Safe Baby Monitors
November 24, 2015. Are you an expectant mother or a friend that would like to purchase a present for a baby shower? Perhaps you are a grandparent that is aware of the problems associated with wireless products and are looking for something that is safe to use for a baby. SAFE Baby monitors are high on the list of items that are needed for the over worked stressed out parent. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there on “New Parenting” websites that attempt to provide high tech solutions in complete disregard to the health effects from wireless monitoring systems.
High Tech Parenting is Harming the Children
Wireless technology has exploded in all venues and that includes the nursery. The concerned parent is now presented with a wide variety of options to remotely monitor the child and this even includes using your smart phone to check in from anywhere there is a cell phone connection. Are wireless technologies safe for your baby? For the most part, if you live in North America the answer is no. The safest solution is to just install a wired intercom but it limits the parents movement around the home. A wired intercom system that uses your power outlets to carry the signal will allow you to easily add multiple receivers around the home but they tend to be noisy and they add dirty electricity. If you turn your breakers off to reduce the EMF while you sleep the intercom will not work. The tech savvy parents of today want the freedom to move about the home and backyard so wiring the entire house is usually not an option. For busy mothers on the go, you need to suggest something portable but safe at the same time. These products are extremely hard to find.
How Do Baby Monitors Work?
To communicate without wires, all baby monitors emit Radio Frequency (RF) radiation either in the FM radio band or as microwaves. The base station transmitter of the baby monitor is either attached to the baby’s body or kept near the crib while the parent takes the receiver and either wears it in a hip pocket or on a belt or places it nearby to respond to the baby’s crying.
The majority of the wireless baby monitors that are sold in North America constantly emit some form of chronic radiation to allow the receiver to maintain contact and secure connection. Listen to the constant beacon signal that digital video monitors use to maintain a secure connection. This radiation is the main problem you encounter in regards to unwanted microwave exposures. You do not want to expose your child to this type of radiation under any circumstances.
Are There Safe Frequencies to Use for Babies?
Analog monitors that use the FM radio band, usually 40 Mhz are considered to be safer than digital monitors that transmit via Bluetooth, Wi–Fi -2.4 GHz or DECT. Many of us grew up with AM and FM radio frequencies that are normally quite low unless you live near a radio transmitter. The newer pulsing digital frequencies from Bluetooth, Wi–Fi and DECT technology are highly biologically active.
In 2011 the IARC (The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO) declared that all radio frequencies are a “possible” cause of cancer, so I strongly suggest that you especially refrain from using audio and video baby monitors that use Wi–Fi or DECT technology. The high intensity digital aspects of these frequencies and the transmission technology require them to constantly emit microwave radiation to function. This chronic radiation comes from both the baby monitor and the remote “parent” monitor. Stay away from wearable baby monitors that use Bluetooth because the transmitter is placed right against the body and the levels of radiation can be very high.
Voice Activation is the Key to a Safer Wireless Baby Monitor
Ideally, the baby monitor base station transmitter should be voice-activated, meaning that it transmits radiation as sound only when it senses a sound from the baby. This would reduce the microwave exposure of both infant and parent and everyone else in the home. However, not all voice-activated baby monitors are alike. This is where is gets confusing.
Voice-activation mode is very different on different monitors. Some cut the radiation that is broadcast – some just cut “squelch” the unwanted noise in the receiver. Most baby monitors in North America are now constantly emitting microwave radiation because the companies are offering a great variety of features that the parents “think” they require. Things like video require high intensity Wi–Fi transmissions but are also prone to hackers.
Why Is The Public So Uninformed About These Dangers?
What parents in their right mind would knowingly expose their infant to constant microwave radiation? Imagine putting your child a meter away from a microwave oven that is operating 24 hours a day. Most parents would not do this assuming that microwave ovens are not good to be around as they leak radiation. Microwave ovens use the 2.4 GHz frequency to heat water molecules in food – and this exact 2.4 GHz frequency was given away freely to the tech world so that it could also used for Wi–Fi devices such baby monitors without paying for a radio broadcast licensing fee.
DECT Technology Enters The Market
Many consumers that used the 2.4 GHz Wi–Fi baby monitors complained that they ceased to work properly when they turned on their microwave ovens. Mom spends a lot of time in the kitchen and this is where the receiver is often located. The interference is from the microwave oven since both use the exact same microwave frequency – 2.4 GHz. This created panic for the parents who inadvertantly discovered that their microwave oven was leaking microwave!
To remedy the problem the wireless industry in Europe decided to create a new group of unlicenced free frequencies and this is where DECT – Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications was born. It’s now used for most portable phones and audio only baby monitors. DECT technology operates using a range of frequencies near 1.9 GHz and this allows for interference–free communications when using Wi–Fi and microwave ovens. It’s extremely powerful and requires constant radiation to be emitted from the base station in standby mode. You will often hear of features such as energy efficient eco mode where there is less radiation transmitted if the base station and remotes are situated close to each other – but the radiation is still always on even when not in use.
Where Are The Voice–Activated Monitors?
Everyone has heard about cell phones and the dangers of their over use in the traditional broadcast media, but there are no warnings about the intense chronic microwave radiation exposures from digital baby monitors. The media says “there is no conclusive proof that these new monitors are dangerous” and this is true because these monitors have never been tested on children so there is no published research and no long term studies. Parents are informed to keep the baby monitor far away from the crib. The media can’t suggest safer monitors because few safe alternatives are available in North America. There is a lot of press on how the monitors are not secure and are prone to hacking and I suspect this was one way the concerned journalist could discourage their use without admitting there is a problem with health effects.
