Baby humidifiers are certainly a piece of nursery equipment to consider. There are several reasons why.
Firstly, since viruses can grow more easily in cold and dry air, a humidifier in the nursery may reduce the risk of your baby getting ill in the first place. Use of a humidifier could speed up the rate at which any viruses die, and create a virus-unfriendly environment.
Secondly, they provide relief if your little one does catch a cold or have a upper or lower respiratory tract infection. This applies in both winter and summer, when the temperature increases. In winter as well, central heating can dry the air in the home to about 10 percent. About 30 to 50 percent is ideal. A humidifier also helps babies expectorate, and loosen and get rid of both nasal and oral secretions. Use a humidifier, together with a suction bulb and saline drops or spray, to relieve stuffiness in your baby and keep tiny passages open for easy breathing. This means that you can avoid medicinal cold remedies and preventative flu vaccines, which are not recommended for children under the age of two and six months respectively.
Thirdly, and especially for homes in drier areas, or for babies with skin dry or prone to ailments which afflict delicate bodies, a humidifier can reduce dry and itchy skin and eyes.
None of these benefits can be realised without attention to safety and hygiene however.
The primary question is cool mist versus warm mist, or vapouriser, model. For safety, it is recommended that a cool-mist humidifier be used for babies, to avoid any chance of scalding. Both are equally effective in humidifying the air and easing coughing and congestion. By the time the water vapour reaches your baby’s lower airways, the air is body temperature anyway. A cool-mist humidifier is also less expensive, as you are not paying for the heating element. You may not need to run it as long and so save in energy costs as well.
Further safety concerns are easily attended to by placing the humidifier on a flat surface, away from the reach of children and pets, where it can’t be knocked over or fall down. Make sure you unplug it when moving it around or when not in use. Watch for water spills from the humidifier for slipping hazards, or for contact with other electrical devices. Also, never close the door to baby’s room while the humidifier is switched on, or you might just create an equatorial rainforest!
When using a humidifier, the most important hygiene matter is to keep it clean, eliminating the possibility of bacteria and mould. This is simply achieved by a daily wipe-down with a ten percent bleach solution, using nine parts water to one part bleach.
Change the water daily, using distilled water, avoiding the build-up of limescale, and the hardness of tap water in some areas.
Such a simple approach to safety and hygiene unblocks all the benefits of a baby humidifier.