Mobile phone safety - Recommendations 


Although current evidence suggests mobile phones are safe to use, there are some recommendations to help lower any potential long-term risks. Using a phone while driving is currently the greatest risk to your health.

You can lower exposure to radio waves in the following ways.

  • Only make short calls on your mobile phone, and do not use it more than necessary.
  • Children should only use mobile phones for essential purposes and keep all calls short.
  • Find out the specific absorption rate (SAR) of a mobile phone before you buy it. This is how much radio wave energy is absorbed into the body from the mobile phone. SAR can vary between different types of phones. Mobile phone retailers have a responsibility to make this information available to you before you buy.
  • Keep your mobile phone away from your body when it is in standby mode.
  • Only use your phone when the reception is strong: this is often indicated by bars of energy on your phone screen. Weak reception causes the phone to use more energy to communicate with the base station.
  • Use a mobile phone that has an external antenna. This keeps the radio waves as far away from your head as possible.


The Department for Transport recommends the following guidelines for safe use of mobile phones in cars.

  • Keep your mobile phone switched off when you are driving. You can use voicemail, a message service or call diversion to pick up your messages at the end of your journey.
  • If you need to use your mobile phone, stop in a safe place. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway unless it is an emergency.
  • Avoid using a hands-free device. These can be just as distracting as using the phone itself.

Page last reviewed: 14/05/2012

Next review due: 14/05/2014


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