White Noise for Babies – Sound Machine Safety for Your Infant

White Noise for Babies – Sound Machine Safety for Your InfantIt’s no secret that your baby probably isn’t the best sleeper (and if your baby is, then lucky you!), so it comes as no surprise that many parents rely on sleep noise machines to help soothe their newborns into lasting slumber. River sounds, rainfall, and ever crickets chirping are much easier to fall asleep to than traffic or other disruptive noises!

But what happens when you’re trying to compete with outside sounds using a sleep noise machine? You don’t want to expose your newborn to potentially damaging sound levels, even if they drown out exterior noise.

Dr. Harvey Karp (noted pediatrician and author) advises keeping sound levels at around the same volume as a “soft shower.” Karp, whose guide The Happiest Baby Guide to Good Sleep is well-loved by many parents, also recommends that parents place the sound machine at least a foot away from their child’s head.

As for duration, Karp’s rule to follow is that parents should keep the sound continuous, so as not to disturb their baby during sleep. Otherwise, there is a greater chance that baby’s sleep would cease when the sleep machine’s timer runs out. Uninterrupted sound is “like the teddy bear of sounds,” Karp explains, because “the white noise is there as a continual presence, just like a teddy bear.”

Try and strike a balance between reliance on sound machines and other methods you can use to help sound-proof your baby’s room. Hang thicker drapes that muffle some of the noise you may hear through your windows (even while closed). Try to stick to a bedtime routine to help your baby ease into sleep. Try swaddling your baby or practice some skin-to-skin time before laying your baby in the crib.

Researchers who’ve studied the impact of sound on babies’ ear canals agree that the sleep noise machine should not be in the crib with your baby. It’s a matter of making sure the sound levels are not too loud so your baby’s hearing won’t be negatively affected. Remember that your baby’s ear drums are more sensitive than your own, so when tuning your sound machine stick to a low volume level to play it safe.

What kinds of noises lull your baby into sleep? Share with us in the comments!