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We have been using the Owlet Smart Sock 3 for 4 months now, and so it seems like the perfect time to write up a review! We’ve had it for long enough to experience any common issues, and also have just switched to the second size sock (of 2), so we’re definitely getting our use out of this!
After the birth of our second daughter Aurora it is fair to say that we felt just a little anxious! A NICU stay will do that to you..! As our first daughter has FPIES, and has had seizures, breath related issues and a febrile convulsion due to overheating we wanted something that would help us check in on the health of our baby, and also help us learn her sleep cycles and a little more about how her body reacts when she is asleep overnight.
I KNOW that at home baby monitors are designed to just help ease your mind, and don’t actually necessarily prevent things like SIDs, but I tried a couple of others before settling on the Owlet Smart Sock 3.
What is the Owlet Smart Sock 3?
This is a baby monitoring sock that tracks heart rate and uses pulse-oximetry technology. This has been proven to be safe and accurate, though I didn’t look into the validity of this too much before I made my purchase!
This sock is designed to be worn under clothes, from birth, and it syncs up with an app. Which is very temperamental in my opinion!
You can be notified by lights and sounds through the base station that the sock connects to and the app sending notifications to your phone about the well-being of your baby while they are sleeping.
There are four socks in the box, two sizes. Two left socks and two right socks. The sizes are size 1, less than 12lbs. Then size 2 12-30lbs. Aurora was 5lb and a few ounces when she started wearing the sock. It was quite large but the way you can wrap it around the foot means getting a good fit wasn’t a problem for us. The first size sock actually fit until Aurora was around 14lbs, but it was beginning to get very snug!
I love that you can use different feet each night, if you want to. We swap it over less frequently than daily, just out of laziness really. There has been no need, as Aurora hasn’t experienced any discomfort, redness or problems from wearing this smart sock.
Why did we choose the Owlet?
I particularly wanted this smart sock as I love the idea of putting in on Aurora at bedtime, while getting her washed and changed, and knowing that we can see her stats all of the time, even if we are away from her for a few minutes.
I watched a few videos, and read some reviews too, which all said that the app was great for looking at sleep trends and would help me to see my child’s routine quickly.
We actually purchased this smart sock when Aurora was 11 days old looking back at the order confirmation, and that is because we were using the Snuza Hero MD and found this was giving a significant amount of false alarms, which was setting off my anxiety.
For me I wanted to be able to comfortably look at Aurora’s oxygen levels, pulse and also know when she was in light and deep sleep phases. This is partly to help me plan my evening, the best you can with a small baby, and partly for reassurance that Aurora is healthy.
We practice safe sleep at home, and don’t use the Owlet as a replacement for safe sleep practices including a bare, safe space to sleep alone, no bumpers, soft toys or loose furnishings.
We also don’t use the Owlet to leave Aurora along unattended for long periods of time, it is more to have something overnight that will hopefully monitor her sleep pattern and if she is encountering any difficulties.
I feel it is really important just to let you know, if you’re reading this before making a purchase, that no device is going to remove risks associated with unsafe sleeping. Also, bed sharing could potentially impact the usability of this item, just to be clear.
Why do the lights on Owlet mean?
If you see the red light this is considered an emergency notification. We’ve only had a couple of notifications, and none of them have been false alarms.
A couple of times the sock was fitted too loosely, and Aurora was able to wriggle away, and as a result the sensor was picking up lower readings.
We’ve had one occasion where Aurora’s heart rate was too high, and the light turned red and a sound was played both from the base station and from the app. Aurora was sick in the middle of the night, and briefly choked on the sick too. As a result she was very distressed, and this caused her heart rate to raise significantly which the Owlet picked up.
This is the only time we’ve had something close to an emergency, and obviously we were awoken by the sound of her being sick, as she sleeps in her bedside cot two feet away from our bed in our bedroom.
The bouncing green light means the sock has been removed from the base station and is trying to locate a reading from your child. If you don’t fit the sock promptly then the base station will begin to play a tune, and you’ll receive an app notification also.
A pulsing green light means the sock is picking up your child’s readings normally.
If there are any issues the Owlet will alarm on the base station and will send notifications to your phone too.
Why didn’t we buy the Owlet with a camera?
Just didn’t see the need to spend another £80-£90 to be honest. We have a camera in the room already, but also we don’t really leave our babies unattended much. We keep them with us in the evenings, and they come up to bed when we do.
When Aurora is older, and moves into her own shared bedroom with her 5-year-old sister, then we’ll use the camera we already have to just keep an eye on the girls.
Has the Owlet ever burned Aurora?
No! I HAVE read about this happening, however, when I looked into this further, before I bought ours, it looked like it was just redness occurring, perhaps from it being fit too tight.
I spend a minute every evening making sure this is fit to Aurora well, and comfortable. She shows no signs of discomfort and while there has occasionally been a small line, like when you get a line from your t-shirt on your skin, she hasn’t been uncomfortable and it disappears quickly.
Is the Owlet comfortable?
It seems to be. It’s quite soft, and the velcro sits nicely, so it doesn’t cause any problems with Aurora’s skin.
