How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 952

Is it harmful for children to sit too close to microwave ovens? Is it possible to get "burned" opening the microwave oven during a cycle or too soon after a cycle? I realize the oven shuts off, but is there residual radiation? — C
As long as the microwave oven hasn't been damaged and doesn't leak excessive microwaves, there should be no harm in having children sit near it. I wouldn't hold my face right up against the door edges because that would be asking for trouble with leakage, but it's extremely unlikely that even doing that once in a while would cause injury.

As for being injured by microwave radiation after the cycle has stopped, that's essentially impossible. As soon as the high voltage disappears from the magnetron tube and it stops emitting microwaves, the microwaves in the cooking chamber begin to diminish. Even if they bounce 1000 times off the metal walls of the chamber before they're absorbed by those walls or the food in the microwave, that will only take about 2 millionths of a second. You can't open the door fast enough to let them out before they're already gone.


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