Baby monitors can be super useful for keeping an ear or eye on a sleeping baby from another part of your home, but checking it too often may lead to anxiety. How often do you check your baby monitor? And how often does your partner?
A new survey found dads are looking at baby monitors a lot. Maybe even too much.
The study, funded by baby care brand Summer, found more than 1 in 3 dads check their monitors at least once per minute. Only a quarter of moms are checking the baby monitor that often.
Experts worry that today's high tech baby monitors, specifically ones that pair with our smartphones and claim to monitor vital signs, can make parents anxious, rather than relieving anxiety.
"By continuously monitoring healthy infants, parents will inevitably experience some alarms for conditions that are not life-threatening, including false positive alarms due to motion artifact or other causes, and true positive alarms for events that are not clinically important," note the authors of a recent peer-reviewed study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association "Rather than reassuring parents, these experiences may generate anxiety and a false assumption that their infant is at risk of dying. These considerations introduce the prospect that using a monitor could indirectly result in harm to infants and their families."
Being glued to the baby monitor is not good for parents, and checking the monitor every minute is not making baby any safer. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn't even recommend baby monitors as a way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Instead, it recommends safe sleep practices:
- Baby should share a bedroom with parents, but not the same bed.
- Baby should sleep on their back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Babies should not sleep with bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys.
"We know that we can keep a baby safer without spending a lot of money on home monitoring gadgets but through simple precautionary measures," said Dr.Rachel Moon of the AAP.
Summer's survey found that mothers are more likely to check the baby monitor only when the baby cries, versus the fathers who are more likely to be just checking randomly all the time.
If you are a dad (or are parenting with a dad) who is checking the baby monitor every minute, it's important to be aware that perinatal depression and anxiety can happen to fathers, too. More than 10% of new dads experience anxiety.
Dads, you're doing great. You're trying so hard. Don't be afraid to put the baby monitor down for more than a minute.