Why your baby needs a humidifier
When you’re setting up a room for a new baby, you may put a lot of attention into a bassinet or crib, changing table, lighting, toys, blankets, and so many other details. What a lot of parents don’t think of is adding a humidifier to their baby’s room. So, why does a baby need one of these units?
The main reason is that for the first four months, a baby doesn’t breathe through their mouth unless they are crying. These young ones need their nasal passages to stay clear and free of congestion. If the air in their room is dry, it can lead to stuffy noses and dry sinuses. This will affect their breathing, waking them up, and when you’re baby wakes up, so do you.
Even as they get older, this type of nasal congestion is common in dry areas or during the winter months. Sore throats are also added in since they start to breathe through their mouths when they sleep, so this makes babies even more uncomfortable.
If you add a humidifier to your baby’s room, the moisture in the air will prevent these issues, plus add some benefits, like loosening any mucus buildup. It also keeps their lips and skin from drying out, so they feel itchy and uncomfortable. This not only keeps them breathing well, but it also helps to improve your baby’s mood, so they will be more enjoyable to be around.
As well as the physical symptoms it gets rid of, some humidifiers offer some white noise, which many babies find comforting. It reminds them of the constant whooshing noises they heard while still in the womb, plus it covers the other household noises the baby may not be used to yet.
Features to consider while choosing a baby humidifier
When looking for a new humidifier for your baby, there are a few features to check out. This will ensure that you’re getting the perfect model for your little bundle of joy.
There are two types of humidifiers to choose from for your baby’s room. These are the cool mist or the warm mist models. Both types of humidifiers add moisture to the air, but they do so in different ways. Cool mist humidifiers, like the FridaBaby 3-in-1 Humidifier, use special technology to emit the moisture into the air without heating it. Warm mist humidifiers heat the water first, turning it into steam, which is then sent into the room.
Both models are quite effective when it comes to adding moisture to the air in your baby’s room, but some parents have their preferences. Cool mist humidifiers tend to lower the temperature in the room a bit as they’re running, so some parents think their baby will be cold. Warm mist humidifiers have the opposite effect, warming up the room as they do their work. They are also considered to emit healthier, bacteria-free mist as the water is boiled inside before being vaporized.
The downside to warm mist models is that it could be a bit dangerous to have around small children. This is due to the heated steam being emitted as well as the possibility of hot water being spilled and burning your little one. The warm mist models also tend to be a bit more expensive since they require a heating element, plus they bubble and hiss, which can add to their noise level.
The coverage area tells you the largest size the room can be for the humidifier to work at its optimal level. This is usually displayed in square footage, though some models just give a more general room size, like the Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier that states it works in medium-sized rooms. You should make sure that the size of the room is equal to or smaller than the room size recommended by the brand you’re buying. This will ensure that the humidifier can keep up with its task. If the room is too big, the humidifier may not be able to add the proper amount of moisture to the air, which defeats the purpose of running it in the first place. If you want to see some other options for your baby’s room, we recommend PureGuardian humidifiers, which also show excellent performance.
Water tank capacity
The size of the water tank is pretty important. The bigger the tank is, the more water it can hold, and the less often you have to fill it. When using it only once in a while, this may not seem like a huge issue. If your home is particularly dry or if your little one is sick and congested, you’ll likely be running your humidifier all day and night to help them breathe and sleep better, so a larger tank may be best. Models like the LEVOIT LV455CH have large tanks, which means less filling. This also increases their runtime, which we’ll discuss below.
The larger the tank is on your baby’s humidifier, the more water there is to disperse into the air. This also increases the runtime since there is more water for the humidifier to get through before it drains the tank. Though the Cadrim Cool Mist Humidifier is adorable, its tank is only 0.06 gallons, giving it a maximum runtime of eight hours on the lowest setting. The LEVOIT LV455CH has a 1.1-gallon tank, so it can run for up to 36 hours on the low setting. This means it can run for much longer than the smaller model will before you need to refill it. During those cold and flu seasons, this may be much more convenient.
When your baby is trying to sleep, you don`t want some noisy machine disturbing them. Since people of all ages use these units day and night, the humidifier manufacturers have incorporated technology that runs quietly, so their models don`t keep people awake all night. This is essential for new parents, who likely aren`t getting enough sleep as it is.
Most of the humidifiers that we`ve reviewed here run almost silently, even on the higher mist settings, so you won`t need to worry about them keeping your baby awake. The soft humming they do make may even be of some comfort to your baby, giving them white noise to remind them of their time in the womb while blocking out the other sounds of your house.
Dimensions and weight
Your baby needs a lot more stuff when they are small, leaving limited space in their room. For this reason, you likely don`t want a bulky humidifier taking up that precious space. A smaller model is better to give your baby the moisturized air they need without sacrificing the space you have. Of course, if your baby`s room is quite large, this may not be as much of an issue, so a bigger model may not pose a problem.
You may also want to look at the weight, though you will likely only carry the entire unit once to unpack it and place it where you need it. If you are moving it in and out of their room to keep up with dry seasons or colds, though, a lighter model is better to keep your arms and back pain-free.
The warranty covers you in the case of manufacturing issues or defects with the humidifier you`ve bought, so you don`t have to spend extra money to repair a faulty machine. Most models come with at least a one-year warranty, which gives you plenty of time to check out the machine and make sure it`s working properly. Some also offer two- or three-year warranties, while brands like Fridababy offer lifetime warranties for their products.
The purpose of a humidifier is to add some moisture to dry air but some models add in a few extras, making them well worth the price. One of these features is the auto shut-off, which turns the humidifier off if the tank runs low. It also may shut it down if the tank is lifted for added safety.
Simple controls are also a must, so you don`t have to spend too much time fussing with them to get the settings you want. A timer is handy if you only want the humidifier to run for a specific amount of time.
Since we`re talking about humidifiers for a baby`s room, a nightlight is also handy. Not only do these keep your baby happy, they also make it easier for you to move about their room if needed without turning on a light or bumping into stuff in the dark.
Oil diffusers can add some beneficial scents to your little one`s room. Some models, like the Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier, also let you add some sort of medicated pads or liquid to help ease congestion when you`re baby is sick.
Tips to clean your humidifier
Cleaning your humidifier is a necessary task. To do so properly, follow these suggestions:
- If it uses a filter, rinse this with cold water, then set on a clean towel to dry.
- Dump out the old water in the tank.
- Add vinegar to the tank, swish it around to ensure all areas are covered, let sit for 1 hour, then rinse thoroughly.
- For built-up grime on the tank, use a scrub brush to scrub it away.
- Wipe down the base with vinegar and water to prevent dust and bacteria growth.
- Change the water in the tank daily to prevent mineral deposits.