When my husband and I brought our newborn daughter home from the hospital, we thought we were ready. I had hoarded diapers, he had set up the crib. We had the baby monitor all ready to go, too, but then we realized we had no clue where to put it — in her crib or next to the crib or on the nightstand across the room? Turns out, we weren't as ready as we had thought, but many new parents face this very same question — how close can the baby monitor be to my baby? After all, you want to keep tabs on your little one, but you also want them to be as safe as possible.
Baby monitors can be major sanity savers for new parents, but the monitor's cord can cause safety issues if placed within your child's reach. Since 2002, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recorded seven deaths and three near-suffocations from baby monitor cords. That's a very scary statistic, but it's also why organizations like the CPSC and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) caution parents to keep monitors at least 3 feet away from their baby. In other words, you should never place the monitor in the crib or right next to it — it's just too risky.
For your own peace of mind, you may want to do another safety check of your baby's sleeping area. Not only should you position your baby monitor at least 3 feet away from the crib or bassinet, the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles also suggested tucking away any loose cords, especially if your kid is getting mobile.
If you have a newer baby monitor that connects to wi-fi, you might also be wondering if the wireless connection can affect your little one's health. Maybe you're feeling anxious because you've heard around the neighborhood that wireless devices can affect a kid's development. But you can tell yourself (and your neighbors) to breathe a little easier. The World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that there is no convincing evidence that wireless networks cause negative health effects, and the American Cancer Society concurred that radiofrequency waves (which are used in wi-fi technology) do not directly damage human DNA. So feel free to use that wi-fi baby monitor — but put it where your baby can't reach it.
Whether you own a hand-me-down audio monitor or a fancy wireless gadget that doubles as a night light and music player, the rule for baby monitor placement remains the same. The JPMA even provided a handy reminder for parents — "3 feet away is where your monitor should stay" — which may sound a little cheesy, but might just save a few lives, too.