When it comes to baby monitors, parents want to know that their little ones are safe. But a baby breathing monitor adds an extra level of safety and peace of mind for parents.
A baby breathing monitor isn’t necessarily a must-have item in your baby registry but many parents agree that having a good baby monitor does make baby caring a tad easier, especially in the first year.
In this article, we took a good look at 12 different baby monitors to help you find the best one for detecting breathing irregularities in your child. Our top choice for the best overall is the Nanit Complete Monitor System.
As a quick preview, here are our 5 top picks for breathing baby:
- Best Overall: Nanit Complete Monitor System
- Best Affordable: Levana Oma Sense
- Best Long Range: Snuza Hero SE
- Best Travel Monitor: MonBaby Baby Monitor
- Best Vitals Monitor: Owlet Smart Sock 3
Best Baby Breathing Monitors That Made It Into Our List
Understanding the Differences Between A Breathing Monitor, Baby Movement Monitor, Oxygen Monitor & Home Apnea Monitor
What is a baby breathing monitor? Baby breathing monitors are baby monitors that detect breathing while your baby is sleeping. Their detection mechanism is a sensor placed either under the mattress, clipped onto the baby’s clothing, or directly on the baby’s skin as an article of clothing like a sock.
Breathing monitors either use respiratory motion detection or pulse oximetry. Pulse oximeters are those that use pulse oximetry, a monitoring technology that measures oxygen levels by passing light through baby’s bloodstream.
Some breathing monitors use baby’s breathing movements as a method to calculate breathing rate. A baby oxygen monitor is another term variation to describe a breathing monitor that can measure oxygen saturation.
Despite the ability to detect respiration, breathing monitors aren’t exactly a home apnea monitor or cardiorespiratory monitor, since most breathing monitors sold commercially are not medically certified nor are they precisely accurate.
The many terms of a breathing monitor often cause quite a confusion for parents, especially first-time moms and dads. One common misconception is that, many use the term baby movement monitors and baby breathing monitors synonymously.
However, there is a slight distinction that sets a breathing monitor apart from a movement monitor. A breathing monitor usually focuses on breathing aspects of tracking such as breathing rate, oxygen levels and heart rates, and may not necessarily alert you to body movements or lack thereof, unlike baby movement monitors.
Usually, a baby movement monitor comes with a video monitor to let you watch your baby’s every move while they sleep, in hopes of giving you the peace of mind you need to likewise get a good night’s rest or complete household tasks during naptime. Many parents consider this as a valuable option that allows them to check on their baby’s status.
A movement monitor may be a breathing monitor, but a breathing monitor may not be a movement monitor. To bridge the differences, many baby monitor companies start combining both to create a comprehensive breathing and movement monitor system, albeit at a higher cost.
Keep in mind, however, that a breathing monitor or tool doesn’t replace the need for safe infant sleep habits. Experts recommend specific parameters for your baby’s sleep area; check out the below video for more information on safe sleep.
We provide you with a list of the best baby breathing monitors on the market. Some of the monitors are better newborn breathing monitor options, while others are great breathing monitors for babies as they grow into toddlers.
The Sense-U Baby Monitor is a wireless smart monitor. Your cellular device is the receiver, displaying all sleep and breathing data, video, and audio transmissions from the sensor itself.
The baby monitor breathing sensor is a clip-on device that fits your baby’s diaper or clothing securely. It monitors breathing patterns, alerting you audibly when your baby stops breathing or breathes too quickly.
Furthermore, this sensor notifies you if your baby rolls over on their side or stomach and displays body temperature and room temperature.
- Detects multiple breathing abnormalities
- Cold/overheat alerts
- Companion app for easy access
- Great customer service
- Fully refundable for 30 days
- Technical difficulties with connectivity and range
- Occasional false alarms
- KNOW YOUR BABY'S BREATHING IS OKAY: Integrated with high-performance sensor chipset, the 2021 new model of the Sense-U baby monitor accurately monitors your baby's breathing while they sleep, and notifies you with audible alarm for no breathing movement from your smartphone.
- MEASURE BODY TEMPERATURE FOR OVERHEATING & COLD ALERTS: Monitor your baby's body temperature with built-in thermometer, and notify you when outside of preset zones.
- ALERTS WHEN BABY ROLLS OVER TO SLEEP ON STOMACH: It monitors your baby's sleeping position and notifies you when your baby rolls over onto their stomach.
The Levana Oma Sense monitor is an infant breathing monitor or breathing monitor for infants from zero to six months of age. It does not use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections, nor does it use radio frequencies for data transmission. This is a clip-on sensor that must be connected directly over the baby’s abdomen.
