Can radio waves from baby monitors harm my baby?

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

To our knowledge, no one has studied the effects of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure from baby monitors, but we can infer a lot from studies that look at how radiation from mobile phones affects children.

The verdict: EMF isn't great for anyone's health, and children are especially at risk due to anatomical features like thin skulls. Follow a balanced, sensible approach by choosing a low-EMF baby monitor, keeping it as far away as possible from your little one, and turning it off when not in use.

baby monitor on desk

Children absorb more EMF than adults

Mobile phones are the main devices under fire because they're used so close to the brain and because they rely on 5G and Wi-Fi, which emit stronger EMF than, for example, household electrical wires.

When it comes to children, the major concern is that their brains absorb more EMF than an adult brain. Compared to adults, children have thinner skulls, a higher percentage of water in their brains, and other anatomical differences related to the marrow and stem cells—all of which affect how EMF interacts with their brain tissue. Plus, MRI scans explicitly show that radio frequencies penetrate further into a child's brain than into an adult's, meaning more brain tissue is affected.

But, as we mentioned, all of that research was conducted using mobile phones. There’s no conclusive data on baby monitors specifically, and the advantages of these monitors often outweigh those worries.

The health effects of EMF exposure

Now for the big question: is all that EMF harmful? Yes. Although some researchers continue to say that more evidence is needed, many studies we've linked to refer to EMF as a known carcinogen. There is also some evidence that EMF exposure can increase the risk of depression.

That said, no one has been able to pinpoint exactly how much EMF exposure causes these health effects. Since smartphones, tablets, and other EMF-emitting devices that kids play with up close are still relatively new, it's difficult to say what the long-term implications are. 

We recommend taking a moderate approach to limiting your child's EMF exposure. You don't need to move to the wilderness or swear off all electronic devices, but do avoid plunking your kid down in front of a tablet for hours of entertainment every day.

Also, consider talking to your pediatrician about your child's family history of leukemia and other cancers—it may make sense for you to take a more restrictive approach to EMF exposure if childhood cancer runs in the family.

Baby monitor safety

If you are concerned about radiation levels, look for monitors that speak to those specific apprehensions. When shopping for a baby monitor, do your research and look for those emitting the lowest levels of EMF. We particularly like the Nanit Pro, which, according to third-party tests, has one of the lowest EMF levels on the market.

You can also limit the amount of time their child wears or is near the monitor. For example, you can turn off the monitors when someone is in the room looking after the child. Also, place the monitor as far away from your child as possible, since EMF strength declines relative to distance.

Plus, there are other advantages to keeping a baby monitor well out of reach of your child, such as reducing possible strangulation or electrical shock hazards associated with power cords.

Best low EMF baby monitor

Price is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Be prepared to limit screen time

While we didn't uncover studies about baby monitors in particular (probably because it's not ethical to intentionally expose infants to potential danger), research about the negative effects of mobile phone exposure is starting to pile up. Since children's brains are especially vulnerable to EMF, consider limiting their exposure to screens like tablets, mobile phones, and virtual reality sets.

Device manufacturers recommend staying at least 20 centimetres away from screens, and that's tough to do with little arms.

So, if you want to entertain your kiddo with a movie, set it up on a TV that's several feet away rather than propping up a tablet or phone. Once kids are old enough for a phone, use parental controls to help enforce screen time limits. 

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas

Recent Articles