Baby Monitors Guides

Is WiFi Safe for Baby?

Sandra W Bullock

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I have extensively researched various topics to provide valuable guidance to parents regarding Wi-Fi exposure, specifically focusing on the effects of EMF radiation in a baby’s nursery. One topic that continues to spark debate is the safety of Wi-Fi regarding baby’s health. Given the widespread use of Wi-Fi devices and technology in our daily lives, you must comprehend any potential risks involved.

This guide is part of our series on baby product safety hazards that can pose health risks to your little one.

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi, or wireless internet, is a technology that uses radio waves to connect devices to the internet without the need for physical cables. It has become an integral part of our lives, enabling us to stay connected and access information quickly and conveniently.

I have been using Wi-Fi personally since the late 1990s, and with two decades of consistent internet connectivity, I have deepened my understanding of this subject through college coursework and my work as a science researcher specializing in electromagnetic radiation.

When I embarked on my research about Wi-Fi safety, I was unaware of the extensive body of research available on the impact of electromagnetic radiation. Since the late 1800s, scientists have diligently studied the effects of electromagnetic waves on various materials, making it one of the most extensively researched physical phenomena. Consensus has been reached that at the frequencies used by Wi-Fi, cell phones, and TV signals, there is no detrimental effect on any form of life.

However, there is a growing group of scientists who express skepticism toward the widely accepted notion that Wi-Fi devices are harmless. They argue that the high-frequency radiation emitted by such devices could potentially pose a threat to human health, particularly for infants and young children.

In this article, I aim to present an objective overview for both proponents and skeptics of the potentially harmful effects of Wi-Fi radiation. By providing you with the necessary tools, I empower you to make informed decisions on this matter. Additionally, I will delve into the question of whether it is safe to have a Wi-Fi router in a baby’s nursery and explore the feasibility of placing it near the crib.

Is Wi-Fi safe for Baby?

The safety of Wi-Fi radiation has been a topic of concern for many parents, especially those with young children. With the increasing use and dependence on technology in our daily lives, it is natural for parents to question the potential impact on their child’s health.

Firstly, it is essential to understand that Wi-Fi operates at a frequency called radiofrequency (RF) waves. These waves are non-ionizing, meaning they do not have enough energy to cause DNA damage in living organisms. Unlike ionizing radiation, which is harmful to human health, the non-ionizing radiation used by Wi-Fi devices does not possess enough energy to cause any harm.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that there is no consistent evidence of adverse health effects caused by exposure to RF waves. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report where they stated that there is currently no evidence to support the claim that Wi-Fi radiation poses a threat to children’s health.

However, some studies have suggested that exposure to high levels of RF waves can cause thermal effects in living organisms, such as an increase in body temperature. However, these studies have been conducted in laboratory settings, where the exposure levels were significantly higher than what we experience in our daily lives.

Wi-Fi signals transmitted by home devices ranging from Wi-Fi routers, microwaves, cordless phones, cell phones, baby monitors, smart night lights, and other household appliances emit low levels of RF waves. However, the distance between these devices and the human body plays a significant role in determining the level of exposure.

First, let’s understand electromagnetic radiation:

It is a type of energy that comes from electromagnetic waves, which are created by the interaction between electricity and magnetism. These waves exist on a spectrum, with ionizing radiation (such as X-rays and gamma rays) on one end and non-ionizing radiation (such as radiofrequency waves used in Wi-Fi) on the other.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to break chemical bonds or cause damage to cells and DNA. This means that it cannot cause cancer or other health issues, unlike ionizing radiation.

Electromagnetic(EM) waves can also be categorized based on their frequency and wavelength. The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength and vice versa. Wi-Fi signals fall under the category of radiofrequency (RF) waves, with a lower frequency and longer wavelength compared to ionizing radiation.

EM waves with frequencies larger than visible light can be harmful to humans. The radiation produced by phones and Wi-Fi has a much lower frequency than visible light and usually passes through the body without interaction. As a general rule, EM waves can only interact with objects larger than their wavelength. Visible light, with a wavelength close to the size of our cells, allows us to see it. EM waves with lower frequencies used for data transmission cannot interact with us at a cellular level.

Studies Supporting Harmful Wi-FI and EMF Radiation:

An increasing number of scientists have conducted studies aiming to demonstrate that children absorb higher levels of radiation from Wi-Fi compared to adults.