A nice additional feature that the Oma Sense has is a vibration response to wake your baby up if your baby does not breathe for over 10 seconds. The receiver has a blue light that flashes when the baby breathes normally and sounds an alarm after 15 seconds of your baby not breathing.
You can learn more about this device from our Levana baby monitor review.
- Affordable monitor for all budgets
- Zero skin contact
- Vibration feature to wake babies in breathing distress
- Completely cordless
- Lightweight for easy portability
- Not compatible with motion sleep devices like swings
- Only works for newborns who cannot yet roll over
- No video or audio monitoring
- ULTIMATE PEACE OF MIND - Featuring patented Wakeup Technology to continually monitor abdominal breathing and alert parents if no movement is detected, the Oma Sense baby alert system offers priceless peace of mind. Because we know being a parent can be hard enough.
- GENTLY STIMULATES BABY - If the baby sleep monitor detects no breathing movement for 15 seconds, a randomized series of vibrations initiates to gently rouse your little one and stimulate normal breathing movement to resume.
- AUDIBLY ALERTS CAREGIVERS - If breathing movement is not re-established 5 seconds after the initial alert, the baby breathing movement monitor will initiate an audible emergency alarm to alert parents and caregivers so that they can act and respond quickly.
#3 Wellue Baby Oxygen Monitor
The Wellue Baby is an oxygen monitor, a movement monitor, and a heart monitor that fits directly onto the baby’s leg or arm with adjustable velcro straps. Heart rate and oxygen information transmit directly to your phone via Bluetooth.
Your smartphone acts as the receiver, allowing you to monitor all vitals in real-time, alarms you if the device falls off or oxygen levels fall, and creates reports through a free app included in the package.
- Accurate vitals readings
- Built-in memory (no app needed)
- Adjustable alarm
- Free app
- Free PC software
- No audio or video
- Attachment isn’t very secure
- KNOW YOUR BABY’S BREATHING PATTERNS ARE CONSISTENT: Pause in breathing movement will be detected by a sensitive smart breathing sensor and an alarm will be sent to your smartphone.
- IMMEDIATELY KNOW IF BABY ROLLS ONTO THEIR TUMMY: A smart and proactive alternative to you having to check if your baby rolled over onto their stomach while sleeping.
- NO SKIN CONTACT NECESSARY. Only snap-on wearable monitor in baby monitor category.
The MonBaby baby monitor is a breathing and movement monitor with a patented snap-on broach that fits on baby clothes very securely and must be placed in the center of the baby’s chest. Data such as breathing patterns and body movement transmits via Low Energy Bluetooth to your smartphone.
You can be sure that this is a baby monitor that tells you if the baby stops breathing. An alarm sounds on your phone if the baby rolls over, breathing stops, or breathing is irregular, making the MonBaby an excellent baby monitor that checks breathing.
The MonBaby has a real-time tracker that purportedly tracks movement and breathing multiple times per second. With its lightweight design, it serves as a great travel baby monitor you can bring along for added peace of mind.
- Waterproof, standing up to baby spit-ups and spills
- Incredibly lightweight for easy travel
- Alerts when baby moves onto their stomach
- Very affordable
- Snap-on design for infant safety and parent ease of use
- Tends to drain batteries fast
- Poor Bluetooth connectivity
- Tracks Baby’s oxygen & heart rate - View readings in real-time with Owlet App.
- Tells you when Baby needs you - Base Station and Owlet app notify you when readings leave “safe” zones.
- Fits babies 0 to 18 months -Fabric socks fit 5 lbs. to 30 lbs., for both left and right feet.
The Owlet Smart Sock 3 is a baby vitals monitor that tracks and records heart rate, oxygen levels, and sleep quality. The monitor is a sock that can be easily secured to your baby’s foot and has adjustable sizing to fit babies from 0-18 months.
It has a wireless, fast-charging station that can charge 8 hours in 20 minutes and 16 hours in 90 minutes. An alarm sounds for low oxygen and irregular heartbeat, and all data transmits directly to your smartphone through the Owlet app.
This is the best baby heart rate monitor on our list. We also covered a detailed review on the Owlet monitor, which you can go through prior to purchase.
- Ranked as #1 Bestseller for smart baby monitors
- Charge station included with incredibly fast charging times
- Adjustable socks to grow with your baby
- Creates a sleep report to measure sleep quality
- Very accurate pulse-oximetry technology
- Not all babies will keep the sock on
- A lot of false alarms
- The monitor can detect movement, but would not send an alert for movement
- KNOW YOUR BABY IS OK ALL THE TIME: Continually track your baby's oxygen level, heart rate and movement. When your baby's oxygen level is low, or the device falls off, audio alarm will alert you on device/mobile APP. Alarm on device and mobile APP can be turned on/off separately. Alarm volume & threshold is adjustable to fit you best. Not for sports.
