Baby Monitor Movement Sensors

Baby Monitor Movement Sensors

Movement sensors are pressure-sensitive pads that are placed under the mattress to monitor a baby’s movements. They are highly sensitive and can detect the slightest movements, even a baby’s breathing while sleeping. If no movement is detected for 20 seconds, it sounds an alarm.

Movement sensors work with cribs of any size. The sensor pad can not sit on springs, so if the mattress does not sit on a solid surface, a thin board will need to be used for support.

When using a movement sensor, parents will need to position the baby over the pad and switch the unit on each time the baby is placed into the crib. Then the unit gets switched off each time the baby is removed from the crib. If the baby gets lifted out of the crib and you forget to turn off the movement monitor, the alarm will sound a few seconds later.

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Sound monitor and pressure sensitive movement sensor that can detect your baby's slightest movements.

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BebeSounds Angelcare Movement Sensor

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False Alarms

One of the drawbacks of movement sensors is the high rate of false alarms. That is, the baby is okay but has moved off the pressure-sensitive mat. When the baby moves out of the pad’s range, the movement sensor will sound an alarm since it does not detect any movement.

Some parents feel that the incidence of false alarms creates more anxiety than it relieves and choose not to use a movement sensor. Other parents find movement sensors reassuring and would rather get up every time the alarm sounds then not have an alarm at all.

SIDS Prevention

Although many parents find movement sensors reassuring, they are not medical devices. Experts warn that movement sensors should not be used for medical monitoring or relied on to prevent SIDS, whose causes are not yet known.

Expert Statements

  • The National Institutes of Health, “Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.”
    (Source: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/safe_sleep_gen.cfm)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, “Avoid products that claim to prevent SIDS. Most have not been tested for safety. None have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.”
    (Source: http://www.aap.org/publiced/BR_SIDS.htm)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, “Home monitors should also be avoided. While they can be helpful for babies with breathing or heart problems, they have not been found to reduce the risk of SIDS.”
    (Source: http://www.aap.org/publiced/BR_SIDS.htm)

Nevertheless, many parents say movement sensors give them peace of mind and are worth the price.

To help reduce the risk of SIDS, the American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled “A Parents Guide to Safe Sleep” which includes the following recommendations:

  • Always place your baby to sleep on his or her back during naps and at nighttime
  • Your baby's crib should have a firm mattress and a tight fitting sheet
  • Do not place your baby to sleep on an adult bed, chair, sofa, waterbed, or pillow
  • Do not let your baby get too hot; do not overbundle him or her in clothing and blankets
  • Set the room temperature to a comfortable range for light clothing
  • It is not safe to place pillows, toys, fluffy blankets or stuffed animals in the crib
  • Your baby should sleep in an environment that is always smoke-free
  • Breastfeed your baby at least through the first year of life
Angelcare Deluxe

Angelcare Deluxe

While babies should sleep on their back, when supervised and awake it is healthy for babies to spend time on their tummies. Tummytime helps to build strong neck and shoulder muscles and promotes normal, healthy development.

It is important for you to discuss SIDS and safe sleep practices with your baby’s pediatrician, especially if there are specific medical concerns that pertain to your baby. If your baby will be watched by a babysitter or other caregiver, it is important to share that information with them as well.

SIDS is most common among infants that are between 2 and 4 months of age, but can occur anytime during the first year. While baby monitor movement sensors may provide additional peace of mind, safe sleep guidelines should still be followed to help reduce the risk of SIDS.

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Peace of Mind

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