only track your child’s breathing, while others also track heart rate and oxygen levels.
- Battery life: How long the battery lasts will be an important consideration, especially if you plan to use the monitor on a regular basis.
- Price: Baby breathing monitors can range in price from around $60 to over $200.
- Period of use: Monitors can be used for a range of different periods, from a few months to up to two years.
- Accuracy and False alarms: Make sure to read reviews to get an idea of how accurate the monitor is and how often it gives false alarms.
- Technology: You can choose from a movement sensor, wearable, non-wearable, clip-on, or contactless
Why are they important and what do breathing monitors do?
Breathing monitors can give you back your sleep as you will be able to comfortably monitor your infant’s vital organs such as heart rate, oxygen concentration level, among other vitals.
Unlike adults, babies do not breathe at a steady rate and this can worry a lot of parents. Infants have a ‘periodic breathing’ which is breathing with some pausing breathing patterns. This is common for most infants, especially preemies but most parents get distressed by this. You can read more about the periodic breathing of newborns here and I am highlighting this to let you know that breaths followed by pauses are normal. Breathing baby monitors are there to enable you to differentiate between normal sleep and breathing patterns and those that may be dangerous for your infant.
SIDs is every parent’s nightmare. 3,500 babies are lost to SIDs in the US every year.
We have put together this piece to assist any parent to reduce the risk of SIDs by taking pro-active steps and by utilizing baby breathing monitors that actually work. At 10BabyGear, we take baby safety seriously and we hope this piece will be helpful to you.
The FDA has never approved any of the baby monitors below as they are not considered medical devices. The National Institute of Health (NIH), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend against the use of baby monitors for SIDS prevention. They instead advocate for standard practices such as making your baby sleep on the back without being stuffed with blankets and toys. Read more below.
Talking of proactive steps, you can do several things to reduce the risk of SIDs. In the 90s, CDC ran a campaign called the “back-to-sleep” campaign and it saw the rate of SIDs drop by half. Before we go into details of these prevention tips, let’s look at some general helpful topics to get us acquainted with the topic.
The idea to monitor the breathing of infants is not new. In fact, the earliest patent for a device that tracks breathing was approved in the 70s by the US Patents Office. In addition, there are great research work and studies around this topic which we’ve reviewed in a period of over 3 weeks to put this article together.
So, what exactly does a baby breathing monitor do, and is it worth it? Baby breathing monitors are very important and have been known to alert parents in case the baby stops breathing because of an unsafe sleeping position or because of SIDs.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDs) is when a baby dies inexplicably and unexpectedly during sleep and it has been attributed to no activity in the part of the brain that controls breathing and heart rate.
When a baby has an inborn problem with the development of that part of the brain, they can die from SIDs when there is a lack of enough oxygen to the brain. For infants with developing brains, they are unable to increase the rate of breathing when there is low oxygen reaching the brain, the way adults would. While SIDs could happen to any baby, there are practices that you can take to reduce the chances of it happening to your baby.
Thousands of parents have found the use of baby breathing monitors to save the lives of babies, proving the point that baby breathing monitors actually work by giving alerts when a baby’s life is at stake. While there is a discussion of whether baby breathing monitors are necessary, I find it very naive to engage in it as studies by CDC and reputable Children’s hospitals have recommended to parents to use a breathing monitor.
It is important to note that while several doctors do not claim that baby breathing monitors can prevent SIDS, they do not deny that it may help by notifying you when there is a potential case of SIDs. Another common question you find is whether baby breathing monitors are safe. Baby breathing monitors are safe as they emit very low emf radiation compared to video baby monitors and are less prone to hacking.
How Baby Breathing Monitors Work:
Principally, baby breathing monitors are meant to track your baby’s breathing and several of them give you various vital signs including the heart rate, oxygen level, and breathing rate per minute(bpm).
Different baby breathing monitors use different technologies such as pulse oximetry, computer vision, movement tracking technology, and respiratory motion tracker, among others.
All these different technologies essentially aim to get the breathing patterns of your baby and some give you the exact breathing levels while others only alert you when the baby stops breathing for a certain period of time. Either way, they all alert parents when the baby is at risk of low oxygen supply and possibly death.
Type of Breathing Baby Monitors
We will describe and compare the top-rated breathing baby but first, here is a list of the three categories of breathing baby monitors:
- Baby breathing monitor clip on
- Baby breathing monitor sock/anklet
- Baby breathing monitor mat
- Baby breathing monitor video
We have analyzed the different technologies and the notification features that differentiate each of the baby breathing monitors we’ve reviewed.
When to seek Medical Help for Irregular breathing in babies
If your baby’s breathing is irregular, and they’re under 3 months old, it’s important to seek medical help immediately.
In general, if a baby’s respiratory rate is more than 60 breaths per minute or less than 20 breaths per minute, it’s considered abnormal and you should seek medical attention.
Additionally, if your baby is having difficulty breathing, or their skin is turning blue, these are signs of hypoxia and you should also seek medical help immediately.
Below are some other symptoms that you can keep an eye on to know when to visit your pediatrician;
- Very regular breathing pauses of more than 10 seconds
- Fast breathing (more than 60 breaths per minute) in newborns
- Grunting with each breath
- Noisy or labored breathing
- Blue tinge to the lips or fingernails
- Flared nostrils when breathing
- Sucking in of the skin below and between the ribs with each breath
- An increase in stomach size while breathing
Frequently Asked Questions on Baby Breathing Monitors
- About the Author
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Hi there! I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at Motherhoodhq.com. I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at email@example.com.