How to Choose the Best Humidifier for your Baby
Why should you buy a humidifier?
If you live or you’ve lived in dry environments, you may be familiar with humidifiers. Dry air can cause damages to mucous membrane and skin, especially during the winter. On the other hand, if you live in too humid places, you might experience too much moisture in your room and hence rely on a device known as a dehumidifier.
Whatever the climate you live in, as soon as your baby catches a cold, you may soon enter the world of humidifiers. Humidifiers help loosen viscously, think or sticky mucous that blocks your baby’s nasal passage. Extra moisture in a baby’s room can make a big difference between being awake all night trying to keep your little one asleep or getting yourself some good sleep time. A Humidifier is also an excellent product to have if your little angel develops croup.
While dry climate can cause issues such as dry skins and respiratory health, it can also cause bigger problems in your house. It can cause shrinkage of furniture and wooden floors, static electricity and cracked paint on wooden furniture’s. On the other hand, too much humid climates will cause unwanted mite infestations and microbe growth.
The big question however is, how can one use a humidifier to create a pleasant and healthy living? Well, the primary purpose of this article is to educate you on how to buy the best humidifier for your baby’s room and how to safely use it.
Safe Humidification Levels
Physicians, builders, and microbiologist have since time in memorial argued regarding the ideal indoor humidity for both good health and prevention of pathogen and microbial growth. But a general rule of thumb is that 25-60% is acceptable. But the outdoor temperatures influence whether this range is the best and safest.
In most parts of the United States, this range varies according to the seasons. Now that it is important to have a good understanding of this if you intend on buying a humidifier for your home or baby’s nursery let’s have a look at something else before going to the basics.
Helpful tips on humidification levels
Here are tips that will help you create both healthy and pleasant home environment.
- Have a chat with your Doctor if Asthma or Allergies- it is important to consult with your baby’s doctor if you intend on buying a humidifier for your baby’s nursery if he/she has a history of allergies or asthma. Even though raising humidity levels can be good, but if not adjusted properly it could threaten your child’s life.
- A Hygrometer is useful- this can be a handy instrument you can use to measure indoor humidity. All seasons, the recommended indoor moisture levels should range between 25-60% depending on the outdoor temperature.
But in this range, most people will not sense the difference. This is where a humidity monitor or hygrometer is helpful. You can get a hygrometer for as low as $10 but its good to note that cheap hygrometers often have an error rate of -/+3-5%, but they serve the general purposes and are suitable for household use.
- Always adjust humidity according to on outdoor temperature- whether you live in a 1 season climate or 2-4 season regions that fluctuate between very warm and very cold, understanding how to maintain the ideal humidity levels in your home is very important.
Below is a very informative 10-minute video by Building Science Laboratories interviewing John Straube, an expert in moisture control. It’s worth your time as it offers information and answers to common questions relating to indoor relative humidity, and its significance within the indoor environment.
Below is a table that shows different dew points for air temperature and relative humidity.
However, if you want to get a better understanding of condensation process or how high indoor relative humidity during winter can cause condensation within walls, here is a short video by Chris Schumacher from Building Science Laboratories.
Different types of humidifiers
Humidifiers come in an array of different types. While there are humidifiers designed for the entire house or a single room, our list of the best baby humidifier solely focuses on single room humidifiers ideal for use in a baby’s room.
A humidifier’s output capacity determines how effectively the product can humidify the room. Room humidification measurements are often given in square feet. Therefore max square footage for humidification is vital when you want to buy a humidifier. But if your baby’s room is not large, or you only need to humidify the crib area, then humidification measurement may be less important. So if a product is listed capable of supplying moisture to a 600 square foot room should easily meet humidification levels of a small room.
Depending on the room size you want to humidify, a humidifier with effective mist dispersion and high output capacity can provide optimum moisture for more than one room or even your entire house.
These are large freestanding devices capable of humidifying very large rooms or portions of the room. Their main problem is that they are not portable.
