5 Tips to Protect Kids From Cellphone Radiation During Holiday Travel
By Nicole Ferox
If you're traveling this holiday season, chances are your kid will have a device in his or her lap for at least part of the trip.
Don't feel bad. We get it. Traveling with kids is harder than lifting a memory foam mattress.
Anything using a Wi-Fi or cell signal emits some amount of radiation in the form of radiofrequency energy, including smartphones, tablets, Kindles, laptops and smartwatches. The amount of radiation depends on the device and the strength of the signal.
Research from the National Toxicology Program found that lab animals exposed to radiofrequency radiation at levels similar to those emitted by cellphones had a greater likelihood of developing brain cancer and heart tumors. This study offers valuable insight into the potential risk to people, including future exposure to 5G wireless networks.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of radiation those devices give off and how much your kid is directly exposed to.
1. Get It Out of Your Child's Lap
Make space between the device and your kid's body. Even a few inches make a big difference.
Instead, put the device on a portable lap desk or airplane tray table to keep it from resting on your child's body. (Portable lap desks are easy to find, even in foldable travel versions. As a bonus, they're great for eating and drawing in the car, too.)
Also, teach your kids to carry their cellphone in a backpack or purse—somewhere other than next to their body in a pocket. This is especially important when kids are on a call—phones emit higher radiation when they're transmitting a call or data.
2. Keep Devices in Airplane Mode
This is especially important when the signal is weak or when you're moving—like in a car or train. The harder a device has to work to find a tower, the more radiation it releases. So as you're speeding along, cellphones and cell-enabled tablets are working extra hard to connect with towers along the way, and your kids are getting a bigger dose of radiation. When they're in airplane mode, devices don't send or search for a signal and therefore don't emit radiation.
You can minimize your kids' pushback about this by downloading apps and videos before leaving home so you don't stream them while you travel. Many apps can be played without Wi-Fi or cell signal, and as of this writing, Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video allow users to download TV and movies via their iPhone app.
3. Always Use Headphones or Speaker Mode for Calls
Cellphones emit their highest radiation levels during phone calls, and that level goes up even more when the signal is weak or moving. And because children's small heads and thinner skulls can absorb more radiation, regular cellphone use puts them at increased risk of potentially harmful exposure. Teach kids to use headphones or speaker mode every time they make a call (and put the phone somewhere away from their bodies while they talk, like on a table or arm rest, or in a cup holder).
4. Don't Let Kids Sleep With Their Devices
Kids shouldn't sleep next to their devices, and especially not with them under their pillow. According to Pew Research Center, 90 percent of young adults sleep with their phone in or right next to their bed. Even when they're not being used, cellphones emit a small amount of radiation, and small amounts—of almost anything—can add up to big trouble for children. Plus, there's a ton of research which shows that heavy device use, especially right before bed, messes with our circadian rhythms and ability to fall asleep. And as every parent knows, that's the last thing you want to happen with your kids, especially when you're on your way to a week at Grandma's house.
5. … or Next to the Wi-Fi Router
When you do finally get to Grandma's, don't put the kids' air mattresses next to the router in her office. Scientists don't know what the effects of Wi-Fi are on human health, because most studies, including the research that gave rise to cellphone radiation being classified as a possible carcinogen, have been done on conventional cellphone radiation. But the closer the source of radiation, the more kids will absorb. So some experts recommend placing the router in an area of the house where people spend fairly little time, rather than near beds.
And of course, if you're willing to go all out to help your kids avoid radiation exposure, there's always the radical option of giving the screens a rest and breaking out the markers and drawing paper instead.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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