I’ve talked about the potential dangers of WiFi in quite a few articles on EMF Academy, but in this article, I want to focus specifically on whether or not WiFi is harmful to babies.
We’ll talk about what the research tells us about how radiofrequency radiation from WiFi affects babies and children, why it matters, and what we can do about it.
First, let’s just briefly answer the initial question.
Is WiFi harmful to babies? Yes, radiofrequency radiation from WiFi can be potentially harmful to babies. EMF radiation, including radiation from WiFi routers, has been shown to have adverse health effects over long periods of time. Babies are more vulnerable to these health effects due to thinner skulls, different chemical makeup, and other factors.
I know that answer might sound a bit frightening, but don’t worry just yet. In the coming sections, we’ll talk in more detail about what research tells us about WiFi radiation and it’s effects on children and babies. We’ll also talk about simple steps you can dramatically reduce this risk, and adequately protect your family.
Let’s start by diving a bit into what WiFi radiation really is, and then we’ll talk about why it’s dangerous.
What Is WiFi Radiation
“WiFi radiation” isn’t really a thing, instead, what we mean when we use this term is radiofrequency radiation. Radiofrequency radiation (RF) is a consequence of using radio waves to pass information, which is what happens when we use WiFi.
RF is a type of EMF radiation or electromagnetic field radiation, along with magnetic field, and electric field.
So, when we talk about whether WiFi radiation is harmful to babies, we’re really just asking the question of whether the non-ionizing radiation from radio frequency transmissions is harmful to babies.
Although we’re talking specifically about WiFi radiation from something like a home router, we are also exposed to the same type of radiation from cell-towers, cell-phones, Bluetooth devices, and much more.
However, we know that the potentially harmful effects of RF radiation are cumulative, and long-term exposure is our greatest risk. This makes home WiFi a potentially very dangerous source of this radiation because we are constantly exposed to it while it’s on and working.
Now that we have a better understanding of what we’re actually talking about, let’s talk a bit more about why “WiFi radiation” is harmful to humans, and the studies that inform that thinking. Then we’ll talk about why babies and young children are more vulnerable to this harm.
Is WiFi Potentially Dangerous?
There have been lots of studies about the general dangers of EMF radiation and RF radiation such as:
The Bioinitiative Report – A cumulation of over 1800 studies outlining the specific dangers of RF radiation from devices like cell-phones and routers. Specifically, they looked at the biological impact of these exposures.
In the conclusions of the report, they outlined things like:
- Even very low levels of EMF radiation can be harmful to the human body
- Single, and double-strand DNA damage
- “…effects on the brain and cranial bone development in the offspring of animals that are exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy”
The Bioinitiative report was a landmark release because it was prepared and published by 29 different authors, including nearly a dozen doctors, experts in the field of bioelectromagnetics, and respected scientists.
It was largely due to this report that the World Health Organization listed Radiofrequency radiation from things like routers as a Group 2B possible human carcinogen.
The Interphone study, which was published in 2010 is the largest study to date outlining the relationship between RF radiation (the study is specifically talking about cell-phones, but it is the same type of radiation emitted from your WiFi router) and negative health effects.
The study found:
- If you use your cell phone for as little as 30 minutes a day, after 10 years you will have a 40% increased risk of developing a brain tumor.
- That you are considered “high risk” if you’ve used your phone 1640 hours in your lifetime. This “high-risk group” is 2 times more likely to develop a brain tumor in the temporal lobe. When holding your cell-phone close to your head, the temporal lobe is the area of the brain closest to the antenna.
- When brain tumors were found in the test group, they were twice as likely to be found on the side of the head where the cell phone was used.
Now, again, I know that these stats are specifically linked to cell-phone use, but remember that the radiation exposure from a cell-phone, is the same exact type of radiation emitted by your WiFi router, just in potentially different amounts.
These are two of the largest, more referenced studies on the relationship between RF radiation from things like WiFi, and the biological effects of that exposure.
Now, let’s talk specifically about why babies are more vulnerable to WiFi radiation, and then we’ll look at some studies specifically showing why this is the case.
Why WiFi Is Dangerous For Babies (A Research-Backed Opinion)
I wrote an enormous guide a little while ago, titled Protecting Your Children From EMF Radiation, where I talk about these studies and more, along with giving practical tips on how to protect your family from EMF’s, so if you think that sounds helpful I’d encourage you to check it out.
This might be an intuitive notion that you have, but children and babies are more susceptible to all sorts of dangers. EMF radiation, air pollution, skin reactions, allergic reactions, not to mention physical dangers.
The reason for this is that we can’t think of babies as just smaller adults, in fact, they have entirely different and unique biological structures and makeup. Meaning that the proportions of their brain matter, skull thickness, skin density, organ development are entirely different that of an adult.
