When it comes to our children, it’s important to stay informed and make the right decision to keep them safe. That’s why I started to research about the radiation created by baby monitor. What I found was shocking but not hopeless. Here’s the truth about baby monitor and radiation.
All wireless baby monitor create a small amount of radiation. The microwave radiation is produced when the monitor is transmitting information. The exposure is not an imminent threat, but you take specific action to keep your baby safe.
To better understand this issue let start with the basics.
I have first researched the definition of the followings words. They are commonly used to explain the topic.
Radiation: the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles, especially high-energy particles that cause ionization.
Non-Ionizing radiation: it refers to the type of electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy to ionize atoms or molecules.
Microwave: an electromagnetic wave used in radar, in communications, and for heating in microwave ovens and various industrial processes.
Frequency: the rate at which the vibration happens that establishes a wave in an electromagnetic field.
How does a wireless baby monitor work?
One of the most convenient aspects of a baby monitor is their portability. To send information, wireless baby monitors transmit over a digital or analog frequency.
Analog baby monitor
The standard analog monitors are transmitting like an FM radio. They broadcast at a frequency of 40 to 900 MHz. While being more accessible because of the price, they tend to be more sensitive to the interference from other wireless devices in your home. But, an analog monitor does not have the option of video. They only transmit audio.
The analog monitor is considered to be safer than digital.
Digital baby monitor
On the other hand, the digital monitors are transmitting on a higher frequency around 1800 to 2400 MHz. They use different types of technologies to send the information without a cable, like WIFI and Bluetooth.
Also, many will use the DECT, the Digital Enhanced Cordless Communication, a phone technology, for an encrypted and stronger signal.
But, when placed beside a microwave, an internet router, or a cordless phone, they can suffer from interference too.
The digital monitor creates more emissions.
Is there a safe level of radiation for a baby?
Most parents from my generation grew up listing to the radio. We all had an AM-FM radio in our houses. The frequencies level coming out of the radio is low, and we were fine.
Still, we knew that living too close to the radio tower could be harmful.
Today, the frequencies coming out of the digital device are more biologically active. Which mean, they have a stronger effect on the human body. The digital monitor must continuously create microwave radiation to transmit such heavier frequencies.
Both ends of the monitor produce this radiation. You and your baby are getting exposed to the microwave radiation.
What the expert think about it?
In a research from 2011, the experts from the International Agency for Research on Cancer said that all type of radio frequencies could be linked to cancer.
They classified the wireless radiation has a class B carcinogen.
Based on their research, an adult who used a wireless device as a teen have four times more risk of developing a brain tumour.
For your information, class B carcinogens include well-known elements such as lead, chloroform and ethylbenzene.
Also, the microwave radiation from a wireless baby monitor is known to be at the same level from a cell phone tower at 500 feet away than your monitor 3 feet away.
From what I founded their no safe level of exposure. But, it’s more how much time your baby is exposed, that will judge if it’s safe or not.
What is the danger of radiation for my baby?
The more information the baby monitor is sending, the more radiation it creates. Some baby monitor has sensors for temperature and breathing, and some also stream an HD video image with the ability to control the cameras.
Those baby monitors are working at the same electromagnetic frequencies than your WI-FI router, cordless phone and microwaves.
Would you have a microwave in your baby’s room? Would you install a cell phone tower in your backyard? I wouldn’t!
The problem is the constant flow of information
When they are active, wireless baby monitors have to emit massive microwave radiation continually.
These microwaves can impact the growth of the brain, the sleep, the immune and reproductive system of your baby. Because the brain is developing until around the age of the 20, it’s is extremely sensitive to microwave radiation.
The long-term effect of microwave radiation
Today, scientists and experts are not fully aware of the long-term effect of microwave radiation on the development of the brain. But, research showed that exposure to wireless radiation could impaired memory and create hyperactivity. Also, studies on cell phone usage, have revealed an increase in brain activity in the area exposed.
The scientists from the World Health Organization are saying that safety cannot be assured and more research is required to elucidate the question.
I know, this is not reassuring! But bear with me while I explain more about the effect of radiation on the body.
What are the effects of radiation from a baby monitor on the body?
All wireless baby monitors produce non-Ionizing radiation. This type of radiation has two sorts of effects on the body: a thermal and a non-thermal effect.
Non-Ionizing radiation will not penetrate too deep into the tissues but will increase the chance of damage to the skin. Non-ionising radiation could cause localized heating, or photochemical reactions can occur with possible permanent harm.
The thermal effect of non-Ionizing radiation
To cleary imagine what the thermal effect is, imagine what a microwave is doing to the food while heating it. It’s the same action that happens to the body when we are close to a wireless phone or baby monitor. The radiation heats up the body tissues.
