Baby Monitor Safety – Cord Strangulation
For this reason, it is recommended that you do 3 things at a minimum:
Take a look around your baby’s room to make sure that monitors (and all devices with power cords) are in no way reachable by your baby.
Make sure that monitors are no less than 3 feet away from all sides of any crib, bassinet or sleep area.
Never, EVER, put the monitor in the crib with the baby.
Hopefully these things are common sense, but in a sleep deprived state you never know what kind of decisions you might make.
Baby Monitor Safety – Electro-Magnetic Radiation
Another issue I’ve seen mention of around the internet is that of electro-smog. This is the idea that wireless baby monitors release harmful amounts of electro-magnetic radiation that can be damaging to the developing nervous systems of children.
While the strangulation issue has clearly happened, I’m not sure what to think about the electro-magnetic radiation issue. To my knowledge there has been no data released on the long term effects of this radiation, and as these are small consumer devices, it seems like it would be minimal anyway.
In order to reduce whatever risk may exist here, manufacturers recommend placing the monitor at least 3 feet (roughly 1 meter) away from the baby. Since you are already doing this so that they can’t grab the cord and pull it in to the crib (right?), you should have less to worry about with this.
Baby Monitor Safety – Transmission Security
While this story of an individual hacking a baby monitor signal and using it to harass a family is out of the ordinary, it does represent a concern for some people. Unfortunately there are a handful of things that hackers could use an intercepted digital signal for, harassment, seeing inside a home as two examples. While it may not be possible to stop a determined hacker, there are a couple of things you can do:
Avoid older, analog baby monitors, as they would be less work to hack anyway since they can be picked up on regular broadcast bands.
Use a digital monitor with something like DECT or frequency hopping technology to ensure more secure communications.
Baby Monitor Safety Tips Summary
Much like everything else in life, baby monitors are not perfect. If used properly they can really help out a parent in taking care of their child. There are always risks, but doing something as simple as making sure that you keep the monitor at least 3 feet away from the baby’s sleep area and use a sufficient level of technology you can mitigate some of the risk factors that are present.
And always remember that a baby monitor is just one tool and not a substitute for your attention.