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Does your baby’s nursery need a humidifier? The short answer is yes. Dry air can cause discomfort and can worsen existing symptoms from various illnesses. And a humidifier can solve these problems by improving the air quality.
Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends humidifiers for relieving colds?
Nowadays, it’s no surprise to find humidifiers that even look like toys. They look so appealing and fitting for a baby nursery, so taking one home is very tempting. But we believe that, like with any baby item, it is important to do your research before jumping in the trend. Just like you, we want to know what makes a humidifier beneficial for a baby.
Why Should You Get a Humidifier
Comfortable Breathing and Better Sleep
The most popular reason why parents opt to get a humidifier for the nursery is that it helps improve the air quality. Of course, your baby will feel uncomfortable if the humidity in the room is not within the optimal range. At the same time, it can affect your little one’s sleep.
The best humidity for comfortable sleep is between 40 to 60%. Anything lower than this makes the room feel colder than what it really is. And on the contrary, if the humidity level is too high, you’ll feel sticky and hotter.
During winter, the humidity is already low, and you can use a warm mist humidifier to provide the appropriate humidity level. And because it emits warm mist, it also helps in adjusting the temperature. You can also change the humidifier accordingly during summer, so your baby doesn’t feel as hot.
Because the air quality is good, your baby can sleep better. Dry air itself can also exacerbate different symptoms like itchiness and congestion, which can rob your baby a good night’s sleep.
Ease Respiratory Problems
As we have mentioned previously, dry air can worsen respiratory conditions like congestion. And if your baby has an existing illness like asthma or cough, you can imagine how uncomfortable they will feel.
With moisture in the air, their passages wouldn’t dry as fast and produce mucus that causes congestion. This way, they can breathe much easier because their nasal passages can drain the mucus more effectively.
Another positive health effect of using humidifiers is that it lowers the risk of infections. Dry air also causes the mucus to dry out in the nasal passages. And while too much mucus causes congestion, lack of it also means that we don’t have a defense against germs in the air.
Babies are already much more sensitive in contracting infections and germs. They are more vulnerable to these microorganisms, so it’s important to keep their nasal passages moist as a defense.
Soothes Dry Skin
Eczema is a skin condition common among babies because of their extra-soft skin. This results in itchy red patches that are uncomfortable and can bleed due to scratching.
If the air lacks moisture, you can assume that the skin will also get extra dry. If your baby is suffering from eczema, they can benefit from moist air because it can keep your child’s skin from drying out.
What Type of Humidifier is Best for My Baby?
Now that you know the reasons why a humidifier can be beneficial for a baby, the next thing that you should know is the types of humidifiers. This source has explained them in great detail, but to give you an idea, check this out:
Warm Mist Humidifiers vs. Cool Mist Humidifiers
From the name itself, these humidifiers differ from each other in the mist they produce. A warm mist humidifier produces a warm mist or steam, which is why they are also called vaporizers. A cool-mist humidifier, on the other hand, does not use a heating element. Therefore, they don’t produce steam.
A warm mist humidifier might benefit you during cold climates. They can make the room feel warmer so you can improve the temperature along with the air quality.
However, a cool-mist humidifier would be much safer in the nursery because there is no steam nozzle that might cause burns. At the same time, the reservoir wouldn’t be hot that can be dangerous. But regardless of the humidifier, make sure that you’re keeping it out of reach.
Ultrasonic Humidifiers vs. Evaporative Humidifiers
There are also two types of cool mist humidifiers. You can choose from the traditional evaporative unit or the more modern ultrasonic variety. The latter, as you can assume, use high-frequency sound vibrations, while evaporative humidifiers use fans to create evaporation.
An ultrasonic humidifier is quieter to use and will also consume less electricity. They also don’t need regular changing of filters.
However, evaporative humidifiers are more affordable and are not prone to giving off white dust. Ultrasonic humidifiers can cause white dust, which is from the minerals in the water. They can linger on surfaces and can cause allergies in some people.
Risks of Using a Humidifier
Contaminants in the Reservoir
It is crucial that you maintain the cleanliness of your humidifier. For example, the water you’re using may not be distilled and has a high level of minerals. If you’re using an ultrasonic humidifier, these minerals can cause deposits in the reservoir itself or turn into white dust. Deposits can destroy the tank, and the white dust is small particles that can cause allergies, especially for those with existing respiratory conditions.
It is important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on when to change the water in the reservoir. At the same time, clean the humidifier at least every three days to make sure that it is emitting clean mist in the air. Reservoirs are prone to mold growth, and that is why it’s important to reach all the crevices inside the humidifier where they can grow.
As we have discussed earlier on, warm mist humidifiers emit warm mist. Because they have a heating element, their steam can cause burn risks. Since you are putting a humidifier in the baby room, make sure that it is out of reach, including its wires.
Overall, most of these risks are preventable. You can also purchase models with a humidistat and hygrometer. A humidistat will automatically regulate the humidity levels in the room for you, while a hygrometer measures the room’s humidity so you can monitor it better.
Consult your pediatrician if you have other concerns about placing a humidifier in the nursery — they are there to help!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.