The dystopian future of quantified babies


I’m not sure I get the joke. If these products aren’t available yet, they will be.

These monitors might be extreme for a healthy infant, but my daughter has been sick with different infections since November because she has a weak immune system in a bad flu season. 2015 has been the flu, having tubes put in her ears, and now a severe case of RSV resulting in pneumonia and bronchiolitis I wouldn’t mind a more reliability SIDS monitor that can track a baby in any position or track blood oxygenation specifically. The cost would be justified even if it is only worn a few weeks ever.

Sure, we could mock the technologies for the people obsessed with over monitoring health and nutrition, but there are legitimate cases that would allow parents to prevent hospitalization of infants or toddlers. I know it is a corner case, and most use would be for OCD status monitoring, but it is not like there is harm in it either.

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The harm is that, for healthy kids, these things just enable worry. When our eldest was about two, my wife had to stop looking in baby books; she was getting worried that our daughter had gone from hitting milestones about a year early to “only” hitting them about 9 months early.


But what you are saying is that there are already many, many ways for people who will worry to worry and there is a reasonable application for this technology.

These monitoring capabilities are going to keep getting cheaper and the question people will ask is, “Why not?”

Now, those companies would much rather be able to hide the raw data and just say, “Your baby is fine,” or “Maybe they need food” etc. But they can’t because that would expose them to huge liability problems. So they have to give you lots of data you either don’t understand or don’t know what to do with. “Oh, the heart rate dropped by 4 bpm, is that a problem?” etc.


Reminds me of an old SNL mock ad around the time twin-blade razors came out. If 2 blades are good then 4 must be great!. Erm…


To be fair, these are design students not engineering students. It is fairly likely that there isn’t any technology; just pretty pictures.

As to real monitoring tech, yeah it is useful. Hospitals are full of that kind of thing. If you seriously believe that your kid is in immanent danger of dying, you might want to consider going to one. (I’m not being snarky here.)

Spending every minute watching a number to see if it goes up or down, though? That’s a lot of stress to put yourself under for data which might be of dubious importance.

It’s a poop.

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The options you have are:

  1. Take a kid to the hospital where they charge you obscene prices to
    criticize you from coming in at all and you expose your infant to
    even more things that can get them sick
  2. Wait to see a pediatrician which is probably the best option but leaves
    you with a very scary night waiting to go in
  3. Dropping a couple bills to monitor your kid easily at home

I know you are not trying to be snarky, but the whole point of me posting is that my daughter who is 6 months old has had everything from ear infections requiring tube to be put in to pneumonia in the past 3 months. I had the option of her being admitted to the hospital for the last week or monitor her condition at home and take her in if something goes wrong. If I had an off the shelf device to monitor her at home when she had a 103 degree fever and trouble breathing it would have made my life easier.

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What kind of crappy hospital criticizes you for bringing in a 6 month old with a 103 degree fever?

Answering my self: at least one too many and certainly more. It amazing what level of stupid jerkyness I’ve run into during the few times I’ve been to hospitals. For the birth of my second daughter, my wife couldn’t convince the nurse that the baby was coming. I ended up delivering her myself before the doctor got there. (For the record, that hospital was St. Luke’s Roosevelt.)

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