What is the safe amount of radiation that can absorb by the body?
The Federal Communications Commission is labelling a device as Safe when it’s creating an amount of radiation under 1.6 watts per Kg.
But, the absorption rate measure is a false sense of security.
How is the FCC calculating this?
Back in 1993, when the safe rate was created, exposure to wireless radiation was way less than today.
It does not take into consideration the multiple devices that we are using during the day.
Also, that study was not aimed at children in particular.
A study done in 1996, reveal that children are exposed to more wireless devices than adults.
Considering the thinner skull of children, the radiation has less resistance before reaching the brain. It’s even more critical when you think about a newborn baby.
There’s also a non-thermal effect to radiation
The experts from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine have linked the radiation effect to cancer, kidney damage, development interference, but also the nervous system, reproductive system, immune system dysfunction.
Compare the thermal effect; there is no measure or guideline for the non-thermal effect. Their no way to know how much is too much and this trouble me.
5 solutions to limit the radiation exposure
You are probably nervous about using your baby monitor, and I don’t blame you for it. When I first started researching on this topic, I began to notice all the wireless device in the house. I felt hopeless.
Before you throw away your baby monitor, along with the microwave and the wifi router, read the following.
1. Only use the baby monitor when you need to
Too many parents get caught in the vicious circle of using the baby monitor every night and all night.
I almost never used my baby monitor at night while been home. I didn’t need a baby monitor because the kid’s room was so close to the living room. I could hear them easily without the baby monitor.
I only use it on special occasions. For example: when we have friends over, when we listen to loud music or TV, when we sit outside, when we travel or when I was doing chores while my baby was napping.
The monitor where turn off on most normal weekdays.
If you don’t let the monitor working all night and if you only use it once in a while, you probably don’t have to worry.
I don’t feel any guilt by using a baby monitor. I’m not a radiation expert, but I did research on the subject, and I feel pretty comfortable with my wireless video baby monitor.
If you want to take extra precaution here’s the feature you could need.
2. Voice Activation
The baby monitor you want to look for should be voice-activated. This type of monitor only transmits sounds and emit radiation, just when it senses a noise coming from your baby room.
It will reduce the amount of microwave radiation your kid will be exposed to.
But, it not all voice-activated monitor that operate like this. The good one will not emit radiation while not broadcasting, but some will only shut off the unwanted noise (aka the white noise).
For more in-depth information, check out my article on what is voice activation (VOX) on a baby monitor?
3. Hardwired baby monitor
Is there a zero-emission baby monitor? The solution is a hard-wired baby monitor. You will still benefit from the functionalities of a video baby monitor, but the data from your camera will be transmitted via your Ethernet cable instead of the powerful microwave antenna from a wireless baby monitor. You can watch the monitor from your computer.
The principal advantage of a corded baby monitor is the microwave free environment you provide to your baby.
The only downside is the portability. But, you were probably only going to use the monitor in the kid’s room.
For more in-depth information, check out my article on what is voice activation (VOX) on a baby monitor?
4. Find the lowest radiation baby monitor
If you are planning on using your baby monitor every day and still be able to carry it from room to room, I would suggest going for the safest analog baby monitor you can find.
The analog baby monitors have a low radiation emission. Check out for a monitor who broadcast at a low-frequency band. Around 40 MHz would be better than the 2400 MHz from the other modern monitor.
You will have to sacrifice some features by using this type of monitor. The audio quality may not be crystal clear. The range of the signal may not be as powerful as the other monitor.
The bottom line about baby monitor radiation
It’s all come to common sense. Moderation is the key, and you should always ask your self if what you are doing is necessary or is it just a habit. Don’t use your baby monitor all the time. And when you do so, install the monitor at a safe distance from your baby (at least 3 feet away).
Limit the number of wireless devices you have around the house, especially in your kid’s room. Don’t leave them on all the time.
If you follow those guidelines, it’s safe to use any baby monitor.
Otherwise, look for the safest monitor in the category you need.
P.S. If you’re seeking for the best baby monitor and hoping to find real reviews from real parents. You should check out this list I created of the top baby monitors of 2021.
To get the best insights and tips to find the best baby monitor, I read more than 300 reviews online and ask my friends or others parents. From all their insights and my own experience, I’ve built this list of the best baby monitors.
- Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones – World Health Organization
- IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans
- Radio Frequency Safety – FCC
- Electromagnetic and Radiofrequency Fields Effect on Human Health – American Academy of Environmental Medicine
- Digital Cordless Baby Monitors – Power Watch
- Creating a Safe Home – National Association for Children and Safe Technology
- Health Canada needs to issue warning about Wireless Baby Monitors – Dr. Magda Havas, PhD.