Every year, 15 million babies are born prematurely and 1 million die even though 75% could have been saved if they had been given proper care. However, modern neonatal care is too complex and costly to be given to all, and simpler, safer, and cheaper medical technology must be developed to end preventable child mortality. A good example of this need is blood gas monitoring, which is an important method to monitor the health of preterm infants, but suffers from considerable complexity and safety problems that limit its usefulness. For example, it requires the skin to be heated to harmful levels and needs to be attached with strong adhesives that risk tearing the skin. We use patented gas sensor technology that we initially developed to look for signs of past or present life on Mars to perform blood gas monitoring in a completely novel way. Thanks to this sensor’s unique properties, our prototype requires neither heating nor adhesives to perform the measurements and, hence, can facilitate both safer and simpler monitoring of the infants’ health.