Are Smart Diapers the Wave of the Future? - Blog

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Are Smart Diapers the Wave of the Future?

Published Date: 07/19/19

Parents have amazing ways of knowing when their child needs a diaper change. Those little blue lines show up for pee, and a quick sniff or peek down the back tells us if they poop. Pretty simple and stress-free.

But Pampers seeks to make it even easier, especially in those newborn days when tracking wet diapers is critical.

Calling it their Connected Care System, The Lumi line by Pampers will track your baby’s urine output as well as their sleep. The diapers still have the familiar blue strip, but it’s connected to an activity sensor and works with an app to log and identify your baby’s pee patterns. The system comes with a baby monitor and comes with a 10-day supply of diapers. And while pricing has not been finalized, additional packs of Lumi by Pampers will be sold separately.  

Smartphone alerts tell parents if the diaper is dry, wet, or very wet.

"Parents didn't ask for a poo or pee alarm; they wanted something more like the smart watches of today," a Pampers spokesperson told CNN Business. "The activity sensor tracks baby's sleep and since it's there on the diaper, it can also track ... if a diaper is wet."

Last year Huggies launched Monit x Huggies in Korea and Japan, which notifies parents via text message when baby poops. A blue tooth sensor attached to the diaper does the work your nose and eyes currently do.

Of course, whenever you’re entering your baby’s information into an app, privacy concerns come into play.

"I do want to re-iterate that we take privacy and security very seriously," the spokesperson told CNN." Only Lumi by Pampers account holders with their valid credentials will be able to access their baby's data on the Lumi app."

"Undoubtedly, for those parents who are concerned about their newborn's bathroom functions — to inform something like constipation or if a kid is hydrated enough when they're sick — this data could be very useful over brief periods," said David Anderson, senior director at the Child Mind Institute said that there could be benefits to using a smart diaper, like informing a parent if a child is hydrated when sick, there’s a trade-off.

"There may be behavior that is completely within an acceptable range, but an anxious parent is likely to find any deviations from reliable norms a cause for concern. So while data is generally good, we're likely to see an increase in calls to pediatricians."

President of the International Society for Infant Studies, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, added. "The more we have analytics on babies, the more we worry that it actually matters we've calculated this," she said. "That creates a frenetic feeling when you're a parent."

Hirsh-Pasek said, for example, that on a hot day a child might urinate more because fluid intake has increased. However, a parent might not take that into account on an app and just see a deviation from the norm and believe there’s cause for concern.

She voiced concern over making babies less self-reliant. We know that children sometimes tug at their diapers when they’re uncomfortable and need a change. That’s an early form of communicating before they have the words to do it.

"We see this a lot with potty training — kids needs to learn how to control and recognize what's happening to their body," she said. "We don't want our kids to grow up without knowing how to do this. Babies have a right to cry and let us know what's going on."

Hirsh-Pasek believes that parents should focus on understanding their babies without technology.
"I'm sure there will be even more digital products to analyze babies in the future, but the best thing you can do is cuddle, build a relationship and look in their eyes and see what they are trying to tell us — not what we are trying to tell them," she said.

Early reports say there’s a waitlist ahead of the US launch, so don’t plan on having them on your changing table anytime soon. You’ll just have to check the old-fashioned way.

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