The Hidden Dangers Where Children Sleep
Hidden Dangers for Children – Part 1
Introduction: New Borns, Infants, Toddlers and Children
As a parent, your new born is the most important member of your family. You will do anything to protect and nuture your child through these turbulent times. You will protect and take precautions to ensure that they are not
A new born is a baby that has just been born.
As soon as your baby is with you, you put your life on hold and invest in your child 100%. You will do anything to protect and nurture them. You might be able to see the growth in their personality and intelligence when they start making sounds around four months old. By six months, they will start responding to your voice and by one year, they will understand more than you could even imagine.
New borns are not like adults in many ways; they can’t speak or walk yet, but they still have a lot of personality traits that make them unique and interesting just the way they are.
Why is sleep important for new borns, infants, toddlers and children?
When we put our children to sleep, we want the best for them. We all know that babies need to sleep to develop well, but if you ask your pediatrician what advice they may give you as a parent, they may tell you that it’s not just about sleep.
Many parents wonder why their baby has a hard time sleeping through the night and how they can make it easier on them. If you have a hard time getting your child to sleep through the night, there are a few things you should consider.
Is it a safe room to sleep in?
Are there any environmental hazards?
Are you using certain devices in the bedroom, which you shouldn’t?
Could there be a building issue that you are not aware of?
How much sleep does a child need?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has established developed a consensus recommendation for the amount of sleep a child needs at different ages. The amount is calculated by the sleep time minus the wake time.
A recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has found that :
Infants need 12 to 16 hours sleep
1 to 2 year olds need 11 to 14 hours sleep
3 to 5 year olds need 10 to 13 hours sleep.
6 or 7 year olds should be allowed 8 or 9 hours of sleep every night.
Teenagers 13-18 should sleep 8 to 10 hours a day
Sleep on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
Tips for Parents to Reduce the Risks Unsafe Sleeping Areas for Children
As a parent, you may have thought about putting your child to sleep in a safe spot. However, there are many risks that you should take into account before putting your child to bed.
Make sure the bedding is clean and has a neutral smell. Fragrances from laundry detergent are chemicals, which can off-gas and create volatile organic compounds (VOC). These chemical gases may be toxic to your child.
Change bedding weekly and use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to vacuum the mattress, bed and/or cot. Keep dust levels low. Dust mites will feed off dead skin cells. Dust mite faeces will also accumulate. Dust and dust mite faeces are known allergens.
If your child is restless or moves around on the mattress, there may be an environmental hazard. Children intuitively will move away from an unsafe area. Unfortunately as new borns or toddlers, they may be restricted in their cot or bed. These hazards may be geopathic stresses, AC magnetic fields or even radiofrequency fields.
Geopathic stresses may be earth energies from fault lines that may cause sleep disturbances or teeth grinding for children sleeping in these zones.
Magnetic fields are possible carcinogens and electrical appliances such as fridges, meter box and washing machines may create magnetic field radiation, which may impact the sleeping area. It also increases the risk of childhood leukemia.
Radiofrequency fields are any wireless communication such as wireless baby monitors, wireless webcams, Wi-Fi routers, Wi-Fi extenders, Wireless security cameras, smart TVs and wireless speakers. These have been reported to cause restlessness in children, including sleep disturbances, anxiety, mood swings and in worst case scenarios, epileptic seizures.
Health effects of electromagnetic fields on children
Children are more vulnerable to health problems than adults because their neurological development is still underway and it’s hard for them to protect themselves from outside factors.
It’s interesting to see how the skull of an adult is approximately 2mm thick, but the skulls of children are thinner with about 0.5mm at 5 years old and 1 mm on 10 years older. RF radiation has a stronger affect on children compared to adults. RF wireless radiation is absorbed twice as much in children compared to adults..
Electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, are invisible and omnipresent in our everyday lives. They can be found in phones, TVs, and Wi-Fi routers. But we don’t know the long-term effects of exposure to these invisible forces on our health.
There are many studies that have found an increased risk of headaches, sleep disruption, neurotransmitter release, and synaptic plasticity alterations in children with higher levels of EMF exposure.
Using phones before bedtime is never good for health. Children with higher phone use had less favourable sleep durations, more night sleep awakenings, and more parasomnia sleep disorder symptoms.
The nervous systems of children are more vulnerable to the effects of electromagnetic waves than adults for a number of reasons. They are exposed to increased amounts in the world around them. While some sources show that EMFs are possibly carcinogenic, they should be minimized.
The screens from digital devices also produces blue light spectrum of light, which has been found to suppress melatonin release at night. This impacts the body’s natural ability to sleep, often with sleep onset delay by several hours.
A quick way to check if your children slept well (for toddlers and above) is to ask if they had good dreams and what sort of dream was it?
Best Bedtime Routine for Children
Keep your child safe from long-term exposure to strong EMFs in the home, school, or other places they spend most of their time. Kids are often left with devices like smartphones right against their head or body, which can lead to various health concerns. This means turning off or removing:
wi-fi routers / NBN routers
Wireless sound bars (Sonos)
Door bells (Ring)
Wireless security cameras (Arlo)
Garmin, FitBit, iWatch
keep electrical devices and appliances away from the sleeping area.
These are just some of the obvious sources, but there are many electrical devices that have Zigbee or other Internet-of-Things (IoT) modules that can transmit EMFs. Only a building biologist will be able to identify the EMF sources properly along with appropriate EMF solutions to mitigate the problem.
Limit screen time from digital devices or smart TV’s by turning it off 1-3 hours before they go to sleep.
Set a bedtime routine. Some of these helpful tips for making their child’s nights easier include: playing calming music at bedtime, having a regular for bedtime and waking up time, limiting and avoiding bright white lights in bedrooms and living areas. Use an amber or red coloured night light. A recommended red coloured night light is the BlockBlueLight.com.au Night Light (use 10% discount code: balanced).
Incandescent lights are generally best suited for children’s rooms. They are not as harsh as an LED light & don’t tire the eyes of your child so they can fall asleep more easily.
For Geopathic stresses, hire a Building Biologist to do a Geopathic stress assessment. The building biologist will also be able to do an EMF assessment of the home looking for RF wireless radiation and AC Magnetic Fields.
In conclusion, take the precautionary approach and limit your children’s exposure to EMFs and digital devices. Try it for a month. Monitor your child’s sleep during the month and keep a daily log. Monitor how they move around on their bed. Hiring a professional Building Biologist will give you confidence on identifying and remediating environmental hazards in the home. There are so many factors and devices that may contribute to poor sleep quality for children.