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July 18, 2001

Negative Outcomes of Infant Home Apnea Monitoring—Reply

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(3):304. doi:10.1001/jama.286.3.302

In Reply: In my editorial I emphasized the tenuous relationships between "abnormal" events and sudden infant death syndrome. Ms Wolf appropriately points out the potentially intrusive effects of a home monitor on a family and its potential for misidentifying an otherwise normal child as fragile and in need of special care. Some parents get comfort and a sense of security from a monitor, although this may be a false security. Other parents find home monitoring very invasive and disruptive. Some physicians think that a monitor is essential for the safety of the child and that parental refusal to use a monitor represents a form of child neglect. Wolf clearly makes the point that home monitors are unvalidated therapy in many circumstances. If they are to be used, parental education about the nature of the intervention and parental agreement to the monitor is essential. The potential benefits of monitor use should not be overemphasized, and the potential for adverse effects on the family should not be underemphasized.

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