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'Smart Diaper' with QR code may track tots' health

New disposable diapers making a run on Indiegogo test a baby's pee to track urinary tract infections, dehydration, or kidney woes.

Ryan Jaslow
Ryan Jaslow is CBSNews.com's health editor.
Ryan Jaslow
2 min read
The QR code on a Smart Diaper can send information parents and doctors can track through a smartphone. Pixie Scientific

Next up for the square-shaped bar codes called QR codes: your baby's diapers?

Pixie Scientific has created a "Smart Diaper" that tests a baby's urine. Parents can then scan the QR code on the diaper and receive information about their child's health.

The device claims to track changes in a baby's urine, potentially showing signs of a urinary tract infection, prolonged dehydration, or risk for kidney problems. When a baby pees, test strips surrounding the QR code will pick up the waste and start the testing process.

Parents are asked to scan the QR code located on the back of the Smart Diaper once a day with their smartphones. The app's algorithms will instantly analyze the contents, according to the makers. Scanning the diaper daily can provide a picture of any changes that may signal health problems, claims Pixie Scientific, which is currently raising funds for the product on Indiegogo.

"By taking useful data from a wet Smart Diaper, we make use of something that would normally be thrown directly into the trash," reads the company's Web site. "Smart Diapers alert you to certain conditions that require immediate attention and also track your child's health for months or years, automatically looking for emerging trends."

Urinary tract infections affect about 3 percent of U.S. children every year, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases, accounting for more than 1 million visits to pediatricians annually.

It is important to treat urinary quickly in infants or it could lead to complications. WebMD reports that a babies younger than 3 months old may need to get hospitalized and receive IV medicine following a urinary infection.

Since urine test strips are part of the diaper it's technically a medical device, so the Smart Diaper still needs approval by the Food and Drug Administration before it hits the market.

The New York Times reports that diaper is to be tested at Benioff Children's Hospital at the University of California, San Francisco, and Columbia University's children's hospital in New York is also considering an experiment.

This story originally appeared on CBSNews.com.