- SOFT & ADJUSTABLE BAND: Gentle & breathable fabric provides a comfortable wearing experience like a sock. Two sizes of soft wraps for different age stages, with velcro to secure precisely.
- FREE APP FOR IOS & ANDROID: The free app allows you to monitor your baby's real-time oxygen saturation, heart rate and body movements during sleep and daily life. Review history records & receive alarm instantly.
The Snuza Hero baby movement monitor is a clip-on device that secures to the baby’s diaper and effectively monitors abdominal movement to track breathing. It has a stimulating vibration feature to rouse the baby if they stop breathing for longer than 15 seconds.
Multiple alarms will either light up or sound on the receiver, depending on the severity. A light alarm will activate if there is little movement or it tracks eight breaths or less per minute, and a loud alarm will sound if there is no movement after 20 seconds or after three vibration stimulations to the baby.
Not sure to go for the Owlet or the Snuza monitor? Consider checking our Owlet vs Snuza review if you are undecided between both models.
- Lightweight for easy travel
- Long range
- Vibration feature to wake baby
- Multiple alert system
- Year-long warranty
- Not as full-featured as comparable models
- Many false alarms
Mimo Smart baby breathing and movement monitor comes with three baby pajamas that have an attached monitor that transmits data via Low Energy Bluetooth to your phone. You can still access information via Wi-Fi with their app from anywhere where it will alarm or give you update snapshots.
This monitor shows body position, skin temperature, breathing patterns and alerts you when they wake up. You can learn more about it in our Mimo monitor review.
- User-friendly app
- Nightly snapshots
- Body position, breathing, and temperature sensor
- Three pajama outfits
- Tracks sleep progression
- Sizes run a bit small
- A lot of technical problems reported
- Very expensive product
- REAL-TIME BREATHING - See your baby's breathing while they'e sleeping, right on your phone, no matter where you are. Mimo's proprietary technology picks up even the most subtle rise and fall of your baby's chest, allowing you to know how she's breathing, whether you're in the next room, or across the world.
- ALERTS YOU OF CHANGES IN YOUR BABY'S BREATHING AND ACTIVITY - Get customizable breathing, body position, temperature, and wake//sleep alerts, right to your phone, so you know what's happening in the nursery.
- ACCESS FROM ANYWHERE - Whether you're in the next room, at the office, or out to dinner, see your baby's activity, sleep history, and sleep activity, at any moment, all from the technology in your pocket.
The Miku has the most features of all baby monitors on our list. This monitor is an audio, video, movement, breathing, and temperature smart monitor with crypto security and a subscription-free app for all of your tracking and data updates.
Videos and snapshot photos tout HD quality, the monitor mounts to the wall above the crib for zero contact monitoring, and there are options for sleep sounds and lullaby music. For a detailed look at this monitor, check our Miku baby monitor review.
- HAS and FSA approved
- Wide variety of features
- Two-way audio for talking to the baby
- Night Vision
- No batteries required
- Most expensive product on our list
- Notifications arrive late to your phone
- NEW PRODUCT AVAILABLE: Search Miku Pro on Amazon.
- TRACK BREATHING & SLEEP WITH NO WIRES OR WEARABLES: Miku Smart Baby Monitor works with your smartphone to track breathing, movement, sleep patterns and nursery conditions such as temperature and humidity. Note: Wi-Fi connectivity is subject to individual routers.
- HD VIDEO & SOUND: Share and download unlimited HD video and photos from your smartphone. Listen to custom sleep sounds and lullabies on Miku’s dual Ole Wolff speakers.
#9 Nanit Complete Monitor System with Breathing Motion
The Nanit Complete Monitor System lives up to its name as one of the most complete packages of features, devices, and accessories on our list. This breathing movement monitor is sensor-free, using a blanket-like wrap with a pattern that the advanced camera system reads and translates into various data points on breathing and sleeping patterns.
This is a smart device, transmitting audio, video, and sleep-tracking documentation directly to your cellular device. Features include night vision cameras, temperature and humidity detection, sleep tracking and personalized sleep training tips, and white noise or soothing noises to lull the baby to sleep.
There’s even a feature to create photographs from still shots of recorded sleep videos that you can save and share with friends and family. Furthermore, the camera comes with a permanent wall mount for your home, plus a multi-stand travel accessory for easy transportability.
