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Low EMF Baby Monitors & How to Reduce RF Exposure

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Low EMF Baby Monitors

"I'm due my first baby soon and I'm torn between all the models of baby monitors. I know it doesn't prevent SIDS, but coming from a family who has experienced cot death, I think it just adds a little reassurance and a peace of mind, and I think I would sleep a little better knowing that there is that extra thing in place. I guess I would rather go with a false alarm than waking up and finding the worse!" Moms all over the world share their worries and experiences with baby monitors, and they all have one thing in common: They want to keep their little ones safe.

In the world of technological comfort, this item is not something that we think of twice. It becomes a part of a typical day routine to put a baby monitor in a baby's room once you put your baby to sleep. Just as more people are thinking about cellphone radiation and the effects of keeping it closer to your body, mothers who keep their baby's safety first are questioning the effects of high and low EMF baby monitor radiation. Even though there's a general lack of studies in this area, there are certain characteristics of baby monitors you need to bear in mind when purchasing.

High and low EMF radiation

Electromagnetic fields (radiation)

Electric and magnetic fields are invisible forces of energy used to power different devices and gadgets in our environment. The pressure used to move electrons through a wire produces a certain voltage which is how an electric field is created. We can find them in various forms of natural and manmade lighting. The electric field increases as the voltage increases. In contrast to the electric field, a magnetic field forms as a consequence of the flow of current through wires, and it's measured in microteslas.

The main difference is that electric fields are produced even when a device is not turned on, while magnetic fields require current flowing or they are formed only when the device is turned on. Together, they are referred to as electromagnetic fields or EMFs causing EMF radiation. According to their frequency level they are grouped as ionizing (high-level radiation) and non-ionizing (low-level radiation).

Home devices with EMF radiation

In an average household, there are various types of devices that use RF radiation. High frequency radiation devices include x-rays and gamma rays which can be found in medical facilities and research centers. These radiation devices are a part of electromagnetic spectrum that can damage human cells and DNA in a moment.

Low to mid-frequency emission devices are all around us, such as electric power lines, kitchen appliances, microwaves, radio waves, and light. They range from 3 kilohertz to 300 gigahertz and are less likely to damage our cells. According to the World Bank, 87 percent of the world population is exposed to electromagnetic frequencies through electricity and electrical appliances. That's a lot of radiation created around the world. Some common low EMF (non-ionizing) radiation devices include:

- cellphones, tablets

- microwave ovens

- computers

- WiFi routers

- cellphones

- house energy meters

- power lines

- Bluetooth devices

- MRIs

- baby monitors, etc.

One of the largest sources of EMF radiation are baby monitors. If we take, for instance, cellphones that emit the full power radiation only during calls, baby monitors emit radiation while they are turned on, which can basically last for hours. Even though their purpose is to ensure baby's safety, sometimes they can do harm as much as they do good. So, if we consider the fact that "it's better to worry than sorry", choosing the right baby monitor for your little one might not be easy as you think.

Why baby monitors were invented in the first place?

Nowadays, additional baby devices have become something that parents are expected to own, one of them being baby monitors. Less than a hundred years ago, this device was utterly unheard of because parents relied on their own eyes and ear while keeping their newborn safe. Sudden crib deaths that appeared in the 1920s increased the public awareness of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and contributed to increased fear among parents.

In 1932, the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby which was widely heard in the American news, inspired the president of Zenith company, Eugene McDonald, to create experiments and invent primitive baby monitors. Radio broadcasting became extremely popular and the first baby monitor now could be "born". It comprised all the necessary features including microphones, speakers, and radio frequency allowing the parents to monitor the noise in the child's room. All that was left to do is to give it a commercially viable touch and with the help of Japanese designer Isamu Noguchi, the Radio Nurse - the first baby monitor was created.

Analog and digital baby monitors

The standard analog baby monitors which were most commonly used in the past are transmitting electromagnetic waves in the same frequency as the radio technology, 40 to 900 MHz. They are thought to be fairly safe. Some of them are even considered very safe, functioning at frequency as low as 49 MHz, slightly lower than FM Radio. However, the analog devices are more sensitive to WiFi interface and do not have the video option. Nowadays, the manufacturers that make 49 MHz baby monitors are getting hard to find, because the digital ones are taking over the market, even though the analog are generally considered as safer.

Digital monitors have their own advantages, allowing the users more insights on the baby movement and behavior by incorporating lights, cameras, etc. They work at higher frequencies, up to 2.4 GHz using WiFi, Bluetooth, digital enhanced cordless communication (DECT), etc. When deciding to buy a digital monitor, parents should look for the ones that are low emission with an eco mode which offer a moderate level of EMF protection.

