I'm a software developer by profession. And I like working in my bedroom. And my 2-month-old son's baby bed is in there as well. I'm curious about the radiation and the thermal effect on my growing baby.

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    What forms/sources of radiation are you worried about? What kind of thermal effects are you worried about? Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 13:22
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    Not worried about constant light and noise but about EM radiation?
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 10:18
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    It is a shame that the educational process for software experts doesnt include basic electronics, which would eliminate confusion at this level. Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 14:25
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    Apart from the noise from (rotating) hard disks and fans, some electronic devices make high-pitch low-volume noise. You probably don't notice that noise anymore. A little kid does notice such noises, sometimes (anecdotal evidence: lightbulb). Noise might make babies and kids nervous/restless (without apparent reason unless you notice the noise).
    – Pablo H
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 16:44
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    @CarlWitthoft Even if the software curriculum did include cursory electronics courses, this seems like a perfectly reasonable question for a new parent to ask. Others here probably know more than what is taught in a one-semester Introduction to Electronics course. OP should be encouraged to continue asking questions, not berated for not knowing something you may find obvious. Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 18:30

4 Answers 4


Working in the same room your son sleeps is more an issue of the sounds and light of your monitor you make while working rather than the electromagnetic radiation. If possible, it'd be good for nap times if you could work in a different location. If working in your bedroom is all you've got, try using a sound machine to mask the noises of you working.

The radiation that your computer emits is extremely low. You monitor is the greatest emitter of electromagnetic radiation and the effects of it are only noticeable if you spend prolonged time less than 1 foot away from your monitor. (See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787304/) Note: This study is related to rats and old-fashioned CRT monitors (rather than current LCD displays) were placed 20cm from the rat cages. Bottom line, you've got to be really close to a vintage monitor for electromagnetic radiation from a PC monitor to have an impact.

Additionally, new monitors emit significantly less electromagnetic radiation than the old CRT monitors. [Note: I didn't specify that CRT Monitors emitted a dangerous level of X-Ray radiation that is no longer an issue.]

If you can move where you work, I'd recommend it. Blue light and the random sounds you make without even noticing will disrupt sleep, which can impact your son's development, demeanor and amount of time awake at night.

Blue light on the other hand is a problem — not just for your son but for you and anyone else who uses electronic devices. Blue light is linked to disrupted sleep cycles and insomnia (See: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/longhourstraining/color.html)

More anecdotally, when you work you make a lot of irregular sounds. The action on your keyboard combined with altered breathing as your work can disrupt a child's sleep. With my three sons, my wife and I had to move each one out of our room by 6 months old because they would wake at night just by us turning over in bed as we slept.

All this is moot if you are not able to work anywhere else, but you can mitigate the effects of blue light and the noise of working. Use a sound machine to mask noise and turn your screen monitor brightness down and color correct your monitor to reduce blue light — not sure what OS you develop on but Ubuntu/Linux has a setting that allows for a "Night Light" blue light reduction.

Hope this helps.

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    "the effects of it are only noticeable if you spend prolonged time less than 1 foot away from your monitor" Do you have any source for this claim? What kind of effects are you talking about?
    – idmean
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 6:07
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    @idmean I would guess they're talking about X-rays emitted by CRT displays. But nobody has CRT displays any more. Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 8:18
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    @user253751 .... that you know of. Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 14:33
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    "If possible, it'd be good for nap times if you could work in a different location." OTOH, it's good for a kid to learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep even in a noisy environment. We never put our kids in a "cone of silence" for sleeping and it paid off when our 6 month old slept through the 2nd half of a basketball playoff game with a dozen people yelling and shouting just outside his bedroom door.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 15:37
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    "You monitor is the greatest emitter of electromagnetic radiation and the effects of it are only noticeable if you spend prolonged time less than 1 foot away from your monitor." Uh, no, you notice it all the time - keep in mind that light is electromagnetic radiation and if your monitor did not produce light it wouldn't be very good at doing anything at all.
    – J...
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 16:13

"Radiation" is a very broad term. It includes things like visible light, or the infrared light emitted by your body. What is harmful is ionizing radiation. A computer does not emit ionizing radiation. There is ionizing background radiation present all the time in our environment at low levels.

Re thermal effects, a computer puts out heat, but so does your own body. If it's too warm in the room, then you can turn on the AC.

In summary, there is zero hazard to your baby from your computer due to radiation or thermal effects.

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    "turn on the AC"? This is a bedroom in a residential house, not an office with air-conditioning! Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 6:55
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    @TobySpeight in some areas in the world it's very common to have AC in residential houses
    – Ivo
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 7:51
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    Or even in apartments. And in some places, many people have separate window unit AC systems, including in bedrooms Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 15:25
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    @TobySpeight Your comment is so shocking to me that I'm curious where you're from. Certainly here in Arizona, the majority of the population would literally die without AC.
    – Brady Gilg
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 18:43
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    @BradyGilg I was curious too. Their profile says Scotland. Apparently a warm summer day in Scotland is around 15-17C (59-63F). Cool enough that AC isn't really a requirement. Arizona on the other hand has highs around 40C/105F - where yeah, people may literally die in the heat.
    – Grant
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 20:53

The fears of computer largely stem from CRT (cathode ray tube, the "bulky" kind) monitors from the past. They were fully replaced by LCDs (liquid crystal displays, the "flat" ones) in 2000-2010 and never appeared in mass-produced portable computers in the first place.

CRT monitors did emit x-rays that are a known health issue. Bigger monitors / TV sets emitted disproportionately more. In the last decade of the CRT development (say, 1990-2000) the x-rays were somewhat mitigated by lead additives in the glass that made the tubes even heavier (not that they were lightweight in the first place).

The problem completely went away when the tubes were replaced with LCDs. They have different working principle and completely lack a mechanism to generate dangerous radiation of any kind.

Today, all the health risks related to computers are completely visible and manageable, including the light, the heat, the noise and the attention grabbing.

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    "[CRTs] never appeared in mass-produced portable computers in the first place." - this is a historical nit; the very first portable (luggable, they were hefty) computers (such as the Osborne and the Kaypro) did have CRTs...
    – poncho
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 11:44
  • Yes, I am aware that crt-based portable computers did exist. How many of them were ever produced?
    – fraxinus
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 12:49
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    At one time, Kaypro was the number 5 computer manufacturer; they apparently sold quite a few. Of course, we're talking 35-40 years ago; asaprab is certainly not using such ancient technology...
    – poncho
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 13:06

Dont put it next to the crib. It is too noisy, and once I saw one the power supply of a PC starting to blow. Lots of smoke, plug was pulled, so not sure if a fire (inside the PSU) would have developed.

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