- Year-long warranty
- HAS and FSA approved, which cuts costs
- Comes with breathing band and safe swaddle
- HD camera and two-way audio
- Sleep and breath tracker visuals
- App requires a paid subscription after free trial
- Does NOT alert you if your baby stops breathing
- Breathing wear sold separately
- THE COMPLETE SYSTEM: Includes the Nanit Plus Camera, Breathing Wear Starter Pack, and Multi-Stand. Have everything you need to see & hear your baby, plus track their sleep and breathing motion, giving you complete peace of mind. Access your crystal clear HD livestream of your baby, day or night from anywhere on your iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, or Echo Show device. This product is HSA/FSA eligible. Includes 1 year limited manufacturer's warranty.
- STAY CONNECTED: Hear or speak to your baby with two-way audio and background audio even when you're in other apps or your screen is turned off. Get real-time sound and motion notifications with adjustable sensitivity. Plus, see the temperature and humidity of the nursery. Invite the whole parenting team to access Nanit, and with user permissions, you can control exactly what each user can see and do. 256-bit encryption keeps data safe, and two-factor verification keeps your account secure.
- SENSOR-FREE BREATHING MOTION MONITORING: With the included Breathing Wear, you can track your baby's breaths per minute without any electronics, wires, or batteries touching them. Nanit tracks the unique pattern on Breathing Wear to detect your baby's breathing motion in real-time and send you alerts if they need you.
Best Movement Monitors As Breathing Monitors
These are the popular movement monitors that are used to track breathing micro-movements – they serve as great alternatives to parents who do not require oxygen level and heart rate detections.
The Angelcare 3-in-1 monitor touts a multifunctional movement, video, and audio monitor for the price of one monitor. This baby monitor for breathing senses your baby’s breathing movements through a pad-sensor that you place under your baby’s mattress for contact-free monitoring. The receiver will sound an alarm if the sensor detects no breathing movement for 20 seconds.
You can mount the camera on the wall or place it on a dresser or table across from the crib. The receiver is a small video screen with split-screen monitoring capacity if you have twins in two cribs. You can also disable movement detection and use simple video and audio monitoring when your baby grows from infancy to a more autonomous toddler stage.
Lastly, this Angelcare monitor has a very low energy emission, turning on only when data needs to be transmitted. It also consumes a small amount of energy when in use.
- User-friendly receiver and monitor
- No unnecessary alarms or flashy blinking lights
- Night-vision camera
- Wireless sensor
- Two-way audio to talk to your baby
- Camera zoom isn’t foolproof
- Low sound quality and visibility
- Wireless Baby Movement Sensor Pad with 4 adjustable sensitivity levels
- After 15 seconds of no recognized movement, the monitor will sound a preliminary beep to rouse your baby
- An alarm will sound after 20 seconds if no movement is detected.Clean only with a dry cloth
The Nanny Baby movement monitor is an imported monitor from Europe and is thus used more pervasively. It is strictly a movement monitor that uses a mat sensor placed under the mattress, connecting via wire to a simple three-light alarm: one light for normal breathing, one light for abnormal or absence of breathing, and one light for battery function. The receiver connects to the crib.
To ensure that the wire does not wrap around the baby’s neck or extremities, many wrap the wire around the crib’s columns or legs. If the baby does not move for more than 20 seconds, the alarm rings loudly and blinks.
- EU Certified Medical device
- Used in hospitals as well as homes
- Rechargeable battery
- Extremely sensitive sensors
- Very loud alarm system
- Sensor pad is too small for a lot of crib mattress sizes
- Requires a wired connection
- NANNY is a baby breath monitor that keeps an eye on the baby when its mommy sleeps.
- NANNY continuously checks the baby´s breathing and movements to give an early warning in case of a possible danger.
- NANNY triggers a loud acoustic and visual alarm
#12 Angelcare 3-in-1 AC527 Baby Monitor
An upgrade from the Angelcare AC517 monitor, the Angelcare AC527 baby monitor shares all of the functions that the AC327 has and includes room temperature monitoring and a more modernized, larger-screened receiver. This video, audio, and movement monitor seems to be an updated version with newer technology but with the same function.
- Simple design, straightforward usability
- Alarm sounds after 20 seconds of no movement
- Low energy emissions, low energy consumption
- Option to mount camera on wall or place camera on furniture
- Large touch screen
- False alarms occur often
- Double video feature requires additional purchase
- Wireless Baby Movement Sensor Pad with 4 adjustable sensitivity levels
- After 15 seconds of no recognized movement, the monitor will sound a preliminary beep to rouse your baby
- An alarm will sound after 20 seconds if no movement is detected
What to Look for in a Breathing Monitor?