Low EMF baby monitors and FCC Regulation levels

Baby monitors can emit the exact same type of radiation as other appliances used in our home, including a microwave oven. If we compare, for example, baby monitors with Wifi routers, we can say that they behave as mini cell towers. So would you put your sleeping baby next to a WiFi router or the oven while you are heating up your dinner?

Microwave radiations in baby monitors speed up to 100 emissions per second while they are turned on. Even the standby mode is not completely harmless. Both of the devices, baby and parent unit, emit the microwave radiations so the frequencies double. Some of the best monitors on the market use radio signals and infrared lights for the night mode. Led lights in cameras illuminate the baby's room and send the signals to the parent unit creating a picture and emitting radiation just like regular cellphones.

EMF device manufacturers are obliged to subject their devices for testing and measuring the EMF exposure level. In the USA the exposure level in residential places goes up to 10,000,000 microwatts. These exposure levels are different across the globe. Belgium is ten times lower than US (1,115,000), Italy and China 100 times lower (100,00), and the European Parliament made the announcement of allowable 100 microwatts per public exposure. Some countries are even implementing programs to remove WiFi from schools because of the possible side effects of EMFs.

Since 1996 the levels have not changed so much and the limit that Federal Communication Committee approved for baby monitors is 4W per kg. To measure the emission levels of baby monitors, the baby needs to be 6 ft away from the child, and for this purpose, radio frequency detector can be used. The strong "r" sound indicates that there is a high level of emission in your device.

How low EMF baby monitors work

Since the beginning of humanity, parents have had instincts to protect their children from possible risks and dangers. By using technological breakthroughs, this job is much easier than it used to be.

Monitoring a baby constantly can be a really tough job, so a low EMF baby monitor can be a great advantage and a commodious tool. The low-frequency device has extended functionality in detecting motion and sound, the video output of baby's current position and behavior. The low EMF baby monitors have higher emissions than the analog type but some of them give you the possibility to reduce the emission by using VOX mode. The monitor transmits only audio signals through voice activation while on the VOX mode. However, if the baby starts crying, it will automatically turn on the video mode and the EMF emission will increase.

Useful low EMF baby monitors

- Safety 1st Crystal Clear Audio Monitor which functions at a very low frequency (49 MHz). It doesn't cost much and with an audio jacket on its side, you can put it on your belt and listen to your baby using earphones. As all the analog devices, its disadvantage is definitely the audio clarity and static noises that appear sometimes.

- Sony BabyCall Baby Monitor is an analog monitor thatcan be used with other monitors and has multiple channels (27 channels) to give its users clearer sound. It's water-resistant and functions on a VOX mode, so you can set it to sleep and use it when noise level goes up. The emission is higher than 49 MHz, it functions on 900 MHz and it's more expensive than other analog monitors.

- Babymoov Expert Care is a great digital monitor that comes with a lot of useful features such as VOX mode and sleep mode. You can use it while out camping because it transmits signals to 3300 feet. It also displays temperature and can function as a night light in the baby's room.

- Bebcare Baby monitor employs a unique DSR Radio Safe Technology which is designed to reduce harmful emission by more than 90%. It's one of the smartest baby gadgets on the market, incorporating sensors for breathing, temperature and noise level in the room. It even has built-in lullabies and white noise sensors and functions as a walkie-talkie.

- Babymoov Zero Emission Video Monitor Camera is the only baby device that has zero EMF emission. It's similar to WiFi monitors, incorporating features such as audio and video signal, temperature and a motion sensor which can be extremely useful to monitor baby's movement in the crib. You can connect it with your tablet or smartphone and it even allows up to four users simultaneously.

EMF exposure and health consequences

Most of us grew up listening to FM radios in our homes and the radiation levels coming from radios were low so we didn't worry about the possible harmful effects. Nowadays, digital devices which we use have higher frequencies and are more biologically active producing stronger effects on our body. EMF baby monitors function on higher frequencies and can have an impact on the immune, nervous and reproductive systems of babies.

Symptoms of electromagnetic radiation exposure

Babies in the womb, newborns and children are especially vulnerable at this tender age and susceptible to harmful EMF radiation. This type of exposure can affect baby's nervous system and can even cause damaging of the cells inside the body. It can have a thermal effect on the baby's skin, so that the radiation heats the tissue and causes irritability. A study done in 1996 reveals that children are more exposed to WiFi devices and its radiation than the adults.

Babies have thin skin and a gentle skull, and they may develop potential symptoms which doctors usually don't associate with EMF exposure. The radiation has less resistance because of the thinner skull and it's easier to reach the baby's brain. Some common symptoms which may appear are:

- nausea

- dizziness

- tiredness and fatigue

- irritability

- sleep disorders and headache

- lack of attention

- loss of appetite

- changes on the skin

- changes in an electroencephalogram (measures brain activity).

