First Time Parents - Are SIDS Alarms Necessary?

Updated on February 02, 2010
A.S. asks from Fort Worth, TX
28 answers

We are new parents to a healthy, baby boy, 9 days old now. The OB nurses have mentioned "SIDS" so often that my husband and I are completely freaked out. I have looked up SIDS monitors (Angel Care) and read the reviews. They vary from great, a life saver, to don't bother. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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answers from Dallas on

I LOVE mine. I used it with my first and it only went off twice ever and both times he was crammed in the corner in a really weird position. With my second son it hasn't gone off at all and he is 9 months old now. For me I know it can't prevent SIDS but to me it's a peace of mind knowing if it can't detect breathing for 20 seconds it goes off. The receiver part with it is also really good so no need to buy two baby monitors.



answers from Dallas on

Nothing is a 100%-effective preventative to anything, remember that. But if it offers you a piece of mind then it's worth it, especially if you baby is a tummy sleeper.
There is a whole industry of baby products that essentially feeds and profits on nothing more than the fear of parents, and their marketing helps feed and stoke that fear. But, if a few bucks here or there helps you soundly sleep then it's money well spent.



answers from Dallas on

Recent research shows that another reduction factor for SIDS is having babies sleep in a room with circulating air - that could be a bassinet in the parents' room where the baby can hear the parents breathing OR a ceiling fan circulating air.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Life saver for me. Of course they are not necessary but the peace of mind that it brought me was invaluable. For some reason, it would give false alarms when she got older, but none while she was an infant. I actually used it for a long time - probably turned the alarm off around 18 months but would still use it on days that she went swimming or if she took a good fall or something like that. I loved mine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You should be concerned with this.My children are 16 and 19 yrs now. When my first son was born I thought about SIDS. Computers werent accessable at the time and SIDS was considered a disorder so to speak. Well here is and was my theory of SIDS. You lay a newborn on their tummy to prevent choking ( so they say). This puts the child on their lungs also!!! Correct?? So can a newborn actually push themselves up and down to They have been "floating" inside us not laying flat! I do not recommend they be placed on their back so early either..yes they may "gag" from spit up. Place your baby on different sides (left or right) rotate this for comfort. Side sleeping will allow them to breathe in and out without pressure,also spit up to "roll" out. Small baby pillows are the best..child won't get buried under it. Most are made of polyester stuffing so they support well,but doesn't conform as a cotton would. Use light weight blankets also..layer a few if needed. Last but not least,relax and rest together. There is sooo much hype about things out there, that will stress you to exaustion and your baby will sense that. Enjoy your sweet angel and give thanks for this blessing to God. Good luck to you and yours.



answers from Dallas on

We lost a baby to SIDS. Nothing you do will prevent it if it is going to happen. A monitor will let you know if they have stopped breathing (or are having sleep apnea), but they will not prevent it. We bought a monitor with our 2nd and put an inclined board under the crib mattress, but it was more for our peace of mind than anything else. Please try not to worry too much. Although it was devastating, we have many other blessings to be thankful for now. If you spend too much time worrying about it, then you will not fully enjoy these precious moments. They will be gone before you know it. I have learned a lot about SIDS in the last 6 years. If you want to send me a message, I'll be happy to share more with you.




answers from Amarillo on

Hi there! Congratulations on your new baby. We didn't buy a monitor, just a regular baby monitor, with our first child. When our second was born we did the same things and followed all the advice about SIDS. Well, at 7 weeks she passed away from SIDS in my husband's arms. There was nothing we could have done differently at all. It took a long time for us to recover, and we still cry when we think of her, but we did everything right. We went on to have two more children, who are now 6 and 10 years old. There is no way of knowing which child is suseptible, and we didn't feel a monitor would make us feel better with any of the babies. I would say that if it makes you feel better, go ahead and get one. You have enough to worry about just being a new mommy. Good luck with your baby!

