Pulse Oximeter


Somebody's oximeter.

Image by tiswango via Flickr


A pulse oximeter is a small device that is placed on a baby’s foot, wrist or finger and held in place using stretchy bandage, the Oximeter may be a separate monitor or part of a larger heart and lung monitor.

The oximeter uses a probe that has a red light and a sensor to measure baby’s oxygen levels. As the light travels through the skin to the sensor, it measures the amount of haemoglobin that is carrying oxygen in the blood.

This sensor does not harm the baby in any way. It enables the medical staff to determine whether the baby needs more or less oxygen, while reducing the need for painful blood tests.


In premature babies the location of the probe is often rotated several times a day to prevent the light from damaging the premature babies very delicate skin and in preemie babies the oximeter is more likely to be placed on the foot rather than the baby’s tiny finger.

Pulse oximeter readings must be accompanied by the percentage of oxygen the baby is breathing, and the baby’s respiratory rate, for the results to be meaningful, therefore the device is often connected to a medical monitor so staff can see the baby’s oxygenation at all times. Most monitors also display the baby’s heart rate.

Premature babies in NICU who have a Pulse Oximeter fitted to their foot might required footless sleepsuits, these can be purchased from Prem2Pram and are available in pink or blue stripped teddy bear fabric or plain white which can be personalised with baby’s name.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. elaine tanti
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 20:11:56

    hi i would like to buy a pulse oximeter for my 14 month baby. He is oxygen dependant and need it urgently.
    Can you send me your best quote for this and also most important it needs to be as above the end of the wire with the stretchy band so to put it on my babys toe at night for continious check and not the one with the clip.
    Do you send to Malta? If yes what is the shipping fee.
    thankyou very much
    elaine tanti


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