One highly cited research article by Martin L. Pall, entitled “Wi-Fi is a Significant Threat to Human Health,” was published in 2017 under a Creative Commons License. The study aligns with the findings of multiple studies on Wi-Fi, which demonstrate that it can cause oxidative stress, damage to sperm and testicles, neuropsychiatric effects such as changes in EEG patterns, apoptosis, cellular DNA damage, alterations in hormone levels, and calcium overload.

Study #1: Children absorb more WI-Fi than adults:

Moreover, it has been observed that babies absorb even more Wi-Fi radiation than older children or adults. The impact of Wi-Fi radiation on infants is particularly noteworthy, surpassing its effects on older individuals.

Children are particularly vulnerable as the bone marrow in their heads absorbs radiation 10 times more than that of adults. In Europe, The Council of Europe has expressed concerns regarding the installation of routers in schools. It recommends a precautionary level of 100 µW/m² in classrooms. However, in many schools, radiation levels are often 10 times higher due to the simultaneous emission of signals by multiple devices. Consequently, some European countries have even prohibited the use of Wi-Fi in classrooms. Below, you will find further details.

Study #2: Calcium overload

Another 2014 study found that Wi-Fi exposure increased intracellular calcium levels in the hippocampus region of the brain, which is responsible for memory and learning. This could have implications on early childhood development, as well as long-term cognitive function.

Study #3: Reduced sperm count

Some studies also suggest that prenatal exposure to Wi-Fi radiation may reduce sperm count and motility in male offspring later in life. In a study published in the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology, researchers found that pregnant mice exposed to Wi-Fi radiation produced male offspring with significantly lower sperm counts and decreased motility.

Study #4: Wi-FI exposure causes oxidative stress:

In addition, multiple studies have shown that Wi-Fi radiation can cause oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body, leading to cell damage and potential health issues. This Report has more details on oxidative stress.

Study #5: Effects on Sleep Patterns

Wi-Fi radiation has also been linked to disruptions in sleep patterns, which are critical for a baby’s growth and development. A study published in the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy found that exposure to Wi-Fi radiation significantly reduced sleep time, increased activity during sleep, and decreased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in rats. However, a recent 2020 study conducted on adults concluded that there are no significant immediate effects of overnight Wi-Fi exposure on subjective sleep parameters or the overall structure of sleep. However, upon analyzing the finer details of sleep, it was observed that acute Wi-Fi exposure led to a decrease in global EEG power within the alpha frequency range (8.00-11.75 Hz) during NREM sleep, as compared to the sham condition. causes

Beware of misleading studies on the harmful effects of Wi-Fi on babies;

It is important to approach claims about baby safety, including potential dangers of Wi-Fi signals, with caution. In 2017, publications such as Buzzfeed reported on a paper that suggested a link between Wi-Fi and autism, but the study was criticized for its pseudoscience. Prominent scholars, such as Dorothy Bishop, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Oxford specializing in developmental conditions like autism, and David Robert Grimes, a medical physicist also at the University of Oxford, have refuted the findings of the 2017 paper.

Bishop and Grimes emphasized that the claims made in the paper could potentially cause harm and stated that there is no scientifically plausible way for Wi-Fi to have such effects. They pointed out that the energy in Wi-Fi radiation is significantly lower than even visible light and that the authors of the Child Development study failed to provide a credible mechanism for the alleged effects.

Are Wi-Fi Routers safe for babies?

While certain studies have suggested that prolonged exposure to EMF radiation emitted by devices like Wi-Fi routers can have detrimental health effects, some scientists argue that parents need not be alarmed by the impact of this radiation. Studies that demonstrate the negative effects of Wi-Fi routers highlight consequences such as increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier, disruption of hormonal and metabolic regulation, DNA damage, and heightened brain glucose metabolism.

For parents who want to err on the side of caution like myself, I’d say that Wi-Fi routers are not entirely safe and that you should try to limit the WiFi radiation to FCC’s set limit of 3 mW/m2 to 6 mW/m2 or less. Furthermore, keeping the router further from the crib can reduce the amount of radiation emission. Some Wi-Fi routers are now branded eco-friendly as they claim to emit 90% less EMF. Watch the video below for more;

What can parents do to minimize Wi-Fi radiation exposure in the nursery?

