In this post we will talk about seizure monitoring devices for epileptics. Is there a device that detects a seizure and alerts in real time? Which devices are suitable for adults and which for children? What is a pulse oximeter monitor, and how is it used? How does this type of monitor help epileptics? Do you need a webcam in your child’s bedroom?
I tested two devices that will work for babies, which I will cover in this article. I also collected recommendations and information from the web, about devices that will work for older children and adults.
What is epilepsy and why do you need a seizure monitoring device
Epilepsy – a condition in which a person suffers from a chemical imbalance in the brain. The imbalance causes a miscommunication between brain cells. This may lead to several symptoms, such as lack of awareness and behavior changes.
To be diagnosed with epilepsy you are generally required to experience at least two seizures. Not all seizures are considered epileptic seizures
Epilepsy may be represented with different type of seizures. Some seizures are mostly harmless, and some are life risking.
There are many types of epilepsy syndromes, and many types of seizures. Epileptic seizures may start due to genetic predisposition, physical damage caused by trauma, tumors or malformations.
When brain cells are overactive, they can harm themselves, and the cells around them. Following epileptic activity, brain damage can expand. Prolonged seizures can cause physical damage. Convulsions that cause strong limb deformities can endanger a person’s physical health.
Therefore, once the epilepsy has been diagnosed, you will receive a recommendation for balancing medication. Taking your medication is the most effective way to control seizures and prevent Sudden Unexpected Death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
About 30% of epileptics are drug-resistant, and can not control seizures with medications.
How Seizure monitoring devices can help prevent sudden
Seizure monitoring devices can include pulse-oximeters, fall detection bed sensors, motion sensing cameras, and specially designed wearable devices. Wearable device technology is becoming more and more advanced. It provides different solutions, that I will cover in this article.
Wearable devices may include pulse-oximeter capabilities, fall detection or additional sensors. These can be used to detect abnormal activity. You can have them sound an alarm or send a warning to a phone. Many devices store data in an app that can be shared with your doctor.
How to diagnose and deal with epilepsy
Once you have first identified that you/your child might be having a seizure, go to a hospital immediately and begin the investigation process. Convulsions may not be epileptic at all and require different treatment.
There is also a minimum of two seizures to be considered epileptic. Epilepsy diagnosis will generally involve an EEG.
If you were diagnosed with epilepsy, the neurologist will recommend medication. This is designed to produce a chemical balance in the brain.
There are other ways to treat epilepsy and it is recommended to read about the treatment that helped us cope with seizures. *Before attempting any alternative seizure control, you should be consult a medical professional.
It is important to understand the basics of epilepsy and to be prepared. All family members should know how to behave during seizures. Contact us to book training on how to behave during seizures.
To prevent severe damage or death from seizures, it is also advisable to monitor epileptic activity carefully. There are many options monitoring seizures. How do we choose from the enormous variety of seizure monitoring devices for the most suitable device for us?
First, the monitoring devices that are suitable for epilepsy can be divided into categories:
- Monitors – Vital signs (Breathing and Pulse) Monitoring Devices
- Abnormal Sleep Displacement Devices
- Wrist bands and Smart Watches
* Disclaimer: Most of the links on the site to Amazon.com or AliExpress.com are sponsored links. If you purchase the product through them, we receive a commission. It does not affect the price for you.
Experiences from the emergency room and hospitalization of the baby after we detected seizures
When our fourth child reached the age of two weeks, we began to notice seizures. At first he rolled and crossed his eyes. I told Shira that it looked suspicious. We agreed to continue to observe, because maybe it’s okay for his age, even though one of his brothers is epileptic . Then, while I gave him a bottle, he froze. Just stopped and stared into space for almost a minute. He did not respond to touch or sound. I now knew, he was seizing.
We ran with him to the hospital. The doctors forwarded it in a shocking variety of tests. In the emergency room, they have to make sure that there are no other factors that could cause those symptoms, such as meningitis. Finally, of course, he had the EEG. This confirmed what we suspected – epilepsy.
The other tests also revealed a thyroid problem, and a heart problem (PFO usually goes away on its own, with time). This too requires supervision and monitoring.
Discharge from hospital, only with respiratory cardiac monitor
We were discharged from the hospital with a prescription for an epilepsy medication, which is suitable for infants. We also had to monitor the baby with a pulse-oximeter.
This device monitors vital signs: pulse (heart function), and saturation (oxygen level in the blood. This reflects the lung function). By monitoring the vital signs, we can try to detect epileptic activity.
During a seizure, the heart-rate usually rises or falls abnormally. If the saturation decreases – the seizure is causing respiratory arrest. Besides, if the baby is generally ill, it is also advisable to monitor the sturgeon in sleep.
I started looking for where to borrow, and came across Yad-Sarah. They did have a device. Unfortunately, the equipment they had was outdated and partial. I was given a device that looked like an old typewriter. They Equipped me with stickers to monitor the heart-rate. But they didn’t have the pulse oximeter attachment.
I couldn’t find another place that has a pulse-oximeter for borrowing, so I started looking for places to purchase from.
Where do you start looking?
So one of the problems that you are probably already aware of, is the huge variety that exists on the internet. What is the best device? Is the price fair or high? Which type is most suitable to my needs? How do I know what will work?
I really got lost. Luckily, Shira understands medical equipment better than I do. She knew what to look for. She did not have a lot of strength after the birth and all the hospital hassles with the baby. But it was urgent and she helped me with the search.
I continued my search after the medical condition became a little more stable. And I also collected a lot of recommendations from Facebook users. I also bought two seizure monitoring devices to make sure they work well.
With the information I gathered I will try to narrow down the options. I hope to provide you with an easier choice. There is still a variety of devices that can be used to monitor seizures. Different types of devices especially for different age groups.
If you have any other recommendations, write to us in the comments.
Different types of monitors
We started on Israeli sites, and I found respiratory cardiac monitors of all kinds, in the price range of 450 NIS to thousands of shekels. These prices are high, and although it was urgent, I was looking for options for ordering from abroad. The variety on AliExpress.com paralyzed me, and in any case it takes over a month for something to arrive from China, if at all.
In the meantime, Shira has found the Owlet – a wireless pulse-oximeter monitor for babies.
As you can imagine, the price is high.
However, it is a unique product. the possibility of monitoring the child without cumbersome and dangerous wires is probably worth the investment. (Provided it works as advertised).
In the end, I also purchased a wired device through the Chinese site so I can make a comparison. I wanted to make sure the wireless device was accurate enough for me to give a positive review.
What we found:
Different types of pulse-oximeter monitors
First you need to distinguish between measuring instruments. You can buy pulse-oximeters at any pharmacy. These are worn on the fingertip. The fingertip pulse oximeter is mostly for adults, but can used for older children.
Most fingertip devices are suitable for one-time measurement, and an extended period. Therefore, these will not be suitable for seizure monitoring.
You can also find a device for measuring blood pressure and pulse with a sleeve, it is cheap and available at pharmacies. But it does not measure saturation, nor does it measure on extended period.
Both of these did not meet our requirements for adaptation to the baby or for monitoring during sleep.
In the end we purchased two devices. The first, a wired monitor with a baby, child or adult attachment. The wired device allows measurement over time, and buzzes when there are anomalies. It’s a bit awkward to see the measurements history, but it also has advantages over the wireless.
The second, is the owlet wireless monitor. To save money and time, I bought a second-hand device on eBay. This was a mistake because the socks that hold the sensor are torn. Shira sewed an alternative sock that does an excellent job. With some adjustment we can check the quality of the sensor on the older children. The sensor itself, it turns out, can work on adults as well.
How pulse-oximeters can be used as a seizure monitoring devices for epilepsy
When a person has an epileptic seizure, heart rate and saturation are affected. If the breathing is stopped or abnormal during the seizure, the saturation will go down. The pulse will spike, rising or falling abnormally. We will receive an alert for these changes.
It is not possible to know whether precisely if the spikes in saturation or heart rate were due to a seizure. However, monitoring over time can give a slightly clearer picture of what is happening.
Beyond pinpointing times of seizure times, the information from seizure monitoring devices may be used to make medical decisions with pediatricians.
The classic wired pulse-oximeter monitor for long-term monitoring
The monitoring devices that are on the market come in many forms. There is a wide variety, from simple to sophisticated with mobile apps. Reliable devices can be found at online shopping sites for example on Amazon, and AliExpress.
Benefits of the wired pulse-oximeter monitor:
- Less sensitive to movement
- There are a variety of capabilities and prices
- You can connect to electricity and not rely on a battery that only lasts overnight (not recommended because of the danger of entanglement)
- I can adjust the levels of vitals signs to receive the warnings
- Attachments are suitable for baby, child or adult
Disadvantages of Wired Monitor:
- The wires are cumbersome. We lift the baby a lot when he is not relaxed, and it is not comfortable for him to be connected to the device, especially if the device is connected to electricity.
- The wires are dangerous. You must take precautions that the baby does not wrap the wires around the neck. Our baby is not rolling yet, but it is something that needs to be checked so that it does not happen. The thread is relatively short, so this should not be possible, but care should be taken.
- Most devices do not have a connection to an app that shows convenient data analysis
How the wired monitor works
Attach the sensor to the child’s leg with a strap. The sensor connects to the device with a cable. The device runs on batteries or a USB power connection.
It monitors and alerts in real-time if the vital signs fall or rise above the desired levels. You need to set up basic settings, such as date and time, and set the device to store data.
The device I received, shows the child’s vital signs at levels similar to the wireless device.
The device monitors saturation and pulse, slightly better than the wireless device during wakefulness, but both have difficulty making measurements as the child moves the leg. At night the function of both is stable and similar. A clear advantage of the wired device is the ability to control the values when the device sound an alarm.
Wireless pulse-oximeter – Owlet Smart Sock 2
The first device I have purchased and already used is called Owlet Smart Sock 2. Shira received a recommendation for it, but it was not available for purchase outside the US, through the manufacturer’s website. I found Smart Sock2, second-hand on eBay, and it arrived within a week.
I only learned about the option of international purchase from Amazon later.
What comes with the Owlet Smart Sock 2
The device comes with a base that connects to the home Internet network, a wireless sensor that monitors the vital signs, and three sizes of socks to hold the sensor. A pincode for the app, at no extra charge. The base connects to the home internet network in wifi. The sensor connects to the base via Bluetooth. It is attached to the baby’s leg with the help of the sock in three sizes: 0-2 months, 2-6, and 6 to 18 months.
A webcam is optional with the Smart Sock 3, or as a stand alone product.
The disadvantage of a second-hand order is that you might not receive exactly what you order.
I got a proper base and sensor. The small size sock was in good condition. However, I did not get the medium size, and the large sock was too worn out.
Shira sewed an alternative sock, which does the job. It also allows us to test the sensor on ourselves. The device is not exactly the right size for an adult, but manages to register data if you place it on the hand or foot at the right spot. I think it is possible to stretch the use of the device even for adults with a bit of sewing.
If your child is already older than 18 months, it’s best to just get a different option. I haven’t tested these first hand, but I will cover some options from research.
Owlet Smart Sock 3
Unfortunately, as I was pressured to get a device quickly I didn’t have time to do enough research. I did not know about the option of purchase through Amazon. Advantages of the Owlet Smart Sock 3:
- More sophisticated monitoring device
- wireless charging
- socks in two sizes that are more comfortable to put on
- Possibility to purchase a webcam (with temperature sensor) that interfaces with the app
*A webcam that records together with the pulse-oximeter on the same application is a great advantage is seizure monitoring devices.
How to use Owlet Monitor device
Unlike a device without an app, I had to sign up for the company’s service (at no extra cost to the device). The device needs internet access through the Wi-Fi network. The wired device also had some settings I had to make, but it was less complicated.
I contacted the company via the website chat, and customer service responded quickly. They helped me install the device. (There were instruction sheets in the box, but I got stuck somewhere when I tried to connect to the network).
After everything is set up, you can put the sensor in the correct sock size. Wrap the sock around the baby’s foot according to the instructions.
Now wait for the baby to fall asleep.
The device only works when the baby is not moving. You will see that is says the baby is wiggling.
It will also have a hard time getting the readings if you are in a rocking chair.
When the baby is still enough, device measures data. You will get an alert in real time if the pulse or saturation drops below the minimum.
After collecting data for at least one consecutive hour, the app can show you an analysis on sleep quality, heart rate, and saturation.
To use Owlet as seizure monitoring devices, you can share the data with your doctor. If there are many spikes in heartrate or saturation, it may hint that there are nocturnal seizures.
The device saves data even when it is not connected to the internet. It uploads the data to the app when the internet connection is restored. We had internet issue recently, so we checked out this feature in real time.
If there is no internet connection, the Owlet can still be used as a monitor. You will still get an alert if the vital signs measurements are too low.
It is possible to purchase the basic device with a webcam. The price is higher accordingly, and simple webcams can be purchased cheaper. Yet, it is convenient to have the camera in the same interface, along with the data from the monitor.
In my opinion the infrared camera is a vital part of seizure monitoring devices.
Benefits of a Wireless Monitor
- There are no cumbersome and dangerous wires attached to the baby. The base should be placed away from the crib so that the baby does not get entangled in the charging cable.
- It is easier to dress the baby. The threads are tangled with the pants. It is not possible to put on certain clothes
- An app that shows statistics on the quality of sleep at night. Works not bad.
- It is easy to take a screenshot of the data and share with the doctor for example.
- If you get the camera, it is easier to compare vital signs data and the visual recordings
Disadvantages of a Wireless Monitor
- Requires charging after 8-12 hours. If you want to monitor the baby during the day and also at night, you will need to adjust the charging breaks accordingly. We only jump at night, and not always because the baby is relatively balanced.
- The device is slightly more sensitive to movement. It will not monitor if you rock on a rocking chair for example.
- The minimum alert values are lower than the recommended in my country. 80% saturation. 60 pulse. And you can not adjust these values.
- The technology is not yet widespread, and I have not seen any more devices that are suitable for babies.
- The owlet is suitable for babies up to a year and a half only. Adults can use seizure monitoring devices such as a ring, Bracelet or Watch . I did not test the wireless devices for adults. (You can also sew a larger sock, as Shira did)
Additional Seizure monitoring devices options
We have not personally tested the devices in the next section. But the need for additional research came from the readers.
Since most of the epileptics aren’t babies, the rest of the article will be dedicated to Seizure monitoring devices for older kids and adults.
There are a variety of webcams. As I mentioned earlier, one of the options is a camera that connects to the same interface of the monitoring device. There are cameras that can be purchased separately. Cameras With a mobile connection .
And there are more sophisticated baby monitoring cameras with motion and temperature sensors . ** For the camera in the previous link, you might need to buy a special baby sleeping bag separately so that the camera can detect breathing.
However, I did not purchase this specific camera, so I’m not sure if it has any value for parents of a baby with epilepsy.
These are many monitoring devices that were not built specifically for epilepsy. However, this data may be used to monitor seizures more intelligently. I contacted several companies for more information, and I will update in their answer.
I also found a recommendation for a camera built specifically for epilepsy to detect abnormal movements.
It is important to note that a camera does not give medical data but only shows an image in order to complete the visual information of what happened while a monitoring device was working.
If there is a report in the app about abnormal pulse or saturation data, you can watch the camera and try to see what happened at that time.
Especially while parents sleep, we have no idea what is going on with the child. If the child has a seizure during sleep, it can sometimes be seen on the camera. Depending on the angle of the camera, and the cover on the child. This allows better monitoring, especially if most seizures occur during sleep.
Mattress seizure monitoring devices: Breathing or fall warning
There are sensors that are placed in under the crib or adult mattress. These are supposed to alert you to abnormal activity. For example, AngelCare or BabySense for babies or Writhings for adults.
These devices alerts when the baby does not move at all for more than 20 seconds. It is sensitive to breaths and movements, so if the baby has stopped breathing you will receive an alert. It will not necessarily help jump spasms but it is another option without wires. The device is placed under the mattress, so there is no need to attach anything to the baby.
I would not recommend such devices for monitoring for seizures. The type of data they collect does not offer enough information on seizures. Monitoring pulse and saturation gives better insights.
In addition, these devices are often overly sensitive to the wrong type of activity. They beep loudly if the baby rolls off. This could wake the baby and the parents quite a few times unnecessarily.
I received a recommendation for the Emfit, which is supposed to be adjusted to detect tonic-clonic seizures. It might be worth looking into, but was not something I could check.
When it comes to wearable seizure monitoring devices for adults, there are is a large variety. There are several products developed especially for epileptics. You can even use a smartwatch to monitor your vital signs.
Do extensive research, and note that the smartwatches are not medical devices. The use of such devices is not intended to replace medical follow-up. However, the data that your smartwatches collect may help you better understand the nature of your epilepsy.
Empatica Embrace2 Bracelet
First on the list, are the devices of Empatica. Their bracelets has been specially developed as seizure monitoring devices. Unlike smartwatches, the Embrace2, does have FDA approval as a medical device.
The watch works on the basis of motion sensors, temperature sensor and EDA sensor. When the device detects suspicious movements, it will crosscheck the other sensors. It crosschecks body temperature and electrical activity in the skin to see if the activity is appears like a seizure.
Many people recommended the bracelet, but it is not for everyone. Contact Empatica to find out if Embrace2 is suitable for your type of seizures. Consult your neurologist before purchasing.
* For US residents: A prescription from a neurologist is required to purchase the Embrace2.
If you do get tonic-clonic seizures, you will want to get help ASAP. Therefore, the Embrace2 is a great solution for this.
The Embrace2 monitors movements that may be seizures. If a seizure is detected, it sends an alert to the mobile device.
The Embrace2 costs $250. You also need to choose a monthly service cost. This starts at $ 9.9 depending on the number of people you want alerted.
Reader reviews on Embrace2
One reader told me that her son realized, at age 11, that his Embrace2 sends alerts when he erases vigorously on paper during school. He took advantage of his discovery to get his out of the school. His Embrace2 sent alerts to his parents. He got out of school several times until they realized what was going on.
Other readers said the Embrace2 did not suit them. This is because it does not detect the type of seizures they were experiencing.
Apple Watches and Seizure monitoring Apps
Apple has equipped their newer edition watches with a variety of sensors. I will refer in the article to 6th generation Apple Watch, according to the information that appears on the Apple website. Before buying an older generation watch check if it is also equipped with jump sensors.
The Apple Watch has the ability to measure saturation, pulse, and motion. Fall detection using the motion sensor can be used to send alerts for assistance.
*The Apple website states that the device does not meet the requirements for medical devices.
Our readers mention that the watch alone was not enough. To turn Apple Watches into seizure monitoring devices, there are apps need to be installed. To that end, I’ve found recommendations for two apps so far: SeizAlarm and MyMedicWatch .
These apps integrate the watch’s monitoring capabilities to produce more comprehensive tracking. Although it also adds a monthly fee, it allows for another option, especially if you already have such a watch.
I haven’t received any recommendations for Android watches so far. However although the MyMedicWatch app is also suitable for Android systems.
If you already have an Android watch that fits the specifications of the app requirements, it is worth checking out. We’d love to hear from you in the comments if you have experience with Android Watch’s monitoring capabilities for epilepsy.
You can find a variety of pulse-oximeters in the digital market websites. What you should look for is comfort, and data analysis.
For example, this ring device on Aliexpress.com, looks a lot more comfortable than the much cheaper finger clamp type. However they both have apps for data storage and analysis.
These type of devices work while you are sleeping, similarly to the devices I tested for the baby.
The purpose of the post is to introduce to you the options available in seizure monitoring devices. I want you to know why they are important, and how to use them.
I still have some testing to do, before I can say with certainty what works.
In addition, I would love to hear from you if you have a positive or negative reviews for the devices mentioned in the article. If you are familiar with devices that I did not mention, please write it in the comments.
There are a variety of different types of jumping devices that can be used for epilepsy. You should check before purchasing if they can match the type of seizures you are experiencing. Not every device is suitable for every type of epilepsy.
In any case, consult your neurologist before purchasing to make sure there is a fit. The information in this blog does not replace medical consultation.
It is advisable to equip yourself with the right combination of devices. If the seizures are mainly in sleep, it is advisable to have both a webcam and a heart rate monitor for breathing and breathing. If you have epilepsy that causes falls, you should use devices with fall detection, such as an Embrace2 device or a smartwatch.