Is it safe to use mobile phones around babies?

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PHOTO: The Straits Times

Mobile phones give off radiation, so is it safe to use yours around Baby or let her play with one?

There are many studies conducted over the years to determine if there is an increased risk of brain tumour associated with the use of mobile phones, says Dr Natalie Epton, specialist paediatrician and neonatologist at International Paediatric Clinic.

Most did not find any association with increased risk. The radiation emitted is "non-ionising" rather than "ionising" (one which is emitted by X-rays and known to be linked to cancer), she explains.

But there is still significant scientific uncertainty, especially over long-term health implications after 10 years of usage.

And because none of these studies were conducted with children, no one knows what the risk is to them.

"What we do know is that the use of mobile phones is known to affect sleep patterns and cognitive function (memory and attention), and may cause headaches and dizziness in sensitive individuals," Dr Epton adds.

In light of this, the World Health Organisation advises caution, advocating the Alara principle (As Low as Reasonably Achievable), or the prudent avoidance principle when allowing infants and young children to play with or use the mobile phone.

6 things new parents waste money on in Singapore

  • 1. Newborn Celebrations In Singapore, celebrating the birth of a baby usually happens after the baby turns one month old.
  • Although it is a joyous occasion, the question is, does your baby even know what's happening at the "ripe, old age" of one month old? It's a bit of an extravagance, especially if parents are spending few thousands of dollars for it. Our Tip: Save that money in your baby's Child Development Account (CDA) as the government will match the savings dollar-for-dollar up to the $6,000 limit.
  • 2. Baby Clothes Ask any parents and they'll tell you it's an absolute waste of money to spend too much on baby clothes. They grow at a phenomenal speed and in no time the clothes can't be used anymore.
  • Say yes to "hand-me-downs" and keep the clothes that your baby has outgrown for your next kid (if you are planning to have another child!) or sell it on Carousell.
  • 3. Baby Spa Essentially, you can bring your baby (as young as 1-month-old) to a baby spa where there will be specialised bathtubs for babies to float in using a neck flotation device.
  • It may make more sense to have your baby play with some water in a baby tub under your own guidance or bring him/her to a real pool at an older age.
  • 4. Diaper Changing Station Diaper changing stations are one of those little extras that are not actually essential but end up costing a lot of money. To save money, don't even bother buying one.
  • Our Tip: Simply put a changing mat on your bed to change your baby's diapers.This way you avoid spending money on a fancy diaper changing station and you don't take up any extra space with it either.
  • 5. Milk Powder Baby milk formulas are usually considered to be essential for newborns - unless you're feeding your child with breast milk.
  • Breast milk is full of benefits for your baby. It comes with all the nutrients your child needs, being rich in antibodies and helping to build up your baby's immune system.
  • And for the mother? You won't have to make temperature checks, sterilise milk bottles, spend money on milk formula and it will help you get back to your pre-pregnancy size at a faster rate.
  • 6. Vaccination Packages We understand that healthcare is of top concern for every parent and the cost of specialised care and vaccinations for your baby do not come cheap.
  • Are expensive vaccinations superior in quality? Not really. So why waste thousands of dollars signing up for private vaccination packages? Our Tip: Singapore's polyclinics offer a number of childhood immunisations for free if your child is a Singapore citizen, and you can even use Medisave to pay for them.

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