By the way, our baby girl had been for a check up that very day, and she was given a clean bill of health. You just have no way of knowing. I don't want to freak anyone out, but everyone should be aware of SIDS. Even though doing the right thing didn't work for us, it just might for someone else.



answers from Minneapolis on

I waited over 6 years to have by baby due to infertility and was completely freaked out about SIDS. My SIL loaned an Angel Care system to me and we used it the fist couple of nights. The stupid thing went off at least 3 times in those two nights and I was a complete wreck over the worry that my daughter would die. I wasn't getting any sleep as it was with a newborn and then I couldn't sleep due to worry. I melted down after every false alarm and we decided we just couldn't live that way. (We did have the plywood between the mattress and springs.)

I did everything else that is recommended to reduce SIDS (no blankets or animals, no bumpers, firm mattress that fit the bed, pacifier, cooler temps in the room, placing baby on her back, no smoking in the home, etc.). I had to trust that I was doing everything right that I could.

Some babies are more prone to SIDS than others and at this point there is no way of testing. You have to do what you can and make the best choices for YOUR child and YOU.

Enjoy that sweet baby boy every minute of every day. :)



answers from Dallas on

You have gotten lots of good advice from many caring people but I want to weigh in on the subject as well....from experience. Many are right about no risk factors, clean bill of health, etc. do not play a major role in SIDS. I know, because my newborn son almost died from it and he had no risk factors whatsoever. No there isn't anything you can do if it happens, but the monitor is made to ALERT you to SOMETHING HAPPENING so that you can take the proper measures. Our son was on one for the first year ofhis life and without it, I am guaranteed he wouldn't be here. He had alarms nightly....sometimes 50 times a night. 90% of the time the noise from the alarm would be enough to startle him to begin breathing on his own, but there were many times, we had to rub his back vigorously or pick him up to wake him enough to begin breathing. Luckily, our pediatrician put him on caffeine citrate because we found out he slept so soundly his little brain would "forget" to tell his lungs to breathe and eventually he outgrew it. It will definitely put your mind at ease and well worth the money.



answers from Washington DC on

I never had one , my babies slept in the bassinet fairly close to my bed so I could hear them breathe anyway. Does your baby sleep in the same room or seperate? Also while SIDS is a cause for concern to all parents , babies at risk are those who live with smokers , those that are not sleeping on their backs , those that are sharing a bed with a parent. Does any of that apply to your household? Only you can know if you really need one or not , & if you would feel happier knowing that an alarm will sound if baby stops breathing then get one. I babysat for a friend who has one and they do what they say ,I picked the baby up and forgot to switch it off and within a minute it was sounding , but this also happens if baby moves and moves to far away from the you could be panicked quite a few times.



answers from Dallas on

We have a 6 mo old. I never used those SIDS alarms. We had a baby monitor--you can hear any labored breathing if there were any. And actually my son has slept on his stomach exclusively since about 1 wk old. He HATED back sleeping, and as soon as he could turn his head himself, i was fine w/ the stomach sleeping.
It is scary at first--I know. But they get you all freaked out about MANY things when you are new parents--most of it is hype and you just have to do what works for you and your family.



answers from Charlotte on

We were totally freaked out just like you when I was pregnant with our daughter. We ended up buying one (Baby Sense) and it was the best money we ever spent! It gave us peace of mind to know that we would be alerted if anything were to happen. A few times, as she got older she would wiggle off the pads and it would go off, but I did not mind that one bit. On some reviews I read, people were complaining about false alarms, but I would much rather have several false alarms as opposed to a real one. I say get one!



answers from Dallas on

Read this information. I think this will help you put your mind at ease with some sound scientific advice and won't have you all anxious about waiting to hear an alarm go off while you're trying to get some much needed sleep.
God Bless.