That is why, for example, a 2003 study found that babies thinner skulls are not nearly as capable of protecting the brain from EMF radiation, which can result in absorption rates as high as double from exposures risks like cell-phones, tablets, and WiFi.
A study published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure took a specific look at how microwave radiation, which is the same radiation emitted by WiFi routers, affects children.
The authors, including Dr. Devra Davis who is the founder and president of the Environmental Health Trust, examined how microwave radiation was absorbed by children and babies.
Their published conclusions were:
The risk to children and adolescent from exposure to microwave radiating devices is considerable. Adults have a smaller but very real risk, as well.
- Children absorb greater amount of microwave radiation (MWR) than adults;
- MWR is a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen as is carbon black, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, DDT, lead, nickel, phenobarbital, styrene, diesel fuel, and gasoline. It seems clear that we would not expose children to these other agents, so why would we expose children to microwave radiation?
- Fetuses are even more vulnerable than children. Therefore pregnant women should avoid exposing their fetus to microwave radiation.
- Adolescent girls and women should not place cellphones in their bras or in hijabs.
- Cellphone manual warnings make clear an overexposure problem exists.
- Wireless devices are radio transmitters, not toys. Selling toys that use them should be banned.
- Government warnings have been issued but most of the public are unaware of such warnings.
- Exposure limits are inadequate and should be revised such that they are adequate.
A study published in 2011 in the Journal of Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine found that “When electrical properties are considered, a child’s head’s absorption can be over two times greater, and absorption of the skull’s bone marrow can be ten times greater than adults”
Additionally, children also have smaller heads, which means radiation of any kind has less distance to travel before reaching the center of their brain. The chemical makeup of their brains also has a higher concentration of fluids and ions while developing, which could allow EMF radiation to penetrate deeper into the brain tissue.
Also in 2011, a study was published in the Encyclopedia of Environmental Health titled: “Risk of Radiation Exposure to Children and Their Mothers.” The study looked at the effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation (like WiFi) and how it affects mothers and their children, inside and outside the womb.
The study mentioned:
The developing organism is more sensitive to radiation and vulnerable to the development of radiation-induced pathology. Prenatal development, characterized by intensive cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and cell migration, is highly sensitive to radiation exposure. Therefore, exposure of embryos and fetuses to radiation is of immense concern for radiological protection and human health
Another study that studied whether in-utero exposure to magnetic fields, a type of EMF radiation (although not the type that WiFi emits specifically), increased risks of childhood obesity.
The study followed women and 733 of their children over a period of 13 years. Ultimately they found that:
After controlling for child’s age at each weight measurement, child gender, maternal age at delivery, maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, race, education level, smoking during pregnancy, and breastfeeding, in-utero exposure to medium/high MF level (90th percentile MF > 1.5 mG) was associated with 69 percent increased risk of being obese or overweight during childhood (> 97.5th percentile the U.S age-specific weight25), compared to lower in-utero MF level (≤ 1.5 mG), adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01–2.84.
They may have sounded a bit confusing, but wanted to give you a direct quote from the research. Basically what they are saying is that babies that were exposed to higher amounts of magnetic field radiation while in the womb, were 69 percent more likely to develop weight issues during their lifetime.
I mention that in the context of this article to show you that yes, babies inside and outside of the womb are more susceptible to all types of EMF radiation, including the RF radiation that results from WiFi.
Now that we’ve talked about what WiFi radiation is, why it’s dangerous, especially for babies, let’s talk about how we can reduce the risk and protect our children.
How To Protect Your Baby From WiFi Radiation
I’m not going to go into too much detail here, because I’ve covered this in the following two articles:
Pregnancy EMF Protection
Protecting Your Children From EMF Radiation
However, since this article is specifically evaluating whether WiFi is harmful to babies, I think it’s important that we talk about some of the best ways to protect them from specifically from that radiation source.
So, first thing’s first, we need to talk about your router, and some ways we can reduce the WiFi risk in your home.
Reducing WiFi Exposure
Ok, so obviously the WiFi in your home is coming from your router. Typically, this will be the device that is connected via an ethernet cable to your modem. You can identify the modem because it will have an auxilary cable from your internet provider plugged into the back. The modem translates that connection and provides internet, it is then typically connected to a router, which will push the WiFi signal into your home or office.
Sometimes these are combined into a single device.
1. Hardwiring Internet Instead of WiFi
So, the first thing I’d like you to consider is hardwiring your home, instead of using WiFi. Basically what this means, is that instead of your devices connecting wirelessly, you’ll have ethernet cables running from the router to each computer or device.
