Friday Fave: Halo Snuza

October 21, 2011 at 9:25 am 1 comment

My son spent 128 days in the NICU and only started breathing without supplemental oxygen a week before discharge. When he came home he was hooked to an Apnea monitor whenever he slept or was in his car seat. That’s a bit abnormal even for a preemie because Kevin was four weeks past his due date by his discharge date (the doctors called this 44 weeks – the normal 40 gestational weeks + the 4 weeks since his due date). Typically babies are off all monitors by the 44 week point but his neonatologist wasn’t comfortable discharging Kevin without the monitor.

We adapted pretty quickly to the monitor but the thought of transitioning him to a machine free, normal existence gave us pause – particularly me. I think it’s fairly common for parents to worry about SIDS and suffocation but I’d actually seen my baby crash on more than one occasion so I had an extra dose of nerves.

I’d heard good reviews about the Angelcare monitors and was all set to buy one until we went to the NICU reunion in late May. We met a number of other NICU parents there and they all recommended the Snuza monitor. I also got glowing recommendations for the Snuza from a preemie mom message board I frequent. When I compared the Angelcare to the Snuza the Snuza simply fit our needs better.

The Angelcare has a sensor pad that goes under the mattress and picks up the baby’s movement. It also has a regular sound (and video depending on the model) monitor – just like a normal baby monitor. The sensor pad will sound an alarm if no movement is detected in 20 seconds.

The Snuza works in a fairly similar fashion but the key difference is that the Snuza doesn’t have a sensor pad (or the sound/video monitors). Instead it clips onto the baby’s diaper. This was the deciding factor for me. Kevin is still not sleeping in his crib. He just started sleeping on a flat surface in September – until then he slept mostly in a Rock N Play. But he was also taking naps at my mom’s every day – and of course we’ve taken him traveling a number of times this summer – even if it’s just an overnight at grandmom’s house.

Rather than lugging around the Angelcare sensor pad and monitors and then worrying about the setup (from what I’ve read it does take some doing to get the pad positioned correctly for the baby), I just put the Snuza monitor into the diaper bag and clip it on wherever Kevin sleeps. The one disclaimer is that it doesn’t work in moving equipment – so if he’s sleeping in the swing and the swing is on, forget about the monitor. Similarly, it doesn’t work in the car as it picks up the vibrations from the road.

There are two Snuza models – the Go and the Halo. We have the Halo as it vibrates if no movement is detected at 15 seconds and then alarms if there is still no movement by 20 seconds. I wanted the vibrating function to give Kevin a chance to correct himself – and frankly I thought it might reduce the number of alarms.

Kevin’s Halo actually alarmed last night. It happens occasionally, maybe once a week. So far we haven’t had to do any rescue breaths, he seems to be simply a very shallow breather at times. I wouldn’t call them false alarms though and I’d rather be woken up to reset the alarm and reposition him every night then to miss a true apnea episode.


Entry filed under: Friday Faves, Gadgets and Gear, Prematurity. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Advanced Maternal Age Bye Bye Baby

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