Is it safe to use a laptop on your lap?

A laptop is best known for its flexibility, mobility and portability. Its portability coupled with its appellation leads to most laptop owners using it on their lap. And over time, there have been debates regarding the health risks attached to its usage in this body region.

Just in case you’re wrapped up in this dilemma, I’ll clear your doubt this instant. Yes, it is not entirely safe to use a laptop on your lap. We’ll be highlighting a couple of reasons that explain the dangers attached.

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But before we proceed, you need to note something interesting. Laptop usage on the lap doesn’t cause infertility in the real sense. Shocked, right? I’m not surprised about that (you being shocked). Infertility is the major reason most people avoid using laptops on their lap. But research has shown that reproductive cells don’t get stressed by laptop overheating.

While it is entirely true for the female egg cells, there’s a controversial tiny risk for sperm cells. Doctors rebuffed the risk by citing that the laptop’s radiation is similar to the same levels found while walking outdoors and flying in planes.

Back to the likely risks of using a laptop on your lap, here are a couple of health hazards:

  • Back and neck pain

People that use laptops mostly on their lap can easily relate to this. After a long period of using laptops on the lap, pains in the neck and back start encroaching in. And the sad part is, it extends beyond when the laptop is used. In essence, even when the laptop isn’t in use, the users can feel the neck and back pains. The solution is to use the laptop on a table while you’re sitting in an upright position.

  • Alteration of sleeping patterns

Sometimes, at night, you might want to do some quick activities on the laptop before you sleep. With the laptop on your lap, the cold artificial lights it emits are balanced at the eyes’ level. These lights can suppress melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep patterns. As a result, you could get faced with insomnia. In that light, a novel in the laptop’s stead would serve as a better sleep enhancer.

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  • Erythema Ab Igne

This is also known as laptop-induced dermatosis. It is characterised by a discoloured patchy skin or rash. The main cause is overheating caused by devices like laptops.


An Indian Cosmetic-dermatologist, Dr Anuya Manerkar puts it well as: “A coarsely reticulated pigmentation which is produced by prolonged exposure to excessive heat without the production a burn.”

There’s no harmful effect of this disease other than the rash. However, a chance of permanent skin discolouration cannot be exempted in the long run.

  • Birth Defects

When pregnant, it’s not safe to use a laptop on your lap because it could affect the growing baby. Overheating doesn’t pose any danger to the mother, but it’s a potential threat to the growing cycle of the unborn baby. Hence, cases of children with development problems at birth.

Having known all these, it is safer to get a work table where the laptop can be used. This creates enough distance between the laptop’s heat and yourself. And if you’re stern on using the laptop on your lap, a laptop pad is a better option.

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