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Pioneering baby-tech company Snuza led the way in 2007 with the launch of Snuza Hero MD (formally the Halo) – the world’s first medically-certified wearable, portable baby breathing monitor. It simply clips onto your baby’s nappy and monitors their breathing, sending vibrations or alerts when no breathing is detected.
It’s the first product of its kind to be registered in the EU as a medical device and in 2019, the company also became a partner of The Lullaby Trust, the leading charity in the UK for the awareness and prevention of SIDS.
The Snuza MD has been through stringent testing that competes with gold standard hospital equipment, and yet it’s remarkably affordable at £89.99, which is cheaper than the vast majority of monitors with similar functions. These competing products are also not medically certified, making the Snuza Hero MD somewhat of a pioneer.
Sarah and Steve live in the New Forest with their 1-year-old son. They tested the product with the help of their 3-month-old nephew Fletcher.
How does the Snuza Hero MD breathing monitor work?
The monitor is battery powered and therefore completely portable, meaning no cords or wires. The device clips onto your baby’s nappy and there are several functions to offer reassurance to anxious parents:
- The device vibrates if no breathing is detected after 15 seconds in a bid to ‘rouse’ your baby to take a breath
- An alarm is then sounded after a further 5 seconds if breathing is still not detected
- An alert will also sound if your baby’s breathing rate drops to 8 breaths per minute or less
How does the Snuza Hero MD compare to other breathing monitors?
The Snuza Hero MD is currently one of a kind. There are other wireless movement monitors on the market in the form of under-the-mattress sensor pads (which aren’t nearly as travel friendly), such as the BabySense 7 (£99.99 on Amazon), Nanny Baby Sensor, Angelcare Movement Monitor and Tommy Tippee Digital Sound and Movement Monitor, which retail on average between £80–£100. In comparison, with an RRP of £89.99, the Hero’s innovative design and additional features offer good value for money.
A more direct competitor is the Sense-U Baby Monitor 2 (£89.99 on Amazon), which like the Hero MD, clips onto your baby’s nappy and monitors breathing. The Sense-U also monitors your baby’s temperature and if they roll onto their front. It’s slightly more high-tech than the Hero MD as it links to your smartphone via an app so you can see your baby’s breathing and temperature live and it notifies you via your phone of any changes. For the same price you get smartphone pairing, but it’s not medically certified like the Hero MD.
Another similar product is the Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor, which allows you to track your baby’s breathing and oxygen levels via a sock worn by your baby – like the Sense-U Baby Monitor 2, it also links up to your smartphone via an app. At £249 (buy it here on Amazon), it’s considerably more expensive than the Hero MD and while it has many positive online reviews, some users on Amazon report issues with the app and problems with the accuracy of the monitor when their baby moves.
What were your first impressions of the Snuza Hero MD?
I was impressed – I haven’t come across a breathing device like it before. The compact, curved design is appealing, and it appears to be durable. The soft, flexible rubber sensor feels as though it wouldn’t be uncomfortable against baby’s skin, which was an initial worry.
My only concern is the clip which attaches the device could break if it was overstretched. The device comes with a protective case – a nice touch which added to the overall quality.
Is it easy to setup?
The instruction leaflet is really simple to follow and the device is ready to use in seconds – no fiddly programming needed. There is no mention however of the ‘Mode’ button, so I was left perplexed as to what it was for (more about this function later).
Before each use the device needs to be calibrated on a flat surface. A start up tone sounds and the breathing indicator light flashes green to show it’s ready to use. To attach securely, it’s advised to fold down the top of your baby’s nappy before clipping on the Hero MD and ensuring the rubber tip is fully in contact with baby’s tummy.
MFM tester, Zowie, found it took a little while to set up but said, “once you’ve worked it out it’s pretty straight forward”.
Does it attach well to your baby’s nappy?
Yes, really well. MFM tester, Zowie, felt reassured by how secure it felt: “The product itself is very sturdy and there is no worries of it coming off as the clasp is very strong with no visible small pieces.”
This opinion is overwhelmingly supported by the online reviewers on the Argos website, where the Hero MD is rated 4.7 out of 5, with many shoppers commenting on just how nicely it fits onto their baby’s nappy.
One user did mention a slight difficulty when attaching it to a cloth nappy, but a number of other customers have reported it to be fine when they’ve tried it.
How does the Snuza Hero MD show if your baby is breathing normally?
The breathing indicator light flashes green each time a breath is registered. I found this to be a great little feature, especially seeing the comforting little blink at night, which was visible through my little one’s babygrow.
This is where the mode button also comes into play; if you want, you can choose for the indicator light to be accompanied by a soft audible ‘click’, offering another layer of reassurance, which was useful when Fletcher was in the pram and covered over.
How sensitive is the Snuza Hero MD?
The breathing indicator light appears to be very sensitive. It even managed to pick up breathing when worn on top of a vest, clipped onto the waistband of our son’s trousers.
Snuza has said that to pass European medical regulations, the Hero MD had to prove it can detect even the slightest breath.
Did you have any false alarms?
I only had one, which was because I hadn’t pushed the clip far enough down onto the nappy, which meant the tip wasn’t in proper contact with Fletcher’s tummy. You could argue this wasn’t a ‘false’ alarm though, as it correctly alerted me that a breath hadn’t been registered!
On Amazon, where the Hero MD is reviewed almost 400 times and has a rating of 4.5 out of 5, many shoppers agree that false alarms are very rare with this monitor.
How loud is the alarm on the Snuza Hero MD?
The alarm is fairly loud and should wake you if you were in the same room, but a mobile monitor with sound would be needed in conjunction with the Hero if your baby was napping in another room.
A handful of online reviewers mentioned their partners managed to sleep through the alarm. That said, the majority of reviews commented that the noise level would suffice for all but the deepest of sleepers.
Is it easy to use at night?
Let’s talk night time nappy changes – no simple feat at the best of times! The last thing I wanted was for the alarm to be triggered during change time, startling my milk-drunk baby into a wide-awake frenzy. Luckily, I didn’t need to worry. The device is easily turned off (even in the dark) by simultaneously pressing the two side buttons.
I managed to calibrate the Hero on the changing table and reattach to the clean nappy within a few seconds. Although the ready to use tone did seem a little loud in the middle of the night, it didn’t seem to bother Fletcher.
Is the Snuza Hero MD portable?
Alongside its functionality, one of the best features is its compact, space-saving design. It can easily be popped into a handbag when travelling, without the need for any accompanying accessories.
Aside from the cot, I found it useful when my baby was napping in the moses basket and also when out and about in the pram – I felt less need to stick my head into the pram every 10 minutes to check on Fletcher’s breathing.
Could you use it when your baby is in a car seat?
No, it’s only designed for when your baby is lying flat. I would be reluctant to use it in the car seat as in an inclined position I think it would dig into his tummy. I also worry the movement of the car would incorrectly register as breaths.
How could the Snuza Hero MD be improved?
It’s a pretty flawless product for the job it’s designed to do, but the Hero does have limitations: it wouldn’t be as effective for older babies, as once they start to wriggle and roll the device could come loose and possibly not monitor as accurately.
Where can I buy the Snuza Hero MD?
An excellent product that provides new parents some much-needed reassurance that their baby is breathing well. While it may not be as high-tech as others on the market, and it doesn’t offer as many monitoring features, its simplicity is exactly what makes it such a fantastic, reliable buy.
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|Movement sensor pad||No|
|Sound level indicator lights||No|
|Room temperature display||No|
Medical grade plastic and silicone