The Snuza Hero SE is a compact movement baby monitor — a wearable designed solely to monitor the breathing of baby. The Hero SE is similar to the Snuza Go, which we previously reviewed – the primary difference between the two monitors is that the Hero activates a vibration function that attempts to rouse baby before sounding a high-pitched alarm, whereas Go sounds the alarm right away.
Because there are no cameras, cables, or even batteries to charge, the Snuza Hero SE ($110) movement monitor takes absolutely no effort to set up. All users need to do is follow the instructions in the manual to properly place the small monitor on baby’s diaper and turn the monitor on. However, users should thoroughly read the manual before placing the monitor, as not clearly knowing how to use the function buttons can quickly lead to baby being woken up by a false alarm.
Upon each startup of the device, users want to be sure to keep an eye on the three indicator lights to ensure that all are functioning properly. These include the battery indicator, alarm indicator, and flashing movement indicator.
When the monitor is on and functioning, it flashes a small green light upon each breath or movement so that users have a visual cue that it is working properly and that baby is ok. If baby stops breathing, or breathing becomes very shallow or weak for 15 seconds, the vibrating stimulator will attempt to rouse the baby. The vibration is strong enough to produce a reaction but not too strong to cause any discomfort. In addition to the vibration, a red light flashes and a small beep sounds, giving parents an early warning that something might be wrong.
After the initial 15 seconds and first attempt to rouse, the monitor waits for another 5 seconds with no movement, and attempts to rouse again. At this point 20 seconds have passed and two rouse attempts have been made – 5 seconds later, the monitor’s high pitched alarm sounds in order to rouse caregivers.
The movement sensor on the Hero SE is very sensitive, and though the actual device seems fairly simple, it does a good job of picking up on baby’s movement, or lack thereof. The movement sensor indicates that it is working by flashing a small green light (bright enough for users to see, but not too bright to bother baby). The clip that attaches the monitor to the diaper is a good shape and size to ensure that it is functional.
For complete peace of mind, the Snuza monitors are best paired with a basic video or audio monitor. This not only allows users to have another level of monitoring, but it also helps users to hear the audio alert from the Snuza if/when it goes off.
False alarms are the biggest drawback of this breathing monitor. Even slight user errors can result in a false alarm, but those typically come in the first days of use as caregivers learn how to use the monitor. It should only be used in a crib or bassinette, as using it in any area that moves, like a stroller or in a car seat, will likely cause a false alarm. Other issues can also trigger false alarms, like placing too many clothes on baby or the monitor becoming dislodged from the diaper.
The replaceable battery comes already installed in the monitor and does not require charging. One of the three indicator lights on the body of the monitor includes a battery indicator, and will flash either green (battery ok), orange (battery nearing depletion), or red (battery inoperable). Online reviews indicate that the batteries last for months of regular use, but it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and order at least one backup battery if you plan on using the Hero SE regularly.
Who It Might be a Good Fit For
- Users with newborns, younger babies, or children with special needs who need constant breathing monitoring
- Users who have another monitor set up in baby’s room to monitor for other things besides breathing
- Users who sleep near their children (and not too heavily) and can hear the alarm easily
Who it Might Not be a Good Fit For
- Users who want a standalone monitoring system with video and audio
- Users who are monitoring older children
- Users whose babies are active and move around a lot in their sleep, as the monitor could move from its monitoring position
- Users who bed share
Overall, the Snuza Hero SE is easy to use, though some of the light combination indicators can be confusing (users can read more about this in the User Guide). It’s helpful for users to test the monitor on a flat, unmoving surface before using it for the first time so that they can fully understand the alert sequence, as well as how to turn the alarm off if it is triggered (by either false alarm or actual emergency).
The Hero SE shares many of the same challenges as the Snuza Go — namely that false alarms can disrupt the sense of peace that caregivers are looking for in the first place. To be truly effective, a Snuza monitor needs to be paired with a video monitor, which will add more money to an already high $100+ price tag. Users will also not use this monitor for more than six months, creating a very short lifespan.
Overall, the Snuza monitors are fairly well-loved by its users, and can certainly serve a purpose, but not all users will find them necessary. Parents who have babies with breathing or sleeping issues could definitely benefit from these monitors.