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Using Humidifiers For Babies – Benefits and Safety Tips

When it comes to equipping your baby’s nursery, you want everything best to make your baby feel comfortable. Be it a crib, bassinet, rocker, lights or other such types of equipment, you may want it all, but one basic requirement that may sometimes get overlooked is a humidifier. This article covers salient points about using humidifiers for babies, including – why you should consider buying a humidifier for your baby, what its benefits are, what safety measures you should follow, and various related topics. Read further to know more!

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Video : Humidifiers for Babies – Benefits and Safety Tips

What Are Humidifiers?

A humidifier is a machine which is specially designed to add moisture to the air in your room. The main aim of a humidifier is to combat dry weather conditions by introducing moisture into the surroundings. There are various kinds of humidifiers available in the market that helps in achieving the same purpose, and you can pick and choose the best humidifier for your baby as per your requirement.

Humidifier Benefits for Infants

If your home is too dry, it is a good idea to place a humidifier for your baby. Here are some benefits of a humidifier for your baby’s room:

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1. Helps in Reducing the Chances of Recurrent Infections

Excess amounts of dryness may lead to drying your baby’s mucous membrane. Humidifiers are beneficial in restoring the moisture balance of the mucous membrane. Whenever any kind of bacteria or virus attacks your baby’s respiratory tract, the moist mucous membrane in your baby’s throat prevents it from entering your baby’s body and also helps it in expelling from the body. This keeps your baby safe from recurrent bouts of infections and diseases.

2. Helps Keep the Skin Moist

Dry weather conditions and even extreme cold weather can lead to dry and parched skin. This condition can be very uncomfortable for your little munchkin. However, using a humidifier may come in handy by getting the required moisture in the air and keeping skin dryness at bay.

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3. Helps in Preventing the Sinuses From Drying Out

Extreme dry weather conditions or excessive cold can cause inflammation and pain in your baby’s sinuses. This can be extremely difficult for your baby and make him irritable and cranky. Using a humidifier can help in keeping your baby’s sinuses healthy and moist and thus help in preventing the condition.

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4. Helps in Reducing Allergens

Using humidifiers is also beneficial in keeping various kinds of allergens at bay. The allergens that can result from moulds, bacteria, animal dandruff, pollens, and dust can make your home unhealthy for your little one. However, humidifiers can help in reducing the growth of these allergens by making the atmosphere difficult for them to thrive.

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5. Helps in Reducing Asthma and Cold Symptoms

Asthma is a condition that is characterised by inflamed airways, which makes breathing difficult. If your baby suffers from this condition, then dry weather conditions or extreme cold can take toll on your baby’s condition. Humidifiers keep the respiratory tract moist, in turn keeping your baby’s cough and breathing difficulties at bay.

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6. Helps in Reducing Snoring

Sometimes, your little bundle of joy may snore while sleeping,  there is nothing to worry about because this may occur due to disrupted breathing. Disrupted breathing usually occurs because of congestion or cold. However, using humidifiers for babies with colds or using humidifiers for congestion in babies can yield beneficial results.

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How Do Humidifiers Work?

Before you pick up a humidifier or if you wish to know how to use humidifiers for babies, it is important to understand what all options are available for you before you get one. Well, humidifiers can be broadly classified into two main categories, warm humidifiers and cold humidifiers. Let’s know about them in detail in the following sections:

1. Warm Humidifiers

These kinds of humidifiers come with an in-built heating element. This element helps in emitting warm mist into the air. Most of the time, you may be prescribed by your baby’s doctor to place a warm humidifier in your baby’s room. The warm mist is not only good for killing germs and viruses, but it also aids comfortable breathing for your baby by reducing mucus build-up. These kinds of humidifiers are great for opening up a baby’s respiratory passage.

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2. Cool Humidifiers

As the name suggests, these kinds of humidifiers emit cold mist into the air for added moisture. These kinds of humidifiers do not come with heating elements. Your doctor may suggest cool mist humidifiers for babies if your baby has begun crawling or walking. This is because cool humidifiers do not get heated up and are safer for babies in case they touch them. That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends the use of a cool mist humidifier.

