It’s one of the first items we add to our baby registries. It’s a way to help us feel calmer when our babies are asleep. The baby monitor provides a lot of peace for us parents. But there are reasons to halt the use of them as well. What a lot of people don’t know is that a monitor emits radio frequencies. Babies are more susceptible to electromagnetic radiation than adults are. But How Do You Know When To Stop?
The best time to stop using a baby monitor is when your child is fully sleeping through the night. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you should limit monitor usage with your baby. Sources say that a child can absorb 10x more radiation than an adult. Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has declared that all radio frequencies can contribute to cancer.
With radio frequencies aside, another thing to consider is the comfort level that the parents have. Some parents like the ability to see what their child is doing at any given moment. They also appreciate the ability to check on their child without waking them.
And a monitor can be used still, in this instance. However, you will want to research ones that emit a low frequency and place them as far away from your child as you can. There is nothing wrong with being overly cautious. Every parent is different just like every child is different. We all have varying emotional needs, and we all do things according to them.
You just want to do these things in the safest way possible.
Signs That A Monitor May Still Be Needed
Although every case is unique, some circumstances warrant the extended use of a monitor more than others. There are a few things to keep in mind when you use a monitor for a longer period, in addition to the radiation exposure.
Are There Medical Needs To Consider?
Monitors can be a key element in allowing your child to get an uninterrupted night’s sleep. This is especially critical when your child has medical needs to take into consideration. Using a monitor for an extended time due to medical necessity is highly important.
There is no specific level of severity that warrants monitor use over another. At the end of the day, if you need to routinely check your child for medical reasons then that is cause enough to continue the use of the monitor. For instance, a child with asthma may start wheezing or coughing in the middle of the night. Having the ability to monitor the situation routinely allows for earlier intervention as needed.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants should sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months of their lives. However, babies born prematurely will need monitoring longer than just six months. If they are no longer in the parent’s room, a monitor will prove helpful.
Additionally, just because you stop the use of your monitor doesn’t mean you can’t bring it back out of storage to use again. Perhaps your 4-year-old is recovering from bronchitis and has coughing fits through the night. Bringing out the monitor allows you to check on them frequently until they are on the mend.
Is Your Child A Thrill Seeker?
We all know a child in this category. Maybe you have one yourself, or maybe you were one. It’s the child who learns how to climb out of their crib early. You’ll find them asleep in the middle of a pile of toys when you come in the next morning.
It can also be the child who figures out a way to remove their pajamas and diaper after you tuck them in at night. Who knows what you will walk into after that kind of night.
It’s nice to have a monitor to use when your child is one that seeks adventure. Nobody wants to start the day off by cleaning poop off the walls. However, if you were able to see on the monitor at 9 PM that your little one was nude, you could avoid a disaster.
Additionally, if you happen to check the monitor and see that your child is not in their crib….well, you’d probably freak out. Only initially, though. You would then go into their room and see that they just escaped their bed to play. Even so, you’d be able to wrangle them back into their bed then instead of them spending the whole night on their floor. And possibly wandering the house if they got out!
Also, it is especially important in this case to have the monitor as far away from the child as possible. If they are up and about, you don’t want them getting too close to the device.
Are There Other Children In the Room?
One of the worst things is when a screaming and crying child wakes up the other one. All of a sudden you have two upset children that you are trying to calm down. What you want is for them to go back to sleep, but that isn’t likely to happen for a while.
With a monitor, you can catch noises and cries early on. With any luck, you can swoop up the upset child before the other one starts to stir. This will save the other child from an abrupt wakeup, and you from losing your sanity!
Signs That A Monitor Isn’t Needed
Just as there are plenty of reasons that a monitor is needed or warranted, there are just as many reasons why they aren’t.
Lack of Use
You know how when you are cleaning out your children’s toys, and you donate the ones that haven’t been played with in months? You determine that there is no point in keeping them around, taking up space. This is the same with baby gear.
If you haven’t needed to reference your baby monitor at night for quite a while, it is likely time to take it out of the room. When your child has been sleeping without issue for an extended time and you find yourself no longer looking at the monitor screen several times throughout the night, the time has likely come.
Remember, this doesn’t have to mean goodbye. Even if it goes to live in the storage area down in the basement, you can still bring it up as you need it. Every child gets colds and coughs from time to time that needs monitoring, so it’s not goodbye. It’s really just a “see you later”!
It’s Not Them, It’s You
You definitely wouldn’t be the only parent in this position if you fall into this category. This category includes those who haven’t needed the monitor for quite some time, but you still can’t pack it up. It gets turned on every night like clockwork, years after your child was born.
But it doesn’t actually even need to be turned on anymore. It’s like when you start packing away the infant items. A bandaid gets pulled off each time. First, it’s the tiny sleepers, then the infant car seat.
And now it’s the monitor. Time goes too fast, we all know that far too well. But if the monitor is no longer fulfilling a physical need, only an emotional one, it’s probably time to pull the (literal) plug.
Will the monitor prove to be a source of distraction for the child?
As the child grows older, their knowledge of the things around them expands. As does their curiosity.
They are likely to notice over time that the monitor is their key to getting your attention, primarily after bedtime. This may encourage them to fight sleep, as they know that you are watching what they do.
You will also need to consider the distraction it may give off if it emits any light while in use. Some monitors utilize a specialized night vision so that you can see your child through video. If this goes on and off with the use of the monitor through the night, it could wake up a sleeping toddler. And nobody wants to wake up a sleeping toddler. However, if you still using a baby swing then you may need the monitor, however, you should avoid letting the baby sleep in a baby swing.
Every family, child, and circumstance is unique. Although there is no age limit on monitor usage, you do want to make sure that utilizing it is benefitting you all.
With that being said, you will want to take the steps to stop the monitor use once your child can sleep through the night. It is in their best interest to not have prolonged radiation exposure, especially in their early years.
We all want what is best for our children. While we want to be able to keep an eye on them at all times, we also want them healthy and safe from damaging radiation. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the situation and find a healthy solution that is beneficial to all.
If you still like to use a baby monitor then check our baby monitor comparison guide.