A Brief History of the Snoo: The $1,700 Smart Bassinet

Can an expensive bassinet help babies sleep better and reduce the risk of SIDS?

Katie Sue Webber
Katie Sue Webber
Mom to two sweet little boys. Helping moms is her passion.
Last updated
February 28, 2023

The Snoo has become synonymous with luxury parenting and sleep safety. Retailing for $1,700, the tech bassinet markets itself as helping babies sleep better through the night and reducing the risk of SIDS. But does it hold true to those promises?

Created by Dr. Harvy Karp, author of 2002 bestseller "The Happiest Baby on the Block”, the Snoo uses technology to deliver the “five S’s; techniques intended to help kids sleep: swaddling, shushing, swinging, side-lying, and sucking.”

Dr. Karp combined the five S’s with keeping babies on their back, which is thought to prevent SIDS. Technically, the Snoo doesn’t claim to prevent SIDS, but to “prevent behaviors that contribute to SIDS” such as stomach sleeping. Happiest Baby has its own study, which hasn’t been fully peer reviewed, that indicates the Snoo adds an hour or two of sleep at night. However, there aren’t many independent peer-reviewed studies to support or refute that claim.

Dr. Karp coined the term "fourth trimester" and claims that babies need a significant amount of touch and comfort during the first three months. Ironically, the Snoo uses technology to replace human touch, but Dr. Karp also identified the very real problem of parents feeling isolated and needing an extra hand, especially in the middle of the night. With the invention of the Snoo, Karp basically said, “here’s something that can be that extra set of hands. Instead of having grandparents living with you, maybe this is something that you can rely on to do that extra shift as a parent.”

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