Dream Sock: Avoiding Red Marks

A very small percentage of Owlet users may experience skin redness or irritation. Our research, in partnership with dermatologists and pediatricians, shows that these marks are not thermal burns. In fact, our Dream Sock devices have built-in temperature sensors to ensure the device stays at a very safe temperature. Red marks on the skin typically occur from a combination of pressure, moisture, and friction. Similar to a new pair of shoes that do not fit quite right, pressure and friction may cause the skin to break down. Closely following Owlet’s instructions will greatly minimize the risk of skin breakdown or irritation on your little one’s foot. 

Red mark prevention: 

Alternate Feet: Alternate the sock from left to right about every 2 weeks, or more frequently if redness is noticed.

Minimize moisture: Ensure the foot is completely dry prior to placement, and avoid using lotion or any skin products underneath the device. Also, avoid extra socks, or layers of fabric over the device to prevent sweaty feet. Footless pajamas may be beneficial if your child has very sweaty feet.

Use correct sock size, and associated foot: There are two fabric sock sizes included in the box, size 1 and size 2, which are based on your child’s weight. There are also separate fabric socks for the right and left foot. See this Link to determine proper sizing for your child. 

Correctly position the device: Ensure the Owlet is positioned and adjusted correctly, which should always be on the outer edge of the foot. Do not over tighten. See this Link to view the placement guide. 

Inspect the Velcro: When placing the Owlet, double check that the rough side of the velcro is not touching the skin. If it is, you will need to reposition the straps.

Spot clean your sock & electronic sensor: We recommend spot cleaning your sock & electronic sensor every 2 weeks to prevent irritation. Closely follow our cleaning instructions here

Keep sock in good Condition: Inspect the sock & sensor for rips, tears, or deformities that may alter the intended fit of the device.

Assess the feet daily: Check your child’s feet each night for redness. If you  notice irritation that has persisted from the previous night on that foot, please discontinue use on the affected foot and follow the instructions in the section below on what to do when your child has a red mark. 

Common red mark causes: 

Pressure: Pressure marks are injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. These can be caused by:

  • Overtightening 
  • Not alternating between feet
  • Pressure on a bony prominence of the foot
  • Incorrect sizing 

Moisture: Extra moisture underneath the Owlet can cause the device to stick to the skin, which results in increased friction when the baby kicks. This happens most commonly underneath the plastic windows, but can occur under the entire Sock. To minimize moisture under the skin:

  • Avoid putting lotion underneath the Owlet
  • Ensure the feet are completely dry prior to placing the Owlet on the foot
  • If your little one tends to have sweaty feet, reduce the layers of clothing over the foot to increase ventilation, and keep the child’s room at a comfortable cool temperature.

Friction: A friction mark is a form of abrasion caused by skin rubbing against a surface. This may also be referred to as a “friction burn”. Similar to when you hike in a new pair of shoes, friction can result in breakdown on the outer layer of the skin, or in more severe cases, may result in a blister. You can prevent friction marks from occurring by:

  • Ensuring no velcro is touching the skin when placing the Owlet on the foot
  • Minimizing moisture underneath the Owlet.
  • Ensuring correct sizing and placement.

Incorrect placement: Incorrect placement of the device can cause pressure in areas that it is not designed to be. 

  • The Owlet has separate socks for right and left feet. Using incorrect socks can put your child at risk for pressure marks–similar to wearing a right shoe on your left foot. 
  • The sensor should always rest on the outer edge of the foot near the pinky toes. Never place the Owlet on the “arch” or inside of the foot near the big toe.
  • The two wings of the sensor are like two slices of bread with your little one's foot  sandwiched between them.
  • If Velcro is touching your child’s skin, you will need to reposition the straps. This also may be a sign to size-up.

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Bony prominences on the feet: As babies grow, they begin to lose that cushion of fat surrounding their feet and bony prominences begin to appear on the outer edge of the foot. Because the flat metal plate of the sensor rests on the outer edge of the foot, it can cause the majority of the pressure of the sock to be absorbed by this bony prominence. This localized pressure on a single spot increases your child’s risk for a pressure mark. If you notice redness on the outer edge of the foot, try: 

  • Repositioning the sensor to sit slightly more on top of the foot, which can prevent placement from being directly on top of their bone. This can redistribute the pressure of the Owlet more evenly across the skin. 
  • Each child’s foot anatomy is different, so you may need to continue to play around with slight adjustments of the placement angle over that bone until you find what works for your child. 
  • Note: While this adjustment may seem to contradict the typical instructions for placement, this is an exception to accommodate a bony prominence your child may have.

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Unwashed Sensor: An unwashed fabric sock and sensor can harbor dirt, oils, and bacteria causing skin irritation. See the Owlet Cleaning instructions here.

  • Spot clean the sock & sensor every 2 weeks as directed in this link.
  • Ensure all the detergent residue is rinsed from the fabric.

Harsh Soaps: Dish soap, hand soap, or antibacterial soap have proven to be too harsh for prolonged exposure against baby skin. We recommend using water with a small drop of laundry detergent to clean your Owlet Device. 

  • To prevent a skin reaction, use the detergent your little one’s skin is already used to. 
  • Dilute the detergent in water to prevent excessive detergent buildup in the fabric
  • Keep in mind that the soap you use may leave a slight residue on the fabric, which will be resting on your little one’s skin. Rinse the fabric well. 
  • Avoid using baby wipes, as those leave behind a residue that may irritate the skin. 

Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of an area of skin caused by an increased production of melanin pigment. This can result from the way the skin heals after an irritation or as a response to the blue LED light in the sensor. 

  • A hyperpigmentation mark appears as a flat brown mark under the LED light, and may look like a “tan”.
  • Hyperpigmentation marks are not painful or uncomfortable.
  • Hyperpigmentation is not dangerous, it is a cosmetic side effect. 
  • Hyperpigmentation is more common in babies with darker complexions, or skin tones that tan easily.
  • There is no treatment necessary, and it is safe to continue use. Hyperpigmentation marks will resolve on their own, though it can take several weeks or even months to fade.

What to do when your child has a red mark: 

CAUTION: Re-applying the Owlet to compromised skin will prevent it from healing, and may cause increased damage to the skin. Do NOT place the Owlet on a current red mark. Follow the instructions below.

  1. If the redness persists to the following night, rotate the device to the opposite foot. Avoid placing the Owlet on the affected foot until redness completely resolves. Healing time can take 2-3 weeks, which is the typical length of a skin shedding cycle.
  2. If irritation or redness is present on both feet, discontinue use on both feet until irritation heals. 
  3. Complete this self- assessment: 
    • Line the Owlet up with the mark- which portion of the device is resting on top of the mark?
    • Is the sock placed correctly on the foot?
    • Are you using the correct sock & size?
    • Are you rotating feet regularly?
    • Are you avoiding lotion?
    • Is the mark on a bony prominence of the foot?
    • Are you cleaning both the fabric sock and sensor according to instruction?
  4. Encourage healing by avoiding any pressure on the mark. 
  5. Keep any open skin covered and clean to prevent infection. Note: If the skin appears to show signs of infection, shows pus or drainage, or your child has a fever greater than 100.4F, please contact your healthcare provider for appropriate treatment.
  6. You may notice the mark beginning to peel & flake off over time, which is a good sign of healing.
  7. If you have additional questions or concerns about skin issues, please contact Owlet Customer Support where you will be forwarded to an on-staff Registered Nurse who can assist you.
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