answers from Richmond on

Congrats on the new addition! This is kind of grim, but I had my friends baby die of SIDS while staying at my apartment (RIP baby Dylan!)... I was TERRIFIED when my son was born... I would stay awake all night making sure he was still breathing. We got the angelcare deluxe monitor system... what a godsend! I feel soooo much more comfortable now that we've got it. The risk of SIDS is actually very low, but having been through the experience with Dylan... well, you can only imagine. PLEASE always make sure you place baby on his BACK (don't freak out if he rolls over in the middle of the night). Also, it's been found that slightly lowering the temperature at night, and letting babies sleep with a pacifier greatly reducing the chance of SIDS. If your little one has had no instances of sleep apnea, there is really no reason to worry about SIDS... but it's still a very real, VERY thing to think of, especially being a first time parent. Contact me if you'd like more information on SIDS... and yes, to answer your question, I think a monitor is a great investment.



answers from Dallas on

Get one. I used one with both my kids. It's worth the money to get even a little peace of mind!



answers from Tampa on

Is your baby atrisk for SIDS? Your pediatrician should give you a better picture of the risk factors. You say you have a healthy baby. I was nervous with my first baby as well, her crib was in our room, but most of the time she slept between me n my hubby (not highly recommended) But I was major sensitive to her, she was also 100% breast fed, so she ate every 2 hours for the first 6-8 months. Follow the proper guidelines of how to position him and not have junk (blankets, pillows, etc) in his crib.



answers from Dallas on

Loved ours! Without it I know we wouldn't have slept nearly as well. I can't imagine not having it. I say get a movement monitor-- it won't hurt & it may give you some peace & a good nitght's rest!
Congrats on your new love!



answers from Sacramento on

I'd have to say I was paranoid with my first. I just couldn't sleep and the AngelCare Deluxe was a God send for me!! I know a lot of other moms complained about false alarms, but I just followed the instructions and haven't had any problems. However, I should note I wouldn't necessarily use it on a newborn. At that age its pretty common to have normal periods in their sleep where there is cessation of breathing, and I can see in those cases there being many false alarms. But in my mind I would rather be called in and find everything okay then not at all!!

The first few times our monitor went off it was because he moved off the sensor pad. At first I was frustrated, but one night it went off and I went to check on him and he was sideways, face fully planted up against the bumper pad, and not breathing..Talk about scary. I just had to place my hand on him and he resumed breathing. It could have just been a normal pause in his breathing but the fact he was crammed in the corner really scared me. The next night bumper pads changed to the breathable type and we just took the "false" alarms with a grain of salt. I found it especially relieving to me after he had his vaccinations or when he was sick.

In fact, I still use it on my 2yr old at night. It gives me a sense of peace knowing when he climbs out of bed!! And I have a cheaper version for my 4 month old, not as good of a monitor, but does its job with sensing movement!! So I guess it depends on how paranoid you are, and if you are prepared for false alarms when he first starts moving around. The trick is to find the perfect sensitivity level. Once you find it, unless they are really stuck up in the corner, or as I found out, have there hands under their tummy, the false alarms were really minimal compared to my peace of mind!!

My girlfriend was also paranoid about SIDS said she wouldn't be able to handle the false alarms and just chose to sleep holding her baby for 9 months straight. Her husband's a Paramedic and told her if a baby's going to succumb to SIDS there's nothing you can do at that point!! And no monitor is going to prevent that. Whether that's true or not I really don't know, and I don't think we can really ever know!!

Sorry for such a long winded answer, but in the end I would maybe borrow or test one out for a few nights to see if it relieves or produces more anxiety!! You can always return it..Note though I wouldn't substitute this for following all the suggested SIDS preventions measures or supervision, but more of another aid. Outside of the movement sensor though the Deluxe has an awesome noise monitor ...its voice activated I absolutely love that feature!!!

Congratulations on your new little one!! They are so much fun!!



answers from Tulsa on

One of my best friends grandbabies died from SIDS and they didn't smoke in the house, the baby slept on his back, and he was being breasefed. He also slept next to his mom and dad in a bassinet. Sometimes babies don't make it. That morning the mom had just breastfed her little angel and had laid him down beside her on the couch while she used the remote control for her 2 yr. old. The baby stopped breathing and died right there. The autopsy showed the baby had RSV, he had been to the doctor for a check up the day before.

