By Raising Children Network
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Newborn baby sleeping credit Sucsy
There are different kinds of baby monitors, including baby breathing monitors or apnoea monitors.

About baby monitors

Baby monitors let you know if your baby is awake and making noise, even when you’re not in the room.

There are different kinds of baby monitors – for example, baby breathing monitors or apnoea monitors.

Baby breathing monitors

Baby breathing monitors have an alarm that is designed to go off if your child stops breathing.

But babies don’t breathe in the same regular rhythm as older children and adults. Sometimes babies have pauses in their breathing. These pauses are normal, but they can cause the alarm on baby breathing monitors to sound.

These false alarms can be very stressful for parents who think that their baby has stopped breathing. When false alarms happen during the night it can be hard to rest.

There’s no evidence that baby breathing (or apnoea) monitors protect babies from sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) a term which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents. 

Using baby breathing monitors

Your doctor might recommend a baby breathing monitor if your baby was born prematurely or has breathing problems. Follow your doctor’s directions on what to do if the alarm goes off and who to call in an emergency.

You might choose to have a breathing monitor for your baby even if it hasn’t been recommended by a health professional. Some parents find having a breathing monitor for their baby increases their stress, but other parents find it puts their minds at ease.

If you need help deciding whether to get a baby breathing monitor, speak to your child and family health nurse, GP or paediatrician.

If you have a baby breathing monitor, or you plan to get one, make sure you know who to call and what to do if the alarm goes off. Keep the information where you can find it and share it with anyone who looks after your baby.

  • Last updated or reviewed 09-04-2014
  • Acknowledgements RCN thanks SIDS and Kids Australia for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.