You can pick up any humidifier because, ultimately, both are designed to add moisture to the air, with the only difference of cool and warm mist.

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What Types of Humidifiers Are Good for Babies?

There are three main kinds of humidifiers that you can pick up for your baby’s room:

1. In-Duct Humidifier

You can install these humidifiers, and they will humidify the air of your whole house. These humidifiers are installed directly into the air ducts of your home. This may burn a big hole in your pocket, but it is very low on maintenance and keeps the air moist in all parts of the house.

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2. Console Humidifier

These are large humidifiers that are not installed right into the air ducts, but these consoles are massive, and they have the capability of humidifying the entire house. There are various models in this variety, and each may be able to carry different loads of water. Usually, these consoles may store up to 5 to 9 gallons of water in one go.

3. Tabletop Humidifier

This is the most compact kind of humidifier and is a widely used option of air humidifiers for babies or for a baby’s nursery. These small units are easy to place and carry, which means they can be moved to any room and can be placed anywhere. However, the only drawback is that these kinds of humidifiers only humidify the room they are placed in.

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Precautions to Take While Using a Humidifier in Your Child’s Room

If you are wondering, are humidifiers safe for babies? Well, they are very safe. However, you also need to exercise caution. Here are some precautions that you must exercise before placing humidifiers for a newborn baby or using it in your child’s room:

  • Warm humidifiers emit warm mist, which can be a potential risk to a small baby if it comes in direct contact with the humidifier or touches the hot surface. Therefore, extra care must be taken while placing a humidifier to avoid any mishaps, more importantly, away from places where children can reach.
  • Make sure cleaning and care instructions are diligently followed as per the manufacturer’s directions because mould, germs, or bacteria build-up takes only 48 hours to surface. Humidifiers must be cleaned frequently to prevent any kind of infestation.
  • It is also important to let the units dry completely. This is a great way of reducing the chances of germs, mould or bacteria build-up, and it is also good for the durability of the unit.
  • The kind of water used in the humidifier also requires your attention. Sometimes tap water may contain certain kinds of mineral fragments, which your baby may inhale too. It is always a sensible idea to use distilled water in the humidifier. This is not only safe for your baby, but it is also good for maintaining the unit.
  • If the humidifier contains a tank to store water, do not let the water in the tank stay there for an extended period of time. Change the water frequently, and keep the tank clean.

If you are thinking of installing a humidifier in your baby’s room, make sure you take note of all the precautions mentioned above.

If you live in a city with extreme climates, such as extreme dryness or cold weather, installing a humidifier can be of great help. A humidifier may help in reducing the chances of colds in your baby, and your baby may also get some peaceful sleep. If you are unsure about which one to pick up, you can discuss it with your paediatrician.

References/Resources:

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1. Caring for Your Child’s Cold or Flu; HealthyChildren.org.; https://healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/flu/Pages/caring-for-Your-childs-cold-or-flu.aspx, January 2023

2. Use and Care of Home Humidifiers | US EPA; United States Environmental Protection Agency; https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/use-and-care-home-humidifiers

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3. Humidifiers and health: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002104.htm

4. Vaporizer or Humidifier: Which Is Best?; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/vaporizer-or-humidifier-which-best#:~:text=While%20both%20are%20effective%20in,device%20filled%20with%20hot%20water., January 2022

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5. Noti, J. D., Blachere, F. M., McMillen, C. M., Lindsley, W. G., Kashon, M. L., Slaughter, D. R., et al.; High Humidity Leads to Loss of Infectious Influenza Virus from Simulated Coughs; PLOS ONE, 8(2), e57485; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057485, February 2013

6. Tobie Stanger; Best Humidifiers for Babies From Consumer Reports’ Tests; Consumer Reports, https://www.consumerreports.org/babies-kids/humidifiers-for-your-baby/best-humidifiers-for-babies-a1125200078/

Also Read:

Baby Fever: Causes and Treatments
Effective Home Remedies for Cold & Cough in Babies
Bacterial Infection in Babies: Reasons and Treatments

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This post was last modified on October 9, 2023 9:01 pm

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