My oldest grandson had been born a few weeks before hers. I totally freaked out. I wouldn't let S out of my sight and stared at his chest for hours. I just couldn't stop the maddness. I eventually got to the point I was exhausted and my daughter just couldn't watch him close enough either, she was at her wit's end. Each of my six grandchildren put us through this, it doesn't go away. We catch ourselves staring at their little chests and then try to make ourselves stop. It's hard.

It's natural for you to be worried after what the doctors and nurses have said to you. If we had had a monitor we would have used it and maybe got some sleep.

I can't tell you whether to get a monitor or not, I never had one so I can't say if they are useless or worthwhile. As I understand it, the monitor goes off if there is a drop in respiration or heart rate. So if there is a problem it would go off. In theory it sounds like it would put your mind to rest.

All my grandchildren did just fine, most children do.



answers from Dallas on

I was terrified my son (now 19 mo. old) would die of SIDS. He had very bad colic and would hardly sleep, but even when he finally did get to sleep, I couldn't relax in fear of him dying in his sleep. To make matters worse, we went through about 3 weeks straight of him not sleeping on his back, NO ONE was benefiting from this, so one day we put him on his tummy and he did so much better, after all, I was just going to watch him anyway.

I did some research on the Angel Care, but that came with receivers and we alrady had a good video monitor with receivers. I ended up buying the "Babysense" Infant Movement Monitor. I think it was around $150 with shipping. I loved it! It is just the alarm and sensor bad, and I tested it several ways to make sure it would go off with no movement. It doesn't have a receiver to take to another room, but if you already have a monitor that has one, you will be able to hear the alarm that way. It worked in his crib and his basinet, the only thing is, if your crib/basinet doesn't have a solid base under the mattress, you will just need to put a thin piece of plywood under it for the pad to go on. (We got it cheap at Home Depot). We only had the alarm go off twice when he was a little older and able to move around more, but even then, I don't know for sure that is was false or if he did stop beathing and the alarm woke him up, either way, I was glad for it. I know there is no guarantee with these alarms, but I had to do something to know I was doing everything I possibly could, and that got me some rest finally. I had people put the guilt trip on me for putting him on his tummy, but what do you do after almost a month of him being miserable?? My guess is those people didn't have that much trouble or their baby liked sleeping on their back. I think they would have sang a different tune in our shoes. Besides, I think just like adults, they already have their personality/sleep preference. Sorry so long winded, but for peace of mind, I definetely recommend.



answers from Dallas on

Have you considered co-sleeping with your baby? You can read more about co-sleeping and the benefits (as well as how to do it safetly) on Dr. Sear's website ( I have slept with my daughter since she was born and it now, at 18 months, I treaure that snuggle time!



answers from Dallas on

First heart goes out to those parents who have posted about their losses. Thank you for sharing and spreading the awareness to others.

We did not buy a special monitor. I probably still don't know enough about it. We felt "if it was going to happen, it would", and by the time you could get to them, it was probably too late. We made sure they were on their backs, or propped up on their sides (I have twins). We swaddled them or they wore sleep sacks so I didn't have any big blankets in with them.

My MIL would sometimes put them on their stomachs, and when I saw that, my heart sank...and I watched them closely.

