STERLING HEIGHTS — A Sterling Heights startup company is introducing a new breathing monitor for infants to prevent death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, accidental suffocation and asthma.

Brothers Ryan and Pete Santangelo founded SafeToSleep last year after selling an earlier company that provided background music to jails and prisons.

That company gave the Santangelos a lot of contacts in Asia for contract manufacturers and software developers.

“We kept getting a lot of proposals to develop technology,” Ryan Santangelo said. “One was using fiber optics to gauge movement. My brother and I both being parents, the first thing we thought of was baby monitors.”

The SafeTo Sleep sleep mat is embedded with a mesh of fiber optics. When the baby moves — even tiny movements caused by breathing — the system picks up the tiny differences in the light transmitted through the optics caused by the motion.

“It’s super sensitive to the tiny differences in light,” he said.

Information on baby’s breathing is streamed by Bluetooth radio to either a smartphone over an app, or a parent device Santangelo called “the granny unit.”

The system sounds alarms whenever baby’s breathing drops below 10 breaths a minute (from the normal 30 to 60). There’s also an alarm for rapid breathing, which can be caused by an asthma attack.

Now available after a six-month hospital trial, the device is available for $329 at The company’s working on other distribution now.


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