Saturday, April 28, 2007

Warning on wi-fi health risk to children | Uk News | News | Telegraph

Warning on wi-fi health risk to children | Uk News | News | Telegraph

As I type this on a laptop, Oliver is well away from me, snoozing in his buggy. But sometime he has used this laptop to play games.

Children should not place computers on their laps while they are using wireless internet connections because of potential health risks, according to a leading Government adviser.

A leading Government adviser warns of potential health risks to children using laptops with wireless internet connections
According to estimates, half of all primary schools are already using wireless networks

Professor Lawrie Challis, who heads the committee on mobile phone safety research, called yesterday for pupils to be monitored amid mounting public concern over emissions from wi-fi networks.

He is concerned that few studies have been carried out into the level of exposure in classrooms and believes that if health problems do emerge they are likely to be more serious in children.

Prof Challis, is chairman of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme, an £8.4 million investigation, funded by the Government and the industry, into the potential health risks of mobile phones.

He said that until more research had been carried out, children who used wi-fi enabled laptops should only do so if they kept a safe distance from their embedded antennas.

Prof Challis said: "With a desktop computer, the transmitter will be in the tower.

"This might be perhaps 20cms from your leg and the exposure would then be around one per cent of that from a mobile phone.

"However if you put a laptop straight on your lap and are using wi-fi, you could be around 2cms from the transmitter, and receiving comparable exposure to that from a mobile phone.

"Children are much more sensitive than adults to a number of other dangers, such as pollutants like lead and UV radiation, so if there should be a problem with mobiles, then it may be a bigger problem for children.

"Since we advise that children should be discouraged from using mobile phones, we should also discourage children from placing their laptop on their lap when they are using wi-fi.

"In view of public concern, I should like to see some measurements of intensities arising from wi-fi made in schools."

Last week it was revealed that Sir William Stewart, the chairman of the Health Protection Agency, told colleagues that he would like to see monitoring of children exposed to wireless technology in schools.

In the past 18 months approximately 1.6 million wi-fi connections have been set up in British homes and offices, and about one in five adults owns a wireless-enabled laptop.

According to estimates, half of all primary schools and four fifths of all secondary schools are using wireless networks.

Wi-fi works through the transmission of radio waves between a router, which is connected to a telephone line, and a small transmitter in a computer.

Under international guidelines the amount of energy absorbed into the body from such radio waves cannot exceed two watts per kilogram when averaged over any 10 grams of tissue.

The maximum signal strength next to the router or computer transmitter is 0.1 watts and the power level falls off very rapidly beyond a few cms from the transmission points.

However it is believed that a classroom containing 20 laptops and two routers could combine and be equivalent to the emission from a mobile phone.

Jeff Hand, professor of imaging physics at Imperial College London, said: "If we are talking about health issues linked to localised heating of tissue then these will be insignificant at the power levels we are talking about here."

But while most scientists only recognise potential health effects from mobile phones linked to heating, others believe there could be "non-thermal" effects.

Alasdair Philips, the director of Powerwatch, the consumer group, said: "We are not talking about problems caused by heating. Our brains and nervous systems work by using electrical signals. I believe these signals are being interfered with by exposure to this wi-fi radiation.

"Based on studies reporting effects experienced by people living near mobile phone masts, I would predict chronic fatigue, memory and concentration problems, irritability and behaviour problems - exactly what we are seeing increasingly in our school pupils. "

Prof Challis has backed Sir William's recommendations in his 2000 report that children under 15 keep mobile phone use to a minimum and be encouraged to text rather than call.

The Health Protection Agency also advises children to limit their use of mobiles.

The Austrian Medical Association is pressing for a ban on wi-fi in schools. Dr Gerd Oberfeld, Salzburg's head of environmental health and medicine, has described wi-fi as "dangerous" to sensitive people.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Wi-fi devices are of very low power, much lower than mobile phones. The only firm precautionary advice issued by the Health Protection Agency is about children's use of mobile phones."

•A report into the possible link between high-voltage cables and cancer has urged the Government to consider restricting homes and schools within 200 feet.

But the study, commissioned by the Department of Health, stopped short of recommending a specific ban.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Old blogs don't die...

...but some are virtually dead.

When Hayley was first pregnant with Oliver I came across a blog. It was written by a woman in the USA who was herself pregnant at the time. It was called Pregnant In America. This was the blog that inspired me to write one myself. It was frank, interesting and (perhaps most importantly) was written by someone who was going through the same things we were as soon-to-be first-time parents.

Later, she gave birth to a daughter and the blog became Mothering In America. I continued to read and enjoy it.

But then one day last year, it stopped without warning. The last post was May 14th 2006. After that, silence.

I've often wondered what happened. Did something terrible happen? Or did she just get bored with the whole idea? I'll never know. But as there seems little chance of a new post appearing, I am removing it from my list of other Parent bloggers.

So momin05, so long and thank you, wherever you may be.


