A temperature monitor for babies gives new parents peace of mind


For parents of newborns, a fever in the middle of the night is a cause for worry.

But now they have a way to calm their nerves as they wait for the doctor to call: A new wearable temperature monitor that tracks their baby’s fever and supplies a library of information from Boston Children’s Hospital about fevers in infants.

The “iThermonitor,” made by Beijing company Raiing Medical, is a wearable thermometer that syncs with a smartphone app. Earlier this year, the company licensed a database from Thermia, an online resource developed by Boston Children’s hospital that supplies parents with information about fevers, symptoms, and appropriate dosages of fever medication.

The iThermonitor is stuck under the arm using a hypoallergenic adhesive pad. Temperature sensors measure the body’s heat, and transmits that data to a smartphone via Bluetooth every four seconds.

When a child is sporadically running a temperature and resting, parents can let them sleep and still monitor their fever, explained Raiing Medical president Rong Xia.

Xia said the iThermonitor can also be used to alert doctors of a spiking fever — the first signs of an infection in patients who have undergone surgery or chemotherapy. In April, the company began a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital on a clinical trial with children who are being treated for cancer, to determine if the device can reliably deliver that alert.

Raiing Medical is a member of the Harvard Innovation Launch Lab, a springboard for young companies in the early stages of selling their products.

Among the features on the iThermonitor app is Thermia’s educational tool that allows parents to enter their child’s weight, body temperature, and related symptoms, as a first-stop for reliable information about what may be ailing their child.

“When your kid is sick, and you’re scared and you don’t know what to do, a lot of people reach out to the Internet. I would be on Google immediately,” said Jared Hawkins, a researcher at the HealthMap group at Boston Children’s, and father of a 3-month-old.

Though other websites like Wikipedia and WebMD offer tips and suggestions for medical concerns, the goal with Thermia was to establish a reliable resource backed by a trusted name, and “not bury people with information,” Hawkins said.

Hawkin’s team built the website with guidance from doctors from Children’s, but is careful to note that Thermia doesn’t offer diagnoses. The website was launched in January, 2014, but has yet to be widely publicized. Even so, Hawkins and his team saw a steady uptick in visitors during flu season, and he estimates about 10,000 people have visited the site.

The Thermia project is an extension of the HealthMap group’s strategy to tap into health data shared on social media, or crowdsourced by volunteers. Termia users do not have to provide names or private details, but their temperature and weight details are incorporated into Thermia’s database. Eventually, with a large bank of anonymized data, the goal is to provide parents with information about health trends in their area.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at [email protected]
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