The Snoo could soon be covered by health insurance

What parents need to know about the SNOO and the FDA's Breakthrough Device program.

is snoo covered by insurance

The sleep deprivation new parents feel is real and can be devastating. Ideally, society would support parents so that they can get the sleep they need by prioritizing paid leave (for both parents) and postpartum support services—but we don't live in an ideal society.

New parents often feel like they are alone in their battle for sleep and long for a secret weapon. The SNOO Smart Sleeper claims to be that secret weapon and uses "gentle rocking with soothing white noise and snug, safe swaddling" to keep babies (and parents) asleep for longer. It has a cult following, a 4-figure price tag and claims to add one to two hours of sleep time, something many parents would pay anything for.

This week the SNOO made headlines when the company announced it has received "FDA Breakthrough Device designation to receive expedited review of SNOO as a device to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome." It sounds promising, and for parents who are on the fence about spending nearly $1,300 on the SNOO (or renting itfor $118 a month) the idea that the SNOO may prevent SIDS could be the deciding factor.

But what exactly is the Breakthrough Device Program and what does this mean for parents? It could mean the SNOO will become a lot more accessible. Here's what parents need to know:

The FDA accepted the SNOO for evaluation in the Breakthrough Device program—what does this mean?

This week the company behind the SNOO, Happiest Baby Inc., announced it received Breakthrough Device designationfrom the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Breakthrough Devices Program is a voluntary program makers of medical devices and certain other products can apply to be part of. It means the SNOO will soon be reviewed by the FDA as a potentially life-saving device, and the sleeper could one day be labeled for use in the reduction of SIDS.

Dr. Karp, co-founder and CEO of Happiest Baby tells Motherly, "the FDA has a process of reviewing devices that can be helpful for medical conditions and that process usually takes a year and a half, even up to two years of review and study...But if it's a device that potentially can save lives or reduce a debilitating disease, they recognize that there's a need to expedite that year to do it fast."

According to Dr. Karp, if approved (he stressed that part) the SNOO will be the first SIDS prevention product.

"We are not at all claiming that we reduce SIDS, we have more research that we need to do to be able to be true to that point. Right now we're only saying that we can secure babies to the back just because that's what the swaddle does, it reduces their risk of rolling over and that keeps them in that position. But, once we're approved, if we are approved by the FDA, then, of course, we will be able to make that claim."

Dr. Rachel Y. Moon, the chair of the AAP Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome tells Motherly that as far as she knows there is no evidence to support that the SNOO saves lives. The AAP wants parents to be extremely cautious about any product claiming to prevent SIDS (which, again, the SNOO is not doingyet).

This may seem odd to consumers who have seen the SNOO marketed as "the only bed to meet the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) back sleeping recommendation," but it is because the AAP's safe sleep guidelines aren't just about putting baby to sleep on their back (babies slept on their backs in the now recalled Rock n' Play, after all) but about several practices.

According to the AAP,these include making sure babies:

  • Sleep alone in their own crib, play yard or bassinet on a firm, flat mattress with a taut sheet" without blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, toys or other objects.
  • Sleep on their back every time.
  • Sleep in a bassinet, play yard or crib in a parent's room for the first six to 12 months.
  • Do not sleep in an adult bed, or on a couch, sofa or armchair.
  • Are not swaddled once they shows signs of rolling over.

As Dr. Moon explains on the AAP's Healthy Children website, while "babies should sleep on their backs for all sleep times," the AAP also says that "when your baby looks like he or she is trying to roll over, you should stop swaddling."

The SNOO offers "secure swaddling [which] prevents rolling to an unsafe position during sleep" and the makers of the SNOO dispute the AAP's guidelines around swaddling. In a blog post,Dr. Karp suggests that the AAP's recommendation to stop swaddling as soon as a baby can roll is confusing and contradicts the idea that babies should sleep on their backs at all times.

"The AAP also recommends that babies only sleep on the back during the first 6 months and that they do not sleep in the parents' bed for the first year. That's interesting because swaddling makes it harder for a baby to roll to the side or stomach, and it has been shown to lessen a parent's temptation to bed share. So, when wrapping stops early, achieving these guidelines becomes more challenging," Dr. Karp writes.