Hayley recounts a short anecdote from playgroup.

I think I should do this more often: post a liitle video clip of a story rather than type it all in. OK, it is a little lazy, but what is the one thing we parents always complain we have too little of? Time!

Hayley seems to come home with at least one little anecdote every day. Often she only remembers to tell me when we have gone to bed. That's how hectic life feels at times.

Today is Hayley's birthday. It's a beautiful day outside. PIty I'll be stuck indoors half the day revising for my Open University exam tomorrow. Still, after that it's all over... and we'll be doubly celebrating... woohooo!

Friday, April 20, 2007

His latest flame?

Each morning one of us will knock on Oliver's door and then enter, wondering how he will greet us. As morning seems to be my allocated "popular" time-slot, he quite often says "Dada". Other days he balances things up with a "Mama".

This morning I was greeted by "Amber!", the name of his little friend who Hayley child-minds on Thursdays and Fridays. Then again this evening (a few minutes ago) he stirred from his sleep, sat up, said "Amber" then went back to sleep.

As Amber's Dad is an ardent City fan and our house is staunchly in the United camp, it remains to be seen how happy he'll be about having Oliver as her suitor. Especially as he already came round one day to find his daughter wearing a Oliver's United hat and my scarf.

BBC NEWS | England | Devon | Toddler fight family spared jail

BBC NEWS | England | Devon | Toddler fight family spared jail

"Michelle Elliott, director of children's charity Kidscape, said: 'Quite frankly if there was an offence that deserved even 12 months in prison this was it."

"What they've done is send a message that this isn't a very serious thing and they've walked free. I think most people are outraged by that."

You can say that again!

What sort of sick, retarded individuals would do this to animals, let alone children, let alone their own children!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

BBC NEWS | Health | Postnatal mental care 'lacking'

BBC NEWS | Health | Postnatal mental care 'lacking'

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mind Your Language!

Not a reference to the 70s sitcom that I so fondly remember (but dare not watch for fear of finding its foreigner-teasing comedy hasn't stood the test of time), but rather a simple warning that Hayley and I must heed ever more vigilantly.

Oliver is picking up on everything we say. Hayley's habit of saying "Right!" just before heading out of the door or setting out in the car has resulted in little echoes of her through the house as Oliver grabs his coat to go out. More poignantly, Oliver and I were playing with a puzzle together and at one point said to him "I'm sorry" when I dropped a piece. This set him off apologising to us for the next few minutes, even though he had done nothing wrong.

Worse still, he has even invoked this heart-wrenching "I sorry" when he has misbehaved. I promptly forgave him only to find he immediately repeated his misdemeanour (which, by the way, was a total refusal to co-operate with Daddy's attempts to clean his teeth).

But what all parents fear is the momentary lapse when you mutter something you shouldn't. It happened to Hayley yesterday when her phone wouldn't work. She was talking to a friend when it cut her off. As she walked from the kitchen her frustration got the better of her and she muttered "this phone is crap!". To which I immediately heard Oliver respond, "crap!".

Vigilance is definitely needed.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The week in pictures

When I took Oliver out last Saturday morning, I had every intention of giving him a healthy mid-morning snack.... until he spotted the ice-cream man. But you should have seen his mile-wide smile when I turned from the ice-cream man to give him his 99 cornet.

When Daddy is in charge...

On Sunday he enjoyed an Easter Egg hunt at Nanny's and a ride on a giraffe.


On Monday he was impressed with the new carrier I bought for him to ride on Daddy's bike.

new_weeride_carrier 002

new_weeride_carrier 005

During the week we saw that Julien was being given more privileges. A seat at his Master's table was high on Oliver's list of priorities.


On Thursday we had fish and chips a day early. Oliver came to the chippy with me to watch the goings-on behind the counter and make sure his chips were cooked to perfection.

At the chippy

At the end of the first warm, summery week of the year (yesterday I was able to ride home from work in a t-shirt for the first time), Oliver's hair is already starting to turn to its summer blonde colour.

With La-Laa

And tomorrow is Saturday again. I wonder if he'll be requesting an ice-cream...


It's funny how kids go through little crazes. Right now Oliver loves Roly Mo, friendly mole with his own show on CBeebies. So much does he love him that we bought him a Roly Mo toy. In fact he would watch it 3 times a day or more if we let him. He gets away with 2 episodes some days.

His other big craze is more than a fleeting phase. When we take him to playgroups he loves to push around a pushchair. In fact, so much so that we bought him one of those too. He will pass several happy minutes at a time, placing Roly, Julien or a little "dolly" that we have into the pushchair and then walking them around the room. Removing them, replacing them, swapping them, jetisonning them onto the floor in favour of someone else.... he adores it.

And as with anything he adores he walks around doing it with his Mister Serious face on. Whether he is playing with his cooker, helping Mummy make some real cakes, pushing his pushchair or playing with his cars and garage, he becomes completely absorbed. Sometimes he does chat away too, but mostly he has the air of a man at work!