I agree with the other moms...if it makes you feel better, go for it. I don't know how much they cost, but even if it runs $100-200 for the monitor...its nothing compared to what you will spend on them over all. Definitely read up more to understand what it truly is.



answers from Dallas on

As a first time mom I was extremely worried about SIDS too. I didn't use a monitor with my son until he was 5 months old and was no longer being swaddled. At that time he began only sleeping on his stomach and it really worried me. We got the Angel Care monitor and I will say it has a lot of false alarms. You really have to work with it to get it positioned just right under the mattress. We added a piece of plywood under ours and it really helped -- the Angel Care insert explains how to do this. My son did have one "alarm" that wasn't false. I rushed in there and of course didn't know if he was just sleeping and it was another false alarm. When I felt for his breathing there was nothing! I had to gently shake him to get to feel his breathing again. After that I became a believer and will use it with my next child due in a few months. Sorry to have such a long reply.



answers from Seattle on

I have been using an Angel Care monitor only because a friend gave me one she had used but no longer needed. It's a good monitor, but honestly I'm not sure the alarm is necessary or if it's even effective. I'd like to hear a story of someone who has used this monitor and had their alarm sound for a legitimate reason! If it wasn't given to me, I would not have spent the money on it.

ETA - Thanks for sharing your story Tracy - glad the alarm was useful for you! I added the plywood as well and it significantly reduced false alarms but still had me shooting out of my bed at least once a week. I eventually decided to disconnect that part of the monitor as I didn't feel is was effective in anything other than making for restless sleep!

OP - Here is a guideline from the AAP regarding these types of products in relation to SIDS:

"9. Do not use home monitors as a strategy to reduce the risk of SIDS: Electronic respiratory and cardiac monitors are available to detect cardiorespiratory arrest and may be of value for home monitoring of selected infants who are deemed to have extreme cardiorespiratory instability. However, there is no evidence that use of such home monitors decreases the incidence of SIDS. Furthermore, there is no evidence that infants at increased risk of SIDS can be identified by inhospital respiratory or cardiac monitoring."



answers from New York on

You shouldn't expect your baby to die of SIDS. If you're regularly sleeping your baby on his back, breastfeeding him and not exposing him to cigarette smoke in your household, you're doing the best things to prevent sids. These alarms don't prevent SIDS or make a baby who has stopped breathing start again. Do you have infant CPR training? If not, the alarm will do you no good if by some tiny percentage your baby should be at risk for SIDS. All it would do is tell you baby is not breathing - YOU would have to administer CPR if he indeed was not breathing. While SIDS is devastating to the tiny fraction of a percent of families that it happens to, please don't think that it's normal for babies to stop breathing. It isn't.



answers from Wichita Falls on

Does your child have any of the risk factors that put him in a higher risk catagory for SIDS? Such as respitory problems, premature, underdeveloped lungs, did you smoke or drink while carrying him? If not, then I wouldn't bother with an alarm. I think the nurses just wanted you to be aware of the enviroment around your son. Put him to sleep on his back, eliminate the frilly fluffy bedding and excess toys in the crib. Be aware of items around the crib that might fall in (or be pulled in) such as blind cords and items on the diaper changing table. Being a parent is scary enough, don't psyc yourself out, focus instead on being educated and aware.



answers from Houston on

No they're not necessary but mine certainly helped to give me a little peace of mind. We didn't have false alarms with ours until our children were old enough to roll around and get off of the sensor (at that point it was time to get rid of it anyway). We used it for our first 2 because it simply made us feel a little bit better. Even though we still had the monitor, we just never did hook it up with our 3rd child.

Good luck,



answers from Grand Rapids on

I get so angry at how nurses and Dr.'s scare new parents. When I had my 1st I was so nervous about SIDS. My DD would not sleep at night unless we were holding her. We figured out that the only reason she was sleeping was because she was on her belly laying on us.So after doing my own research we decided that laying her on her belly was right for us. Both my kids have been belly sleepers. I found out that the same time they launched the back to sleep campaign was the same time that they started to perform autopsies on babies. So before that if the cause of death wasn't obvious (like a heart problem) then thye called it SIDS. So the rate of SID's related deaths went down because they now knew it was a heart problem. I also believe that any product that claims it can reduce SIDS is lying. SIDS means SUDDEN INFANT DEATH meaning there is no reason or cause. So how can a product claim it can reduce it if they don't know what caused it?

These are just my opinions and you will have to make decisions for yourself so that you are comfortable. But I just wanted to offer you another view point.

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