Saturday, January 18, 2014

Monitoring sleep, when is it too much?

We have bought or been gifted approximately ten different baby monitors in the eight or so years that we've had children. We had the old-school sound only ones that had to be plugged in wherever you are. We've had large video ones that picked up every interference in the world. And, we currently have hand-held video monitors strategically placed in the girls' rooms. The one in Baby Z (19 months) and Keddy-Bear's (5) room is video only as the sound no longer works. The one in Little Miss M's (8) room is crystal clear with decent sound on it. Realistically the love-seat positioned right next to her bed with a groove that fits my sleeping self perfectly has become our best monitoring device. The question becomes, when are these monitors too much? When do we put them away or can we ever put them away? Is there something better out there?

My sister and her husband recently purchased Fitbits to track their steps, exercise and sleep patterns. It's an amazing little device that looks like a rubber-band bracelet and sends all the information to her smartphone without any wires being connected. I wonder how this would work for my eight year old?

We currently have the Summer Infant video monitor. Just browsing through the website, I am amazed by how many new technologies are available. This monitor has been great, because you can really see the child, and the night vision is really clear. The monitor does not hold up to toddler versus toilet bowl however.

Little Miss M has seizures and sleep apnea, among other issues. So, sleep is a scary time for us. She needs sleep in order to have energy to make it through day. We need sleep in order to make it through the days of caring for the children, house, life and work. Here in lies part of my problem. I worry about her at night, my anxiety takes over and then I am rendered an insomniac, unless I am able to keep tabs on her. The Danny Did Foundation put together a comprehensive list of more advanced sleep monitoring technologies. Their mission is to stop SUDEP (sudden unexplained Death in epilepsy) after they lost their young son Danny to this fate. Their list includes Emfit Monitors, Smart Watches and even Seizure Alert Dogs.

I came across this article from Huffington Post today. It details a Mimo Baby Monitoring Onesie. This wearable device monitors a baby's breathing, position and basic vitals (respiration and temperature) and transmits it to a smartphone. It's not a huge leap to think they could make different sizes for bigger kids or even adults.

My question remains the same however. How much monitoring is too much? I have asked for a simple Pulse Oximeter from about three different doctors recently. They've all told me the same thing -- that I will get more false alarms then I will true readings. I understand that, but there is a certain level of comfort I feel knowing her pulse is within normal limits and her oxygen saturation numbers are within normal limits. It's a discussion we continue to have as Little Miss M's breathing, sleep and overall wellness seem to deteriorate lately. I approach the monitoring completely from a parent's perspective. I am trying to keep her alive through the night. The threat of losing her in her sleep is a real thing, and it keeps me on my toes, needing to watch her.

But, where and when does privacy come in? At 8 years old, most children do not need to be watched constantly. They do not need extra monitoring. I've gotten some very strange looks when people hear we still have a monitor in her bedroom. I know we're doing what we need to do, but it somehow feels like we are infringing on her basic rights at the same time. Do you understand?

If you have any monitoring suggestions or you've successfully used something, please add it to the comments section so we can update our list and investigate further!


Amanda has a love/hate relationship with sleep, but still loves her pillow.

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