Child locks, car seats, push-and-twist caps – all of these have the same thing in common and that is to protect your children. One device that was designed to provide extra supervision over your little bundle of joy, as well as pay you a good amount of peace-of-mind, may actually be one of the most harmful devices you can expose your family to- the baby monitor.
The problem with modern baby monitors
The majority of the wireless baby monitors that are sold in North America use transmission technology that is constantly emitting some form of radiation. This is so the receiver equipment can maintain a secure connection and stream communication. You wouldn’t put your baby’s crib with your sleeping baby next to the microwave, would you? Of course not. That’s when their little brains are growing and rejuvenating. Yet baby monitors use the exact same frequency (2.4 Ghz) that microwaves use. Even in the womb, mothers who are exposed to a lot of wireless technology are at risk for a possible increase of incidence in autism spectrum disorders and behavioral/attention disorders later on in life. See our reference guide below for the research studies.
But there’s hope! The safest solution is to install a wired intercom. That, of course, limits the parents ability to move around and get stuff done in those precious windows of time while baby is napping! Analog monitors that use the FM radio band are considered to be safer than digital monitors because they transmit via Bluetooth, WiFi energy or DECT. With a wired setup, the data from the camera will be sent via your copper in-home power lines, rather than through a pretty powerful DECT/WiFi connection.
One of our favorite EMF safety advocate, Jeromy Johnson, recommends a model like the Belly Armor SmartNova monitor. It’s way safer than most models – so much so, that it’s currently sold out and being upgraded. SmartNova Baby Monitor achieves the same clear and private communication, while emitting 97% less radiation and no pulsing radiation with a long-life battery.
How to use your wireless model more safely
If you must go with a wireless model, make sure it has voice activation. That’s key. It only transmits radiation intermittently when the baby makes noise. This reduces microwave radiation for everyone in the home.
Wireless = not secure
There’s another reason you don’t want to use a wireless baby monitor: WiFi transmissions are prone to hackers. The Internet connection and smartphone capability makes these devices easy and ideal for hacking – and it’s happening more and more.
In fact, just last month (November 2016), a Washington couple were alarmed to discover that a stranger had hacked into their Foscam baby monitor and was spying on their toddler, sometimes screaming profanities at the baby. The hacker was using the night-vision lens controls to follow the parent’s movements, narrating them to the baby i.e “oh look, daddy is walking into the room!” How creepy and utterly gross and invasive! A masked invader inside your most vulnerable room in the house – the nursery. In reality, the hacker was probably just using a laptop or smartphone app – it’s sadly that easy.
No matter what system you use:
- Place the baby monitor at least 10 feet away from the crib. We’ve done some measurements ourselves and even we wouldn’t go more than 10 feet away from them – and we are grown adults! Baby monitors are just notoriously strong when EMFs are concerned.If the baby monitor has a plug rather than batteries, ensure that the adaptor is plugged in at least 6-10 feet away from the crib.
If you must use a wireless monitor, make sure :
- Make sure it’s voice-activated.
- Buy a secure device. There’s plenty of consumer reports on security/privacy ratings of these devices.
- Use a strong password and change it every six months.
- Register your product and update software and applications regularly.
- Just like all wireless devices, our favorite Safertech advice is to turn devices off when you are not using them! Only use monitors during naptime.
A possible association between fetal/neonatal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and the increased incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14962625
Use of mobile phone during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4416385/