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Are sound machines safe for babies?



White noise, known for its calming effect, is a popular aid for baby sleep through sound machines. This blog explores its benefits, addresses concerns, and provides guidelines for safe usage, referencing an informative article on the topic.


Why White Noise for Baby Sleep:

  • Research-backed benefits include calming fussy babies and promoting quicker, longer sleep.


How Sound Machines Help:

  • Mimicking the womb environment, sound machines create familiarity and comfort for newborns.

  • Act as a barrier against disruptive environmental noises, enhancing sleep quality. In fact, disruptive sleep is actually shown to have a negative effect. According to the latest statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (the AAP) (1), environmental noise is a major cause of disrupted sleep for children, and this disrupted sleep has a negative effect on “daytime alertness, performance, quality of life, and overall health.”

Is it safe?

People have seen information floating around about how sound machines could produce hearing loss, speech delays, impaired auditory processing, and "fight or flight" response.


So are they safe? Yes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, reassures that white noise, when used appropriately, poses no harm to babies. (and research shows that they are beneficial for sleep) (2). There is no evidence that the use of sound machines or white noise is bad for babies.


How to use a sound machine appropriately. Here are the American Academy of Pediatric’s guidelines:

  • Place the sound machine at least 7 feet away from your little one’s sleeping space.

  • Use the lowest effective volume. (You can even turn down the volume once your little one is asleep.). AAP recommends sound machines are kept at 50 dB or lower. (3) The CDC recommends under 60 dB. (4)

  • Turn off the sound machine during awake time.

If you are looking to dive in and learn more about the details on this you can read the full article by Cara Dumaplin - RN, BSN, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. We are huge fans of hers and she is a fantastic sleep expert providing evidence based, credible support to parents. Regarding the topic of sound machines, she stated the following


"What I want you to know is that I have studied the research, pored over the most recent policy statements of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and have worked extensively with speech-language pathologists and pediatric audiologists regarding the use of sound machines for baby and child sleep."


Conclusion:

In conclusion, according to current research and expert insights, sound machines, when used safely, are a beneficial tool for baby sleep. We encourage parents to stay informed, consult professionals, and choose the approach that best suits their baby's needs.

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