Top critical review
120 people found this helpful
Innovative But Pricey And Somewhat Limited
on November 5, 2013
First as a fellow techie, I'd like to say that the top rated review by Unix is both lacking and sometimes just wrong. While I agree that there are a lot glowing fake reviews (i.e. I don't trust any of the five star reviews either), his review isn't much better at giving a full picture either. I feel that lilber23's review is much better at giving everyone a better overview of the product.
Note: I didn't use the Parent Unit remote. I only used the iOS app (v1.07) with my iPad. If you want to know what it's like using just the Parent Unit remote, check out lilber23's review.
The mat works: It provides your baby's breaths per minute, whether or not your baby is awake or asleep, as well as the mat's temperature, whether or not the baby left the mat, and so on.
The mat is safer than competing products like Angel Care. Angel Care's products are wired and there have been cases of death in the past.
The mat is waterproof and its cover is machine washable.
Easy iOS App Setup: If you know how to install a new iPhone / iPad app, as well as pairing your iPhone / iPad to a BlueTooth device like a headset, setup is simple. Just turn on the Safe to Sleep mat (you'll see the blinking green light). On your iPhone, go to 'Settings'. Under 'Settings', tap the BlueTooth setting. Just make sure BlueTooth is on, and wait until you see the Safe to Sleep mat pop up under 'Devices'. Once it pops up, tap it to connect. Now install the Safe to Sleep iOS app and you're done. (If you happened to install and start the iOS app first before pairing your iOS device to the mat, just restart the iOS app and it should work fine.) Setup is not as Unix describes, a random "phone dance". This is where the reviewer Unix loses all credibility. I find it hard to believe that a competent sysadmin is unable to figure out how to pair a Bluetooth device to an iOS device.
iOS App Customizable Alarms: From what I can tell, there's no way to customize alarms with the Parent Unit remote, meaning that you'll get an alarm when the baby stops breathing, falls off the mat, wakes up, or breathes fast. With the iOS app, you can choose which alarms you want on and off so it's possible to have the Safe to Sleep only alarm when the baby stops breathing.
iOS App Historical Bar Chart Data: you can chart how often your baby slept, was awake, and for how long he's been off the mat.
There's a pseudo-realtime histogram for the baby's breathing (it's pseudo, since it's only off by a few seconds) in the iOS App.
There's a feeding reminder in the iOS App. Any timer and even the iOS Reminders app can do this as well but this is still nice to have.
Speakers: You can play a music playlist with a time limit or a specific mp3 from your iOS device to the mat's speakers. Unfortunately, while this is a cool feature in my opinion this is also mainly a bad feature. See the 'Bad' section under 'Speakers' for details.
You really need an iOS device dedicated for just the Safe To Sleep. i.e. you can't use it for anything else. Why? Because if you turn off app or even the device itself, then you will miss notifications i.e. no audible alarm. Yes it can use Apple iOS notifications but I don't trust iOS popup notifications enough for something this important.
You can only pair it with one device. In my opinion, this is really what makes the iOS app not as useful. Ideally you want all of your iOS devices paired to the mat, like the way Nest thermostats work. Of course I'm aware that this introduces another point of failure and further adds to the cost of the product, so I understand why they chose Blutooth instead of wi-fi. However this is a really big limitation. If this was a wi-fi device, this wouldn't be a problem.
The iOS App doesn't know that you turned the mat off on purpose. When this happens, you will be tons of useless iOS notifications. This is a bug that needs to be fixed. After this happens, and you want to use the mat again, you will have to restart the iOS app again after you turn on the mat (meaning you have to press the bottom iPhone button twice to bring up the multitasking GUI, and turn off the Safe to Sleep app from there).
When an alarm occurs, you probably won't know exactly what happened unless you happened to be looking at the iOS app right when it occurred. Why? because the alarm notification just disappears after a few seconds. It would be more practical if you can still see the alarm, and manually dismiss it.
Delayed Monitoring: I'm not sure what the culprit is whether it's the mat or iOS app, but there seems to be a 5-15 second delay at times. It's not as a bad as a 20-30 second delay, but it's still a little disconcerting at times to see that it thinks that the baby is still on the mat, even though I took him off a few seconds ago. Of course this may or may not be related to the "baby's clothing and wrappings are too thick" issue. This needs to be fixed.
Faulty or Delayed Alarms: When an event happens, like your baby leaving the mat, the app doesn't always alarm (yes I enabled the leaving mat alarm). This is a really big problem. I don't want something that I have to test to make sure it works all time. I want something that just works all the time. (To give them the benefit of the doubt, I'll retest this again a few more times.) Hopefully one day the bugs will be fixed. I'm debating whether or not I will wait, or just return the unit.
UPDATE: Yes the iOS app is a little buggy, but the problems also stem partially from the mat. The mat needs more contact with the baby in order to detect its breath's per minute, so if you have thicker clothing along with a swaddle, it could affect monitoring which is reasonable (nothing is perfect).
UPDATE: Its bluetooth radio probably isn't low power since it needs power for range. This may not be good when it has long term close range contact with babies.
Price: Three hundred dollars is steep for most people especially given this product's limitations.
Range: Yes range isn't very good if you live in a house. We tend to stay near or in the same room as our sleeping baby so this hasn't been an issue for us. However, this is probably an issue for most families who don't live in either an apartment or condo. If this was a wi-fi device, this wouldn't be a problem.
Speakers: When the mat is only powered by four AA's, this is a really dumb feature. I'd rather not have the Safe to Sleep mat run out of power for as long as possible. People can play timed music on almost any other device so this is a dumb feature.
Buy this from Amazon and you won't have issues with product returns if you're a long time customer. This goes for any other item as well. Whenever I break this rule just to save a few dollars or get something a few weeks before Amazon has it, I always regret it. I also don't understand why people who break this rule like Unix would complain about that in a product review. It doesn't belong in the review.
There's a product called iBabyGuard that looks exactly the same. They may be the same product, but just branded differently for different regions.
I don't like it when companies engage in deceptive marketing. I agree with the reviewer Unix: all of the 5 star reviews are most likely fake.
With Duracell rechargeable batteries, the mat lasts about three days.
With eneloop rechargeable batteries, that mat lasts about five days.
This is a really innovative and interesting but flawed product. If you're a techie and are really curious, I would buy it only from Amazon since their return policy is really good. I can't recommend this product yet, but maybe one day when they fix their software I will be able to.