We can associate these symptoms with different illnesses so the diagnosis is unlikely to happen.

Cancer risk factors

Numerous epidemiologic studies have evaluated possible links between EMFs and the risk of cancer in children. The focus of studies were children living near the power lines, and those exposed to electromagnetic devices at home or parent's workplace. According to the World Health Organization, in its 2002 International Agency for Research on Cancer report, the EMFs are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” They even classified the WiFi radiation which is used in most households (even the baby monitors use it) as a class B carcinogen.

In some pooled analyses incorporating several studies, researchers have focused on the most common types of cancer in children, leukemia, and brain tumors. The data showed a twofold increase in the risk of leukemia among children exposed to 0,4 μT or higher.

This research was followed by another one in 2011 and researchers used cellphones as an EMF radiation trigger. They found out a loose connection between a certain type of leukemia in adults, gliomas, which appeared more often on the side of the phone people used to speak on their phones. Still, the monitoring of emissions is lacking so there was no specific conclusion to the research study.

5 tips to limit exposure to low EMF baby monitor radiation

1. Choose the low radiation baby monitors

We know that bringing home a newborn baby and the responsibility of caring for a new life is a truly overwhelming experience. The invention of at-home baby devices has made it easier for parents to keep a watchful and vigilant eye on babies, but choosing the right one might be a stressful job. Researching what kind of radiation baby monitors emit while buying them is as important as giving your baby the healthiest food. The environment in which the baby grows up is as much important as the food, vitamins and minerals that you choose to give to your baby. That's why choosing the lowest EMF baby monitors prevents harmful effects and keeps your baby healthy and safe.

2. Use the baby monitor only when necessary

Both you and your baby are most vulnerable to environmental radiation while sleeping, so give your body a rest and turn off the video baby monitor at night. Use it, for example, when you have friends over, when you listen to loud music, or sit outside. An even better option is to turn off and unplug all of your radiation devices at home, WiFi routers, phones, television, etc. Some baby monitors have eco mode, which will make your life easier and save up your electricity bill.

3. Low EMF baby monitor with voice activation

The most useful baby monitors are the ones that are voice-activated. This type of device only emits radiation when it registers and transmits any type of noise coming out of the baby's room.

4. Hardwire your monitor

One of the best things to do to protect your children is to turn off WiFi and go with a wired ethernet cable. Although it might feel as if you won't be able to function without WiFi, the benefits of turning it off are numerous. You will drastically decrease the EMF radiation and even enjoy the fastest and more reliable internet. The only problem is that not many companies are producing these nowadays.

Users have positive reviews for MOM&BB Baby Safe Camera Monitor which has an ethernet port all the features you need to keep your baby safe: an ultra high definition camera with a 360-degree view, cloud storage, great performances while recording a video, night mode which enables parents to control the baby's movement even when the lights are off, and a 2-way audio function.

5. Consider buying additional EMF shields

There are more alternative ways to reduce the harmful effects of radiation exposure to you and do a digital detox. Radiation protection tools are now available on the market for different devices, including baby monitors. Here are just some devices you might find useful for preventing the impacts of RF radiation:

- Metal mesh baskets such as Small Steel Mesh Baskets have the power to interfere with the electromagnetic signals and reduce their transmission. They are made of conductive metal so that when the electromagnetic field is formed it will generate a force to destroy its formation. For the metal mesh baskets to function at their best, you need to choose the exact size of the basket as your baby device. Otherwise, the shielding mesh will have no effect.

They come in different sizes and materials such as copper and stainless steel. If you are bothered by its look, you can decorate it around. Still, most of the baskets block 90 to 95% of radiation, so the best thing you can do is to put your baby monitor at least 6 feet apart from your baby. That's a formula for having perfect peace of mind.

- Neutralizer stickers for cellphones and monitors

Some of us might think: "How on earth could a little sticker on the back of a device protect us from EMF exposure?" The increased awareness of mobile radiation has caused people around the world to file lawsuits against Apple and Samsung for their radiation measures. And when World Health Organization formally announced that cellphone radiation might be "a possible cause of cancer", the need for neutralizers suddenly went up.

Small attachable stickers known as neutralizers became widely used not just for cellphones, but also other devices. The idea behind these devices is that they attract and absorb RF radiation emitted by electromagnetic devices and some of them may reduce radiation up to 90%, like Aulterra Anti Radiation Sticker. They are produced out of metal (just like metal mesh baskets) which act as a conductor.

Further studies of the effects of these devices still need to be conducted, but one thing is sure: The public awareness of these issues is increasing from day to day and it won't take long before the perfect solution comes to light.

© 2021 Fatima Memija Bahtic

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