You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

White noise makers….are they helpful or dangerous?

baby covering ears

New study questions the use of white noise for infant sleep……is it helpful or dangerous??

How to help infant sleep patterns is a common question I get almost daily.  Exhausted Moms want to know how they can help their infant sleep better and longer resulting in them getting some precious sleep time too!  I have always recommended Dr. Harvey Karp’s method of the 5 S’s, suck, shhhh sound, side lying, swaddle, and sway.  This method has worked for many a frazzled Mom.  Just this week, the journal of Pediatrics published a study regarding white noise machines and the possible risk to infant hearing.  I can hear Moms yelling all over the country….WHAT?!?  I have found a system that works and now it might be dangerous to my child’s hearing??!!

I must be truthful….long before Dr. Harvey Karp and The Happiest Baby on the Block was popular, I used a blow dryer running next to my rocking chair to calm my terribly fussy baby #2.  I am sure that white noise was above the recommended level! (maybe that explained her selective hearing when she was growing up???)

Before we all panic and give up our white noise machines…..let’s remember that this is one study.  It does bear our notice and perhaps some rethinking of how we are using white noise makers for our children, but it does not warrant throwing out a system that works.  Remember, sleep is a health issue too!  Children who do not sleep well are at risk for many health problems not to mention households with children who don’t sleep are full of stress.

So in my opinion what should we take away from this study…..

First, keep your baby’s white noise machine on a low volume level.  Dr. Harvey Karp states that the white noise should be no louder than the sound of a soft shower running.  Second, move the machine away from your child’s bed. We should try to keep the noise machine across the room (200 cm) away from your child’s head. I must say that I have worried about infants who I see coming in with a smart phone next to their head in a car seat and a white noise app running.  I think more important that the duration of the sound it is more important to be concerned about these two things, keeping the noise low and away from the child’s ears.  Dr. Harvey Karp does say that the best white noise sound to encourage sleep is low and rumbling, not high-pitched and loud.

As with most things in life, few things are either all good or all bad.  Healthy sleep is essential, good sleep habits are valuable, and happy families tend to be well rested families.  So however we can promote good sleep and effective safe sleep habits is essential.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


amilies, so however we can promote good sleep and sleep habits safely is essential.


  1. My daughter slept to the sound of the vacuum running for the first 6 months. It was all we could do to help her. She has exemplary hearing. She is also a very talented little violin player. You can’t play well if you don’t have perfect hearing and then some.


    • White noise is a great sleep aid for infants….we are just now learning that we might need to be careful about how close the white noise is to the baby. I am sure she is a talented violin player!! 🙂


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