  1. Keep the router away from the crib: As a general rule, it is recommended to keep devices that emit radiation at least 6 feet away from where you and your baby sleep. This includes Wi-Fi routers, cordless phones, and other wireless devices.
  2. Use wired connections whenever possible: Instead of using Wi-Fi, consider using wired connections for devices such as computers and gaming consoles in the nursery. This will significantly reduce Wi-Fi radiation exposure.
  3. Use a timer to turn off the router at night: Many routers have a built-in timer that can be used to turn off the Wi-Fi signal during certain hours, such as at night when you and your baby are sleeping.
  4. Shield the crib with EMF shielding materials: There are products available on the market that claim to reduce Wi-Fi radiation by shielding areas, such as cribs, from the signal. However, it is important to note that these products are not regulated and their effectiveness may vary.
  5. Consider using a low-emission router: Some routers have lower radiation emission levels than others. Do your research and choose a router with lower emission levels if possible.

In terms of specific concerns regarding a baby’s nursery, some experts suggest turning off the Wi-Fi router at night or when the baby is sleeping. This not only reduces exposure to EMF radiation but also eliminates the potential distraction of notifications and alerts coming through at night. Additionally, some parents may choose to use a wired baby monitor instead of a wireless one to further minimize exposure.

Safety recommendations for baby’s nursery:

Based on these studies and ongoing research, it is clear that Wi-Fi radiation can have potential effects on babies’ health. Although the evidence is not conclusive, it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your child’s safety. Here are some recommendations for creating a safe Wi-Fi environment in your baby’s nursery:

  • Keep the Wi-Fi router at least 6 feet away from where your baby sleeps.
  • Turn off the Wi-Fi router at night or during nap times.
  • Use a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi for devices in the nursery, such as baby monitors or sound machines.
  • Consider using an EMF shielding device on your Wi-Fi router to reduce the amount of radiation emitted.
  • Limit your baby’s exposure to screens and electronics, which emit EMF radiation. Instead, opt for non-electronic toys and activities.

Does Wi-Fi exposure impact unborn babies?

After much research on this topic, I think more research is needed to determine the impact of Wi-Fi radiation on unborn babies. Some studies have suggested a possible link between prenatal exposure to EMF radiation and adverse effects on fetal development, such as low birth weight and increased risk of childhood leukemia.

I am more inclined to support the idea that Wi-Fi has an impact on children, based on a study published in the prestigious Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure in 2014. This study provides detailed evidence that children are at a higher risk from microwave radiation. Due to their more absorbent brain tissue and thinner skulls, children are more vulnerable to microwave radiation compared to adults.

WHO Classified Microwave Radiation as Class 2B: Possibly Carcinogenic

In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified microwave radiation, including Wi-Fi signals, as a class 2B possibly carcinogenic agent. This means that there is limited evidence of its potential to cause cancer in humans. However, more research is needed to confirm this link definitively.

To emphasize the gravity of this classification, even well-known hazardous substances such as lead and the pesticide DDT are also designated as Class 2B substances. It is important to note that the time between initial exposure and the potential development of tumors can span decades. Consequently, the impact of the prevalence of Wi-Fi on the developing brains of children remains uncertain.

France, along with Belgium, Israel, Spain, Australia, and Italy, has taken measures to restrict or minimize the use of WiFi and cellphones in schools. In 2015, France passed a law banning WiFi from nursery schools and requiring WiFi to be turned off in elementary schools when not in use. This move aims to protect the well-being of young children and promote a safer learning environment.

Ways Wi-Fi Can Harm Babies:

  • Effect on memory and learning: A study conducted on rats exposed to Wi-Fi signals for two hours a day showed damage to their neurons, resulting in impaired memory and learning. The developing brains of babies are even more vulnerable, making it essential to limit exposure.
  • Disruption of sleep patterns: Babies spend most of their time sleeping, and any disruption in their sleep can significantly affect their growth and development. Studies have shown that exposure to Wi-Fi can disrupt sleep patterns in both children and adults.
  • Risk of radiation-related health issues: The developing brains, organs, and bones of babies are sensitive to radiation. Exposure to Wi-Fi signals could potentially increase their risk of developing health issues such as brain tumors, infertility, and neurological disorders later in life.
  • Impact on behavior and attention span: A study conducted on four-year-old children in Denmark showed that excessive exposure to Wi-Fi may lead to hyperactivity, lack of concentration, and behavioral problems.
  • Potential impact on reproductive health: Studies have shown that the radiation emitted from Wi-Fi signals can affect sperm quality and motility. In babies, this could potentially lead to fertility issues later in life.