There are quite a few products on the market for baby sleep monitors, so it is vital to have specific criteria in mind when shopping for one. Here, we outline some crucial considerations for the best features to look for in a breathing monitor for babies.
While breathing monitors are not necessarily crucial for healthy babies, they are vital for preemies and babies diagnosed with sleeping or health conditions. Many of these baby monitors offer additional features that monitor room and body temperature, in addition to heart rate, oxygen levels and breathing movement sensors.
While features like rollover movement tracking is nice to have, you should ensure your best breathing monitor comes with an alert for breathing issues, such as abnormal oxygen and heart levels.
Baby monitors differ widely in design, and the format they utilize is crucial to their efficacy. Some baby monitors are sensor pads placed under the baby’s mattress to detect breathing movement, while others are wearable devices like a sock.
Some monitors use a clip-on method where the device is attached to a baby’s diaper or pajamas. Of course, many designs may include a combination of video and vital sensors in their designs.
Range has a large effect on the ease with which you can monitor your baby’s sleeping patterns. While you shop, you will see range as a category in the product feature bullet points.
The distance between you and your sleeping baby may not be much if you live in a small house or don’t plan on leaving the house when your baby sleeps. However, if you want the flexibility to leave the house and monitor your baby remotely, a range of 400 ft may not be enough.
Range also has to do with the method of transmission. Radio transmission can allow for up to 1000 ft. in range. Wi-Fi transmission has an unlimited range as long as you are connected, although many report more technical difficulties with modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth frequencies.
Monitors generally come with two devices: a monitor used on or near the baby and a receiver for parents to see incoming data, video, and audio. Receivers should be lightweight or even incorporated into your cellular device for optimal portability.
Devices transmit and sensor movement data through various conduits. Some transfer data through wires and cables, while others use wireless sensors. Monitors transmit data to receivers through radio waves, Bluetooth, and a baby monitor app opened with Wi-Fi or cellular data.
Some monitors have additional features such as vibrations and noises to wake your baby up if they don’t breathe within a certain time frame (usually 10-15 seconds). This feature may not be necessary for healthy babies, but it can be life-saving measures for preemies and babies with sleep or other health conditions.
Other features to look for are low battery indicators, night vision, night light, zooming mechanisms for video, and lullaby music.
Still mulling over a baby monitor decision? Perhaps this quick list of frequently asked questions will provide the crucial information you need to invest in one.
Baby monitors do not prevent SIDS, but they help notify parents of breathing complications and help avoid body positioning that correlates with a higher risk for SIDS. The best baby monitor for SIDS is one that is both sensitive and easy to use.
Medical research and industry specialists proclaim that breathing monitors are not medical devices and should not be used or thought of as such. These devices give you peace of mind and allow you to monitor your baby from great distances, giving you more freedom to work or play outside of your home.
They can also alert you to emergencies that you might not otherwise hear. For these reasons, they may not be necessary, but they may be worth it depending on your lifestyle.
- What are the benefits of a baby breathing monitor?
A baby breathing monitor’s main benefit is its role in safeguarding against dangerous breathing patterns and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS for short. SIDS deaths generally occur during sleep in babies under one year old.
While there is no known cause or cure for SIDS, experts correlate these unanticipated deaths with breathing abnormalities or brain defects that inhibit breathing and arousal.
A baby breathing monitor alerts you when a baby’s breathing stops unexpectedly or assumes an a-rhythmic breathing pattern. Some of them will also alert you if your baby rolls over since the most important preventative measure for parents to take is to make sure babies sleep on their backs when it comes to safe sleep.
This is really up to you. You can stop using a baby monitor after 6-8 months when your baby is loud enough to alert you without an audio aid.
You can stop after a year, which is the most at-risk time frame for SIDS. You can monitor your baby out of infancy and into toddler years as well if you like.
It was a difficult decision, but our top pick for the best baby breathing monitor is the Nanit Complete Monitor System.
The Nanit has the highest rating among the reviews over multiple selling sites. It has so many features that it serves as a breathing monitor and a vitals monitor, a video monitor, an audio monitor, a sleep machine, and a sleep trainer.
The Nanit has a very sturdy yet non-intrusive sensor device that is a permanent installation in the baby’s room with a travel installment option to take the system with you wherever you go. The unique sleep training, tracking, and snapshot features put the Nanit on a pedestal above the other monitors, and you can mitigate its high price through your insurance plan.
All in all, the Nanit Complete Monitor System is well worth its price as a long-lasting, multi-faceted monitor that bestows peace of mind and guides you through the journey to healthy sleeping for baby and parents alike.
What do you think about the breathing monitors in the list? Let us know in the comments.
Last update on 2021-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API