The purpose of this humidifier is to humidify the entire home. They are often attached to an air heating system and capable of pushing moisture through the vents to attain optimum humidity.
Single room humidifier
Single room humidifiers are small units (grouped into evaporative and ultrasonic) capable of raising room humidity or the humidity of a section of your home. They are helpful in easing respiratory diseases that make it difficult for your baby to get good sleep.
A steam vaporizer humidifies the room via warm mist. They boil water to steam vapor. But because they produce hot steam, we don’t recommend them for use in your child’s room for they can cause burn injuries.
Some vaporizers also use essential oils or medicinal inhalants on a pad or separate reservoir to distribute them into the air.
Just as their name suggests, these are devices you can take on the go. Their size makes them ideal to fit in a suitcase, bag but also the size limits their effectiveness. They are effective especially during a hotel stay but don’t offer the features of efficiency for regular use.
Ultrasonic vs. Evaporative
Ultrasonic humidifiers are the most popular humidification devices in many homes. These gadgets work b vibrating at a frequency above what the human ear can hear and hence their name ultrasonic. Moms love them because of they are super quiet and highly efficient. The only drawback is that they produce white mist (when tap water is used) which can be quite challenging.
Evaporative humidifiers, on the other hand, used to be more popular back in the days but are less prevalent today. Lucky these the evaporative humidifiers don’t have a problem with white dust, but they have some drawbacks. They work by sucking heating water and sucking air via a water-saturated filter. They require a powerful fan and hence can be very noisy. They also require a filter with the large surface area and hence require more space compared ultrasonic humidifiers. Lastly, the filters on evaporative humidifiers require regular replacement. Evaporative humidifiers filters do a fantastic job of collecting minerals from waters so that they don’t get circulated in the air. However, with time, these minerals prevent the filter from efficiently working hence then need for replacement.
Warm Mist vs. Cool Mist
This is another option to consider before buying a humidifier. However none of the product our experts tested that refrigerates water before circulating it in the air. Cool mist just means that the moisture is generated using room temperature water.
They are cost effective since they don’t require energy to heat the water. On the other hand, warm mist humidifiers heat the water which turns into steam, and the steam is released into the room. Even though some people prefer warm mist humidifiers since they find the mist less chilly, many moms prefer cool mist version due to the fewer risks involved.
We at Babyers recommend using cool mist humidifiers over warm mist humidifiers. This is because warm mist units have to heat water to temperatures just below boiling point. You know that babies tend to be curious and will explore every section of their room. For safety purposes, cool mist products are best. However, if you feel that you’ll keep a watchful eye on your little one, a warm mist can serve you better.
Distilled vs. Filtered or Tap water
Why does it matter the kind of water you use? The kind of what used really make a big difference, let me tell you why. Tap water contains minerals like Phosphorus and sodium. Tap water also tends to is also the cause of the white dust, and these mineral deposits tend to be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.
The ultrasonic vibrating plate found in ultrasonic humidifiers breaks minerals present in tap water creating white dust that is dispersed into the air and easy breathable. Even though the mineral particles are very small, studies have proven that it can cause respiratory problems. (Here is the proof). Additionally, no one wants to always regularly clean the white layer of dust in carpeting and furniture.
Tips on how to avoid problems with tap water
- Filter- Evaporative humidifiers cannot be used without the wicking filter that requires a regular replacement. On the other hand ultrasonic doesn’t require a filter for operation but adding a filter can help reduce the white dust if you’re using the tap water. A filter also helps reduce the white dust from accumulating inside the unit which can be difficult to remove.
- Use filtered or distilled water- alternatively, you can use distilled or filtered water through a multi-stage or reverse osmosis filter system.
In fact, the manufacturers are aware of the white dust problem and recommend users to implement the above tips for prevention. Some offer separate purchased accessories while others include a demineralization filter in the package.