What happens when the Owlet disconnects? Common troubleshooting issues…
I’ve had a few issues with this. Firstly the app gets stuck and it just says connecting or keeps disconnecting. Then I will notice that it has disconnected from the base unit. I’ve used the live chat on the app to get help.
Once the problem was because I had changed wi-fi providers and had a few connection issues as a result, which took about 10 minutes to fix.
On another occasion I noticed that it was disconnecting from the app for a few days, and so I went on live chat once again and they advised that the firmware needed an update. They arranged this from their end, just requiring the serial number and a few other details.
I had to press the button underneath the base unit a few times while they resolved this for me, but when I went back to it a couple of hours later it was fixed and has worked since with no issues (2 months now).
How can you get a discount on the Owlet Smart Sock?
There are quite a few on eBay. Our model, the Smart Sock 3, is around £279 on Amazon, however, there are brand new sealed ones on eBay for around £100 less most of the time.
On Black Friday in 2020 the £279 model was £199, so Black Friday could be a good time to shop for this if you’re interested! It also looks like the price drops £20-£30 from time to time on Amazon too.
It is worth adding that via the Owlet website there is a 30 day money back guarantee, so if you want to buy it new, and pay the full price, then you may want to consider ordering direct in case you realise that it doesn’t suit your requirements.
Can you use the Owlet without wi-fi?
You CAN use it without wi-fi, you just can’t use the app. The base station will still use the lights and alarm system to notify you of any issues.
This is great if you’re travelling, or staying with family, and may not have access to wi-fi. We’re taking ours when we stay with family this weekend!
What are the size / weight restrictions for the Owlet?
The socks are designed for use up to 12lbs and then 12lbs – 30lbs. I think this is quite a good range. This is around 0-18 months. Beyond this you could use a mat under the mattress, if you still think you need the reassurance.
The website states that the sock can be used from around 6lb. We used it a little before this, and there were no problems with getting readings.
Can you wash the Owlet?
Yes! Just hand wash it in a mild soap. I’ve just been using Fairy liquid diluted to give ours a clean, and it seems to be in great condition still after switching it out for the larger sized sock after around 4 months of use.
Is the Owlet worth it?
For us I would say 100%! It’s been great to have an additional little layer to my peace of mind. I’m aware that no product could prevent SIDs but I’ve been using it for the purpose of checking naps.
For example if Aurora is still asleep when I wake at 6am I can usually see, at a glance, from her heart rate data if she seems to be in a deep sleep cycle. This isn’t a guarantee of course, however, I can usually see for around 10-15 minutes beforehand that Aurora will be waking from her overnight sleep very soon.
Also, it’s been really handy to learn the patterns that Aurora has, that we might not other wise notice in the haze of sleeplessness and general busy life. For example Aurora often wakes up at 2am, has a bottle and is back to sleep within 45 minutes of the wake up. Without this history in the app I think it would feel like we were awake for hours, just because of being tired, and we would be dreading that a little every night when settling down to sleep!
I DO feel like the app has a lot of work to be done to be honest. It is slow, takes a minute or two to load data sometimes and on occasions I’ve had to reload it too. Also, there are notifications that are VERY out of data, for example in the notifications section it says ‘We are hard at work developing the History feature and expect to release it Fall 2020. Stay tuned!’ Well it’s almost a year past Fall 2020 and there is still nothing feature wise that is new, that I can see.
The live chat service is good, when I’ve had to use it (two or three times now). They reply quite promptly, seem knowledgeable and have been able to fix the issues we were having too, which is all that matters really!
Would I buy it again?
Yes, I think I would. At the beginning I was REALLY skeptical about whether I would like it or not. The app IS trash, probably one of my least favourite apps I’ve ever used, but the sock works well, it alarms when it should and the low battery notifications come up when there are around 5 hours left, which gives us lots of time to let Aurora finish her nap/sleep before worrying about getting it back on charge.
I paid £154.20, delivered, for my Smart Sock 3 brand new. I made an offer, at 2am, to a seller on eBay, quite a cheeky one, and they said yes! I paid and it was delivered within 2 days.
I was really pleased, as I really wanted it, but didn’t want to pay £289 for it. I DO think I’d be happier to pay £289 now I’ve tested it out, but of course I’d always suggest you have a shop around. Besides the warranty I can think of no reason not to just buy a second hand one from eBay, Vinted or Facebook marketplace.
The peace of mind that this brings has really been worth it. When I’m awake in the middle of the night I can use the app just to check on how Aurora is sleeping, before walking over my creaky floorboards to the toilet, without worrying about waking her up!
As mentioned above we don’t use this to replace safe sleep practices but it is just great to see she’s well, on longer car trips, in between breaks, or when she’s having a nap while I do some jobs upstairs in our home.
My number 1 tip for using the Owlet would be if you’re putting it on your baby, but will be away from the room with the base station, then just remove the wire from the back of the base station until bedtime. This allows us to put Aurora’s sock on while downstairs for the evening, and then when she’s asleep for the night she can go down in her cot and we can just plug the base station back in!