The chair of the AAP Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome does not endorse the SNOO, but the device does have some support from members of the AAP. Motherly received a copy of a letter of support for the SNOO from Dr. Colleen Kraft, the 2018 president, American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Kraft wrote, in part: "I practice in Orange County, California, where many of my new parents have used the SNOO for their infants. Universally, my parents report that they are able to follow the Safe Sleep recommendations. They use the SNOO to keep their infants on their back and find no need to bed share. Their infants sleep longer, wake fewer times, and allow these parents the opportunity to sleep without fear for their baby's safety. I have found that improved parent and infant sleep helps to promote optimal bonding, which is essential for early brain development. In summary, the SNOO is a breakthrough device that could change the outcome for our most vulnerable citizens of the United States, our infants. I support this device that promotes the most fundamental health benefit of safe sleep and the security of a parent knowing that their infant will not succumb to SIDS/SUID."

Making the SNOO more accessible

Dr. Kraft believes the SNOO could "change the outcome for our most vulnerable citizens of the United States," but the babies born to her Orange County patients—many of whom are wealthy enough to purchase or rent a SNOO, or are lucky enough to work for a company that provides them as an employee benefit—are not actually the most vulnerable babies in the United States.

According to the CDC, infant mortality rates are higher than average for those who are Black and also for American Indian, Alaska Natives and Pacific Islanders. The highest rates of infant mortality happen for moms under 20 years old. Research suggests that high rates of discrimination and poverty are factors in why some democratic groups experience higher rates of SIDS.

The good news is, if the SNOO is approved by the FDA as a potentially life-saving device, it could end up in more homes through insurance programs. As Dr. Karp tells Motherly, "the goal was first to be able to create something that's helpful. And then the next goal is to get it into as many people's hands as possible."

Karp explains that more than 50 corporations now provide the SNOO as a benefit for employees, "and then we now rent it for pretty much the cost of a Starbucks coffee. And so in just three years we've gone from a $1,200 baby bed to something you could rent for the cost of coffee a day."

But a daily Starbucks isn't in the budget for many American families—and Karp recognizes that and hopes FDA approval could help those families.

"We hope in the next couple of years that insurance companies will cover it and government agencies will cover it. Then we're now at over 20 hospitals doing studies around the world on this bed. To be able to improve health outcomes so that we can convince companies that they will save money by preventing problems, compared to waiting for the process to happen," he says.

In the meantime, Dr. Moon doesn't want parents who can't afford the SNOO to feel guilty because they can't afford one, as she hasn't seen enough evidence to make it a nursery necessity. "However, if they truly have evidence to support the claims, then the onus is on the company to make this more affordable," she said in a statement to Motherly.

The SNOO keeps babies alseep for longer, but is that safe? 

Parents are often asked if their baby is sleeping through the night, but according to Dr. Moon, they shouldn't be. Research from McGill University suggests that most babies don't and that while parents are often encouraged to commit to behavioral interventions for baby, perhaps expectations and supports for parents need to be adjusted instead. Yes, moms need more sleep, but perhaps conversations, community and cultural change should be considered as possible solutions, at least as much as any consumer product is.

Dr. Moon does not endorse the SNOO and suggests that babies wake up frequently because they need to. "The purpose of the SNOO is to keep a baby from waking and crying. A baby has to wake every few hours to feed. Additionally, the likely issue with SIDS is an arousal problem. A product that encourages a baby to sleep for longer periods of time is not physiologically advantageous for either safety or feeding purposes," she tells Motherly.

Dr. Karp says you wouldn't wake up a baby to eat if the baby didn't wake up on their own and does not see a problem with an additional 1-2 hours of sleep. "Some babies just mature their circadian rhythm earlier and SNOO helps them do that," says Karp.

The bottom line on the SNOO's Breakthrough Device designation

Bottom line: As Motherly has previously reported,the CDC says progress on SIDS has stalled, and less than a third of American babies are only put to sleep in the products the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends: firm and flat cribs, bassinets, or Pack N' Plays which meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If the SNOO can help parents achieve Back to Sleep (something that understandably feels impossible for many exhausted parents) that is certainly a good thing and we are eagerly awaiting the results of the FDA's Breakthrough Device designation investigation.

If the FDA does find the SNOO makes baby sleep safer than we hope more parents will have access to it and more babies can sleep safe and sound.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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