We all know the worry that comes with the birth of a new baby; and if you’re anything like us, you were amazed when your doctor gave you the green light to take your tiny human home. As if childbirth alone wasn’t enough to throw your emotions completely out of whack, now you find yourself completely stressed about your newborn’s growth, eating behaviors, and comfort and sleeping patterns.

The baby monitor you were gifted during a baby shower is great, except you can’t help but keep your eyes glued to the screen (or held to your ear) to make sure your baby is breathing, or wonder if she’s cold, or make sure that she doesn’t roll on her belly. There’s got to be a better way to monitor your baby that doesn’t require an all-nighter.

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The Owlet Baby Care Vitals Monitor is the world’s first baby monitor product to combine a wearable monitor with a smartphone app that allows parents to check on baby’s vitals from down the hall, across town or across the globe.

Table of Contents

About Owlet

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Founded in 2012 by entrepreneur, engineer, and father-to-be, Kurt Workman, Owlet’s mission is to do good in the world while creating products that simplify parenthood. Workman imagined the idea for the Owlet Vitals Monitor after helping care for his twin cousins, who were born prematurely. Having lost an infant cousin to SIDS and his wife almost dying from SIDS as well, his personal experience with infant oxygen deprivation concerned him enough to want to find a way to warn parents if changes to a baby’s breathing were occurring.

How does Owlet Work? 

Owlet is up all night so you don’t have to be; designed to alert you if your baby stops breathing. This simple and “Smart Sock” silently watches your baby to give you peace of mind and a good night’s rest.

Pulse Oximetry

It does this by using hospital technology called pulse oximetry. You may remember having a clip placed on your finger when you were admitted to the hospital – that was pulse oximetry. Essentially, a small light shines through your skin, and the amount of blood flow and oxygen levels are estimated based on how much light is transmitted to that sensor.

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This technology is combined within a soft Smart Sock that fits snugly on your baby’s foot to monitor their heart rate and oxygen levels while your baby sleeps. The strap goes around the top of your baby’s foot, as well as their ankle to provide the best fit in order to have the most accurate readings, as well as to eliminate false alarms such as it falling off or moving away from the sensor (as you may have seen in other monitors).

Three Sizes

To determine the size you need for your baby, you’ll place the size 2 sock on your baby as a starting point, and see if it fits. This will be the sock with the electronics already installed and may be too big for a newborn, but it’s best to measure first.

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The size one, newborn, sock is always placed with the sock electronics on the bottom part of the left foot. Size two and three socks are always placed with the sock electronics on the top of the left foot. If you require a larger size or a replacement sock (or just want extras), additional socks and sizes are available.

Extra Peace of Mind

While not a medical device and not designed for children with an irregular heart rate or oxygen levels, the Owlet vitals monitor provides that extra peace of mind that all parents are looking for. If your baby stops breathing or their heart rate dips too low, rises too high or if their oxygen level drops below a preset threshold, Owlet will sound an alert via the base station or your smart phone (currently available to Apple devices – Droid app will be available in June 2016). There’s no need to stare at a screen in order to see this data – Owlet does the work for you. This alert strategy was determined by a team of pulse oximetry specialists, pediatricians, neonatologists and pulmonologists.

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Base Station Alerts and Charging

But you don’t have to use your smartphone to know that your baby is okay. The base station provides a simple lighting system.

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  • Blinking green light: getting first heart rate and oxygen readings.
  • Slow pulsing green light: heart rate and oxygen levels look good.
  • Blue flashing light: the smart sock is disconnected from the base station.
  • Yellow flashing light: the smart sock fell off or is poorly placed.

If the Smart Sock does fall off (or loses a signal), you won’t be panicked by a loud alarm. Instead, you’ll hear a soft lullaby (which is especially nice if your baby sleeps in your room), so the alert/alarm won’t wake your sleeping child up, but is just loud enough to wake YOU up. However, in the event that your baby’s oxygen level or heart rate falls too low, the alarm on the base will go off like an actual alarm; and it’ll be enough to scare you even if you haven’t gone to sleep yet. The base will also light up and flash red (just in case the sound of the alarm isn’t enough to get you up out of your seat).

That said, you may want to turn off monitoring. Lightly press the base station. It will beep, and the light will turn off (press it a second time and it will turn back on). You can also dim the base station light by pressing and holding. There is a brighter light that is perfect for daytime use and a dimmer light for night time use. If the alerts are too loud, you can always turn the sound off and have any notifications sent to your cell phone. When your phone receives an alert, it will also light up. For light sleepers, the light of a mobile phone is usually enough to wake you up even if the sound is off.

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When the Smart Sock is charging, it will blink green. When it is fully charged, it will have a solid green light. The base station will glow cool-white when the Smart Sock is charging. And, a charge is really quick. 7 hours of baby sleep monitoring only uses 30% of the battery and when it’s not in use, you can turn the sock off. Simply place the Smart Sock on the base station to shut down the sock so it doesn’t drain the battery.

Features to Love

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  • Monitors heart rate
  • Monitors oxygen level
  • Smartphone app (currently available for apple, droid available June 2016)
  • Wireless
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Access to live vitals
  • Independent base station
  • Alarms from base station and phone
  • Uses (pulse oximetry) hospital technology

All in all, the Owlet Baby Care Vitals monitor is perfect for any parent who wants peace of mind to know that their baby is being monitored.

To compare your other options, be sure to check out our Baby Monitor Guide. 

Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk