BBB National Programs Archive
Following NAD Inquiry, Owlet Baby Care to Modify Disclosures for its Smart Sock Baby Monitor to More Clearly Limit Usage to Informational Purposes Only
New York, NY – June 19, 2019 – Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division, Owlet Baby Care, Inc. has agreed to modify the product disclosure on the purchase page for its Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor to more clearly disclose the information-gathering nature of the device, explain that the Smart Sock is meant to be used by healthy babies, and eliminate assurances in the disclosure that the product provides peace of mind to parents.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBBNP’s self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.
As part of NAD’s routine monitoring program, NAD requested substantiation for claims that included:
- “Owlet Smart Sock uses pulse oximetry to track heart and oxygen levels and send real-time insights to your phone. It also includes a base station which glows green to reassure you baby is okay but will notify you if heart rate and oxygen levels leave preset zones.”
- “Owlet Stories” – stories from parents – (“So thankful we were able to catch this early,” “Our first red notification,” “How did you know? High heart rate at home.”)
- “The Smart Sock comfortably wraps around your baby’s foot to track heart rate and oxygen levels using clinically-proven pulse oximetry.”
NAD also considered whether the challenged advertising conveyed the implied claims that use of the Owlet Smart Sock can prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and save your baby’s life.
The Owlet Smart Sock is a wearable baby monitor that alerts parents when their babies’ oxygen levels and heart rates depart from preset levels while the babies are asleep. After reviewing confidential studies submitted by the advertiser, NAD concluded that it supported its claims that the Smart Sock provides accurate oxygen and heart rate readings.
However, NAD noted in its decision its concern that the advertising conveys unsupported messages regarding the capability of the Smart Sock, which is essentially an information gathering device that parents can use as a tool to take action and make decisions regarding their baby’s care (e.g. call a doctor or visit an emergency room). In particular, NAD focused on advertising that tells parents that the product will “reassure you baby is okay” and thus allow parents to achieve “peace of mind,” which NAD determined can reasonably imply that use of the Smart Sock can prevent SIDS and save your baby’s life. The advertiser acknowledged that devices like the Smart Sock do not prevent SIDS, and consumers should adhere to the safe sleep guidelines generally recommended by pediatricians to reduce the risk of SIDS.
In light of the messages reasonably conveyed by the advertising, NAD recommended that the advertiser limit the scope of the aforementioned claims through the use of a clear and conspicuous disclosure. NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its disclosures for the Smart Sock to (1) limit use of the Smart Sock for information purposes only as it does not prevent SIDS (including a warning to follow pediatrician-recommended sleep guidance); (2) limit use of the Smart Sock to healthy babies as it does not replace a medical monitor; and (3) eliminate assurances in the disclosure that the product provides peace of mind. NAD further recommended that the advertiser move the disclosure to the product purchasing page, in close proximity to the product performance claims, and placed in such a manner that it is easy to notice, read and understand.
Finally, NAD determined that the advertiser’s testimonial stories (recounted as part of “Owlet stories”) accurately reflect how the Smart Sock is meant to be used and did not overstate the capabilities of the Smart Sock. Namely, parents in the stories received a notification and then used the information generated by the device to make a decision to seek medical attention for their children, resulting in treatment and medical diagnoses.
In its advertiser’s statement, Owlet Baby Care stated that it will comply with the recommendations of NAD and “appreciates the opportunity to participate in NAD’s self-regulatory process.”