Hugsy’s tech-infused blankets mimic parents’ heartbeats to create a comforting environment and help babies and young children sleep.
The Dutch start-up was inspired by chief executive and co-founder Sylvie Claes’ experience of working in a local hospital. Claes wanted to create a means for young babies – particularly those on medical support – to avoid missing early physical contact with a parent, which research suggests helps to encourage early development.
Responding to this, Hugsy offers soft children’s accessories that retain parents’ scents and sounds to create a relaxing environment without the need for 24-hour care.
For babies aged zero to four months, the Hugsy Pouch swaddling blanket encourages skin-to-skin cuddle-like contact between the parent and child – widely known as ‘kangaroo care’. The blanket’s material absorbs the parent’s scent during this close contact, enabling the blanket to comfort the child when the adult is absent.
The blanket is used in conjunction with the Hugsy Heartbeat, a separate small electronic device that records the parent’s heartbeat via a fingertip sensor and continues to project its rhythm when placed beside the infant in its crib.
Also available is the Hugsy Cuddle, which is suitable for children up to four years old. The bear-inspired blanket comprises a detachable scent cloth that can be worn in the bra or under the shirt of the parent to transfer the familiar smell onto the fabric. The cloth can then be reattached, while the Hugsy Heartbeat can be placed inside the bear’s head.