Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sleep Safety with Owlet

My pregnancy with Bennett brought out so many different and mixed emotions. While a majority of them were of extreme happiness and joy, there were definitely moments of guilt, worry and major anxiety. I often tell people that Evanna “threw us off the deep end into parenthood” and opened up our eyes to a world where things can happen beyond our control, and we as parents have to arm ourselves with tools and knowledge to negate the everyday risks as best we can.
Not only did the birth of our oldest, Evanna, make us more aware of certain situations, but also my husband’s career as a Paramedic made us extra sensitive to certain dangers. While he keeps a majority of the details to himself (obviously due to patient confidentiality), I’m aware of the fact that he has been on a few pediatric calls where if a few safety measures were implemented, the outcome would have been drastically different.

**In her quest to advocate for crib safety, I have been given explicit permission from Jordan to share her story about her son Sloan within this post, how his death affected me as a mother myself, and further prove why this topic is so incredibly important to talk about. If you’re interested, I’ve linked Jordan’s blog, Instagram, and a few articles that were written and circulated when her story went viral last Summer.

In the days following her son’s death, Jordan DeRosier BRAVELY (like beyond brave) revealed the details surrounding Sloan’s death and explained that it was due to an unsafe sleep environment in an effort to warn other parents to learn from her heartbreaking mistake. I seriously bawled my eyes out and was completely devastated on her behalf. However, I was admired by her incredible strength to be so frank, honest, and open about the details that might paint her in a bad light – even if it meant that it could potentially save just one child from the same tragedy. In the days and weeks following these events (and as she continued to post about her grief and pain as it unfolded), I held my pregnant belly tight, and felt my heart tighten in anxiety for the same potential harm that could befall my own child.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has established safe sleep guidelines that parents should follow to help keep their baby safe when sleeping. One of these guidelines includes following the ABCs of safe sleep: Alone, on their back, in their crib — no bumpers, pillows, sleep positioners or blankets. After reading these guidelines, I immediately began to strategize ways I could ensure the safety of my newborn, and that’s when I stumbled upon Owlet Baby Care and their Smart Sock Baby Monitor. As a “heart/trach/vent mom”, I value the capability to track my healthy baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while they’re sleeping as it brings me peace of mind.

* Owlet does not claim to prevent or eliminate SIDS due to the cause of SIDS being unknown. However, Owlet is designed to notify you if your baby's heart rate and oxygen levels go outside the preset range and many parents find additional peace of mind using the device.

You see, we somewhat have the unique luxury (at least that’s the way I currently see it) of homecare nurses that watch and physically monitor Evanna due to her tracheostomy throughout the night while we sleep, and I wanted something that had similar capabilities (obviously it’s not the same) that would notify us if Bennett’s oxygen saturations and/or heart rate were to fall out of the preset ranges and give us that peace of mind. We’ve been using the Owlet for several months now (as I truly wanted to give it a thorough trial before I give my honest review), and Nick and I both truly think it’s a great product. You definitely have to get into the habit of putting it on every night, followed by making sure it’s plugged in and gets charged during the day, but it’s now become apart of our routine and we just do it out of habit.

A few things to keep in mind, and things we’ve learned since using the Owlet over the past few months…
- due to the poor WIFI strength in our bedroom (where Bennett currently sleeps in a bassinet), we actually weren’t able to use the Owlet App for the first week or so after Bennett was born. The Owlet works on Bluetooth technology, so while the Owlet base and sock still works without WIFI, we weren’t able to view its readings on our phones until we purchased a WIFI booster for our home.
- The Owlet Smart Sock is intended to provide peace of mind. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. It is not a medical device and is not intended for use as a medical device or to replace a medical device.
- The Owlet uses low 4.0 Bluetooth energy so there are not any wires. The Owlet is meant to ONLY work while the baby is sleeping to provide you peace of mind during the night.
- The Owlet is a product meant to be used from newborn up to 18 months of age.

A few additional notes…
- we do in fact have a medical grade SPO2 monitor that we have on loan to us from our cardiologist to monitor Evanna and “spot check” her throughout the day and night. What I love about the Owlet, is that it’s completely wireless and we don’t have to deal with annoying cords and wires (which we’re all too familiar with…).
- a huge problem with traditional SPO2 monitors that are used in hospital, is that the LED sensor sits directly on the skin, and its higher intensity can cause little burns if not rotated every 12 hours (which has happened to Evanna). What I love about the Owlet, is they use a less intense LED sensor, and it doesn’t sit directly on the skin so we don’t have to worry about/keep track of which foot we put the Owlet sock on each night, and just place it on whichever foot is most convenient to us while getting Bennett ready for bed.
- Make sure you also consider the most important elements of sleep safety, which is ALONE, on their BACK, and in their CRIB – clear of clutter such as bumpers, pillows, blankets, stuffies, etc.
- Owlet recently submitted their 510(k) for FDA clearance to create a medical version of the monitor, which would be more robust and could be used in clinical settings and for diagnostic purposes. However, they don't have a timeframe to share yet on when that would be available. This page on their website has more information about clinical efforts, research and more.

Overall, I highly recommend the Owlet and truly believe it should be at the top of every baby registry. The benefits are just too great, and hope that like other baby products -- this starts to become a staple in every home with a newborn.

Disclaimer: The Owlet was gifted in exchange for my honest review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. While I often call myself and am recognized as a “heart/trach/medical mom”, please know that I’m only an “expert when it comes to Evanna” (and know her complete medical history), and that I’m constantly consulting + seeking the proper advice of our large medical team of pediatric specialists, and urge you to always speak to your care provider with any and all concerns about your child’s health and well-being.

xo The Irvine Family


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