I know that this is less convenient, but it does provide faster, more reliable internet for your computers. For your cell-phones, you can just opt to use your cellular connection instead of connecting to WiFi (hopefully you have an unlimited plan!).
Doing these things will allow you to not even have WiFi in your home, reducing this exposure risk to zero.
If you’re interested in how to do this, I actually wrote up a step-by-step guide that you can check out.
Now, obviously this isn’t a great solution for everyone, especially since WiFi is such a convenience that is hard to let go.
2. Using A WiFi Router Guard
I talk about WiFi router guards in a few articles on EMF Academy, and that is because I actually think they are a pretty great product if you want to keep your WiFi router, but want to limit your exposure.
Essentially what it is, is a small Faraday cage that will fit your router. It comes in several sizes that accommodate just about any size router.
The Faraday design of the router guard blocks around 90% of the RF radiation emitted from the device, while only reducing the range by around 10-20%. For most homes, this isn’t really an issue since the router is likely powerful enough to emit farther then is needed.
Take a look at this quick video to get a little better understanding of how this works.
It’s such an extremely simple product to use, and will dramatically cut down on your families exposure to RF radiation. You can pick the product up from either Smart Meter Guard (the company that made the video) or from Amazon.
3. Turn Off WiFi
Another great way to reduce your babies exposure to WiFi radiation is to turn it off when you aren’t using it, especially at night. I actually wrote up a guide on exactly how to do that if you’re interested.
However, I’ll just let you in on my favorite way, and that is using a simple mechanical outlet timer like this one you can pick up on Amazon.
Basically this is how it works. You plug the outlet timer into your wall and then plug your router into the timer. You then just set the timer to turn off at night, and back on in the morning. I have mine set to turn off at 11, and back on at 6 AM. That way, there is not WiFi radiation exposure at night when your baby is sleeping and most vulnerable.
Now, those are some great ways to reduce the WiFi exposure risk in your home, but I want to quickly cover a few other great ways to protect your baby from WiFi.
Other Ideas and Products To Protect Your Baby From WiFi
I’ve linked articles throughout this post on how to protect your children, or your pregnancy, from EMF radiation. The reason for that is that honestly there are just so many things you can do. No one expects perfection, and frankly, I’m sure this article is coming across a bit scary, which any article will when you start linking articles.
The bottom line is, that yes, WiFi radiation, in my opinion, CAN be harmful to babies in high doses over long periods of time.
However, that doesn’t mean that even a small amount of WiFi is going to be dramatically dangerous.
All of that to say, I think you have to pick your battles. If some of the things I’ve mentioned above or below seem simple enough to you, and make sense for your life, implement them, if not, that’s ok.
I’m just trying to offer as many ideas as possible so that you can make an informed decision for yourself and your family.
So let’s look at a few more ideas.
1. Baby Blanket
Anti-radiation blankets are a product that I am a huge fan of because they make a ton of sense, and they just work. Basically what it is, is a simple blanket on the outside, but the inside is made of a silver mesh material that blocks RF radiation (and all EMF radiation for that matter).
The nice thing about them is that you can use them while pregnant to protect the belly while you’re on your cell-phone, laptop, tablet, or just to protect yourself from the WiFi in the home. After the baby is born, many of them double as baby blankets to help protect them while in the crib.
Disclaimer: I’m not offering medical advice here, never put a blanket inside a crib with a newborn, and consult your own doctor or expert for advice on when a blanket is safe for your child.
Check out this article, or my recommended products page for recommendations on good blankets.
My favorite and the one we currently use is this one you can get on Amazon.
2. Get An EMF Meter
I feel like I mention this in almost every article I write, but I think that is a good thing. Honestly, having a good EMF meter is just the best thing you can do if you are trying to make changes or adjustments to reduce your general exposure to WiFi radiation or any EMF radiation.
For example, let’s say you purchase the router guard I talk about above, but want to see how much of a difference it’s making in your babies nursery. If you have a good EMF meter, that is capable of measuring RF radiation (be sure to check, not all of them do), then you can measure the difference it’s making.
You can apply this to almost all of the products and strategies I’ve mentioned in the post.
There are lots of good EMF meters out there, but I always recommend the Trifield TF2, because it measures all three types of EMF radiation, is extremely simple to use, and is quite accurate for its fairly affordable price.
Like I talked about above, the bottom line is that yes, WiFi likely is harmful to babies in my opinion, but it’s difficult to say based on the studies we have, just how acute that danger is.
So, I would say that if there are things that you can do to protect your family from EMF radiation, that you feel are worth doing, then by all means. The best thing you can do is to stay educated, educate others, and make the best decisions for your own situation.
If you have any questions or need any advice, you can always reach out to me. I’m in my inbox hours every day helping people just like you.
Your friend in health,