What benefits can a humidifier bring to your baby?
Improved air quality
Different humidifiers remove bacteria, allergens, and other impurities from the atmosphere using various methods. The LEVOIT Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier heats water to high temperature to kill bacteria, the Crane USA Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier for Kids uses Clean Control technology.
Alleviation of respiratory issues
Dry air can cause coughs, sinusitis and nasal congestion. Increasing moisture levels loosens mucus, unclogs the stuffy nose and lubricates the throat to improve breathing. FDA recommends humidifiers as a safer alternative to over-the-counter cough medicine in babies below two years of age.
Dry air causes chapping and cracking of the skin due to dehydration. Humidifiers hydrate the skin so it can retain its moisture and remain soft and clear.
Promotion of better sleep
Humidifiers generate white noise which can lull your baby to sleep. Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier and Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Visible Cool Mist Humidifier work with essential oils and VapoPads respectively for their calming therapeutic properties. Apparently, a baby with no congestion issues will also sleep better.
Features to consider while choosing a baby humidifier
The following features should serve as your checklist when selecting the best baby humidifier. Otherwise, the different types and variants of humidifiers available will make your selection process challenging.
There are two major mist types baby humidifiers can produce: warm and cool.
Warm mist humidifiers (such as LEVOIT Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier, which actually allows you the option of both mist types) heat the water then release it into the room as steam. The risk of scalding is what makes them unsuitable for babies. However, they are the best at killing bacteria due to the high temperature. They also work well with essential oils by warming them first to add a calming aroma into the air your baby breathes in.
Cool mist humidifiers use evaporation to transform water into vapor. They are popular as baby humidifiers although they are noisy because of the fans integrated inside. They fight bacteria using filters and cartridges rather than heat as seen in warm mist humidifiers.
Water tank capacity
Baby humidifiers feature water tanks which vary in the volume of water they can hold. This capacity is usually denoted on the package or in the product description.
A large capacity is convenient because it reduces the frequency of refilling the tank and can run for an extended period. Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier has a water tank with a capacity of 2.8 liters which can run for up to 20 hours on low setting . Look for a model whose tank capacity can sustain the unit for at least 12 hours to last throughout the night so you do not have to wake up from your sleep to refill it.
Water tanks are generally made of transparent material so you can keep an eye on the water level and refill the unit when needed.
This refers to the designated length of time that the humidifier can run on a full tank without running out of water. A water tank with a high capacity and a low mist output translates to a longer period of operation. For instance, LEVOIT Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic humidifier has a water tank capacity of six liters with a runtime of a whopping 36 hours.
Long runtime reduces the number of times you will need to refill the water tank. Knowing the runtime will also guide you when programming your preferred humidity levels in models with an integrated humidistat, or when selecting the rate of mist output in humidifiers with variable speed. Operating the unit on a high setting increases the volume of mist output and reduces the overall runtime.
One of the hallmarks that determine the best-rated humidifier for a baby is quiet operation. Many humidifiers are made noisy by the presence of fans. However, most baby humidifiers utilize ultrasonic technology instead of fans and are therefore much quieter when running. The white noise emitted will actually soothe the baby to sleep.
You can reduce the level of noise generated by operating the unit at the lowest speed setting. Some models also feature a sleep mode for quiet and peaceful nights.
Automatic shut-off mechanism has become a standard safety feature in almost all baby humidifiers. When the water level in the tank runs low, the unit automatically shuts off to save energy and protect the humidifier from damage caused by overheating. The shut-off feature may also be used with programmable humidity levels to automatically switch off the unit once the set level of moisture has been achieved. A good example of such model is the LEVOIT Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier.
Essential oils diffuser
Some models, such as Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier and LEVOIT Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier, are a combination of a humidifier and a diffuser which works with essential oil to emit a calming fresh fragrance with the vapor. Aromatherapy essential oils provide a soothing and relaxing atmosphere for the baby that helps them fall asleep quicker.
Always confirm whether the humidifier is designed to work with essential oils because adding oils can cause growth of mold and bacteria in some models, and void the warranty.
The best humidifier for a nursery should be compact in size and light in weight for easy portability and placement on a nightstand in the nursery. Dimensions also affect the shape of the humidifier and determine the ease of cleaning and refilling.
Generally, sizeable humidifiers have a large capacity which can humidify bigger rooms. Manufacturers indicate the coverage area in square feet so you can identify the right size of the unit that can keep your baby’s room at the ideal humidity levels of between 40% and 60%. A unit that is too small will not cover the nursery adequately while a model designated for a larger room will emit too much vapor and lead to mold.
Humidistat: An integrated humidistat detects the existing moisture level in the baby’s room and automatically adjusts it to the programmed optimal level which is between 40% and 60%.
Timer: This is a convenient feature which allows you to schedule the time the humidifier should automatically switch on and start running.
Filters required: Not all baby humidifiers come with filters. For instance, Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Visible Cool Mist Humidifier and Crane USA Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier for Kids do not include them. Filters remove odor and airborne particles to release clean mist. Depending on the model, the filter may require cleaning or replacement to avoid accumulation of bacteria and mold. This makes filter-free humidifiers better at maintenance and reduction of replacement costs.
Adjustable settings: Pre-set settings take out the guesswork of choosing the right humidification intensity and also provide a variety of options such as a digital display for information and feedback, speed control, water level indicator light, and night light for soft, ambient sleep, that give us more control and improve our experience.
Warranty: Since a humidifier is used often, it is important to buy a model that is covered for any defects that you may encounter.
Accessories: This will depend on the manufacturer and the brand. Aennon Cool Mist Humidifier comes with three scented sachets while LEVOIT Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier comes with two extra aroma pads and two absorption pads. It also includes a remote control for additional convenience.