Making voice–activated monitors is simple to do but the promotion of this ‘SAFE’ feature in advertising opens up a Pandoras Box. Health Canada and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) tell the public that all wireless products are safe provided they don’t exceed guidelines. Industry then repeats this mantra. What would happen if one of the manufacturers offered a “safer” alternative that was voice–activated? How would the regulating bodies and other manufacturers respond? If something is safer doesn’t that imply that something else is more dangerous? So in effect, the safer technology is withheld from the North American market so there can be no comparison. If you try to order one of these voice-activated models, the supplier is not allowed legally to ship to North America!
You will hear that a product has “eco mode” and is environmental friendly because it uses less electricity, but rarely will you hear the real reason – the constant microwave radiation is not safe because of the cumulative effect of exposure to the baby over many years. It also opens up the door to what really is happening inside our cordless phones and other digital wireless devices laptops, Ipads etc that also emit chronic microwave radiation even when not in use.
The Swiss Health Board Steps Up to Warn Their Citizens
Switzerland is home to the World Health Organization and is one country that you might want to pay attention to when it comes to warning others about the possible dangers of EMF. Their Health Board website is in English (is admirable) and has a webpage dedicated to baby monitors that offer some very good suggestions.
Try to read “into” the information they provide. To understand the clues to the truth, read between the lines. To assist, I have provided BOLDED text below from their Website:
Baby monitoring systems comprise a baby unit and one or more parent units. The baby unit, installed in the infant’s room, is a transmitter (producing emissions), and parent units are mainly receivers. In some cases, however, both units are capable of transmitting and receiving. Most baby monitors do not transmit signals (produce emissions) continuously, but only when a certain sound level – set by the user – is reached in the nursery (e.g. voice activation).
On the basis of the available findings, emissions from “systems of this kind” are not expected to pose any hazard. It is, however, advisable to reduce the infant’s exposure to emissions as far as possible.
• Place the baby monitor at least a metre away from the cot.
• Do not use systems that transmit continuously.
• Set the baby unit to voice activation mode.
• If the baby monitor is mains operated, ensure that the adaptor is plugged in at least 50 cm away from the cot.
The most important statements that the Swiss Health Board made was that Most baby monitors do not transmit signals (produce emissions) continuously – and systems of this kind.
Unfortunately this statement is only true to products that are sold in Switzerland and Germany. Here in North America there are no voice-activated monitors (transmission cut from the base station) available and this is disappointing – but there seem to be ways around this problem.
Germany Provides a Safe Baby Monitor Solution
The German government supports a standard for safe baby products and it is called Blue Angel. It’s like CSA (Canadian Standards Association) and that means the approved baby monitors are safer for the environment including RF and EMF radiation – except CSA does not test for the health effects of microwave radiation.
One monitor that I recommend if you are are considering the health effects of the baby monitor is the Blue Angel approved Hartig and Helling MBF 3333 baby monitor. It operates on the safer 40 MHz analog radio band and most importantly – it is voice activated. It only emits radiation when the voice reaches a certain level. The transformers to recharge the batteries are also low EMF.
The problem we face is this monitor is not sold in stores in the US or Canada but the good news is you can buy the monitor online on Amazon.de in Germany – You can import them from Germany but you will need to purchase the right wall plug adapters for Europe to North America. The transformer’s voltage is 110/220 so it works everywhere in the world.
Health Studies on Baby Monitors and Infants
Is there a relationship between Crib Death, (SIDS) Sudden Death Infant Syndrome, autism, attention deficit disorder or other neurological disorders among children who were exposed to microwave emitting baby monitors as infants? There is one scientific paper that presents: A possible association between fetal/neonatal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and the increased incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
In the study, it suggests links to the introduction of wireless RF (Radio Frequency) communication technologies such as baby monitors to the rise autism in the public. It states:
For several decades prior to 1980 autism incidence remained essentially invariant; reportedly at about one diagnosed case per 2000 children…RF radiation sources have become commonplace in the personal human environment from approximately 1980 to the present. Operation of an RF radiation source such as a two-way radio, portable telephone, or a cell phone exposes the operator to levels of RF radiation shown to be biologically active….. Passive operation, such as from an RF emitting baby monitor, is a widespread postnatal exposure….Some of the known effects of exposure to RF radiation include cognitive impairment, memory deficit, EEG modifications, DNA damage, chromosome aberrations, micronucleus formation, fetal malformation, increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier, altered cellular calcium efflux and altered cell proliferation.
According to the Autism Society – currently, 1 in 68 children are born with autism today compared to 1 in 2000 thirty years ago when wireless baby monitors were commercially introduced. The estimated prevalence of savant abilities in autism is 10% and the most common forms involve mathematical calculations. For history buffs – the very first wireless baby monitor was tested in 1937, on Robert John (Bob) Widlar, who became a world famous mathematical savant who exhibited a complex destructive personality disorder.
Is there a link to cancers such as childhood leukemia or nervous system tumors? Do infants sleep poorly with these monitors as indicated by PowerWatch (UK) and is the link between an infant’s erratic heart rate and exposure to these baby monitors real? We just published a paper on erratic heart rate for adults exposed to a 2.4 digital cordless phone!
At any rate, exposing infants to microwave radiation, even at very low levels is unwise. Since technology is available to provide voice-activated baby monitors–the ones that emit microwave radiation only when activated–the baby monitors that emit microwave radiation continuously should be banned, especially DECT baby monitors.
In June 2009, I submitted an Environmental Petition to the Auditor General of Canada asking that DECT phones be banned in Canada. In this petition I also referred to DECT baby monitors. What is Health Canada doing with this information and why are they refusing to act in a responsible manner that would limit an infants exposure to microwave radiation? Why is it that people in Switzerland are warned on their public health website and are protected by their government against electromagnetic pollution, but in North America, the health authorities are silent on this issue?