Talking of talking, he is adding more words to his vocab all the time. It's sometime hard to understand what he is saying, as his form of the word can often be quite far from the real word. After his fun on a giraffe ride at my Mum's house, he is paying more attention to his toy giraffes. His word for a giraffe sounds like "babbash". Similarly the "ice-cream man" is the "amman".

He is probably at his cutest when putting him to bed. His bedtime routine ends with one of us sitting feeding him the last of his milk as the other leaves the room. As I leave I will say "Night night", to which he replies "nigh nigh". As he is put to bed with a gentle "sweet dreams" and "love you", he looks up with big blinking eyes and replies "swee dree, lo you". Priceless.

Magic Moments

Although a life of sleep-deprivation and hard work can feel like a treadmill at times, there are certain moments that bring a huge smile to your face and remind you just why having a family is the greatest journey.

For a friend of mine at work, one such moment happened recently as he drove with his three young kids in the car, all of them sitting in the back singing Peter Kaye's "Armarillo" and clapping their hands in the chorus along with Dad.

A couple of Saturdays ago, Oliver and I went out in the morning and when we came home we brought some flowers for Mummy. As we got out of the car he kept saying "Mama" and wrestled the flowers from my hand as I carried him up the drive. I thought he was going to drop them of break them, but in fact he knew exactly what he was doing. Holding them out of my reach, he waited for Hayley to open the door before presenting her with the flowers and leaning over to give her a hug. She virtually shrieked with delight and had a smile a mile wide as she hugged and cuddled him in appreciation. Definitely a magic moment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Why do men live at home longer?

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Why do men live at home longer?

BBC NEWS | UK | One-parent families on the rise

BBC NEWS | UK | One-parent families on the rise

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The new trike

New trike

We got Oliver this second trike because the first one had nowhere for him to rest his feet and after a while it just wasn't comfy for him. As a cyclist I can easily imagine this.

Oh and it was on offer!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Eat my shoes!

Do you like my sneakers?

I love these pictures of Oliver, taken on Saturday morning at the park. In this first one we get a close-up of his new summer footwear, a pair of trainers.

He rode all the way to the park on his new trike, which was pushed and steered by Daddy. Once there he had lots of fun on the swings, slide and a kind of rope bridge that is much too big for him and required as much concentration and effort from me as from him to make sure he didn't fall off.

I think recent pictures start to show how he is looking more like Hayley. When he was born everyone said he looked like me, but these days I think that's changing. More and more people are pointing out to us that he looks like his Mummy. When I took him to see Dave and Hayley recently they both independently called him "little Hayley". And almost daily I find myself saying to him "you look more like your Mummy every day".

Mummy is flavour of the month right now. Gone are the days when Mummy was forgotten once I got home and he would turn to her and say "bye bye". Yesterday evening I came home to find him reading with her, cuddling up and bringing books to her even when I offered to read them,. Hayley reckons he was more attentive to her than he had been all day, so maybe he was making a point to me about getting home for the last half hour before bedtime and then expecting him to want my attention.

Having said that he does still like to have me get him up in the mornings and if Hayley goes in he repeats "Dada, Dada..." until I appear. All of which is very unlike the evening when he repeats, "Mama, mama, mama" as his bedtime approaches and he looks forward to his milk which he much prefers with Mummy. So it seems we have been allocated our times of the day!

Tonight when I got home he was in such a great mood. He was sitting in his high chair having his dinner. When he saw me he shouted "Dadaaaaa". So I shouted back "Oliverrrrr". He thought this hilarious and shouted "Dadaaaa" again to solicit another "Oliverrrrr" from me. This persisted for several minutes whilst I simultaneously conducted a conversation with Hayley. I'm sure it must look like a madhouse to some, but you get used to it.

Laughing boy

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Father Jack

Anyone who remembers fondly, as I do, the sit-com "Father Ted" will know that Father Jack Hackett was a man of few words. Mostly "feck!", "girls!" and "drink!", shouted loudly and excitedly at short intervals.

I was reminded of Father Jack when Oliver arrived home last Friday evening with Hayley in the car, accompanied by a new trike (pictured below) and also some fish and chips for dinner! As I carried him from the car he shouted "Bike!", "Chips!", "Fish!", and then "Bike!" again... This continued until I had strapped him into his high chair (much as might have been done to Jack himself).

Better keep that whisky on the high shelf for a good few years longer.

Monday, April 02, 2007

BBC NEWS | Health | Babies rob 'two months of sleep'

BBC NEWS | Health | Babies rob 'two months of sleep'

Man, ain't that the truth! And it doesn't end with their first birthday either.

As I can frequently be found prowling around Oliver's room at night checking the temperature or re-assuring him when he wakes crying, I found this article a bit hard to take. Although I must admit that I think Hayley coped better than I did with Oliver's nocturnal crying when he was very young. It all seems so long ago now. But we're counting down the days to more sleepless nights with Bumper's arrival.