Are you asking for “When to use a humidifier for baby? A humidifier is described as a device that dispenses vapor into the air to increase the overall humidity. Many first time parents can relate to seeing this device advertised and recommended to them for their baby. Before making a purchase it is important to weigh the positives and negatives of it. Huffington Post says that a humidifier can help reduce snoring, dryness of skin, breathing problems, and chapped lips. But on the other hand, the Mayo Clinic says that if a humidifier is used without being properly cleaned, it could be the host of mold and cause health issues. Following is a balanced view of a humidifier and its importance in your baby’s life. You can check also – Best humidifier for baby congestion
Times to Use a Humidifier for Baby
Clearing a Stuffy Nose
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics if your baby has the flu and their nose is stuffed, using a humidifier is the best option. This is because the Federal Drug Administration advises against using Over The Counter flu medication for infants. So a humidifier will help clear out the nose by sending moisturized air into the baby’s body.
White-noise for Better Sleep
If your baby has a lot of trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you can fix that problem with a humidifier. Many experts agree that the whooshing sounds that come out of a humidifier act as white-noise and block out other voices to give your baby a peaceful environment to sleep in. The sounds of the humidifier are said to relax the baby because they mimic the sounds from the womb and hence the baby can stay asleep for long.
When you notice that your baby’s skin is flaky, dry and peeling off, it’s time to turn on the humidifier. In the womb, the baby is constantly dipped in moisture so his skin is sensitive and soft. Once outside, the dry air can dry out his skin, especially if it is the winter and your heater is evaporating all the moisture from the room. Turning on a humidifier will add water droplets into the air, making your baby’s skin regain its moisture.
Protection From Infection
A humidifier can help protect your little one from infection by making sure the nasal cavity and mucus are not dried out. In winter the heat from the heater can cause the mucus to get dry, this is bad because the mucus is what stops germs from getting inside the body. The humidifier will make sure the mucus is moisturized and doing its job of preventing infection.
What Does a Humidifier Do for Babies
Maintain Suitable Relative Humidity
The relative humidity is the percentage of water present in the air at the moment versus the maximum vapor the air can hold given the temperature and other conditions. Low humidity causes a lot of problems in a baby’s fragile body. Some of these are dry skin, sinus issues, stuffy nose, allergy-like symptoms, nosebleeds, long recovery time from illness, problems sleeping and many others. The ideal level of humidity for a baby is 40-60%, so if the humidity in your house is low, you can simply use a humidifier to have one simple solution to many troublesome issues.
You might have noticed that your baby’s skin tends to get flaky and dry. This is common in newborns as their body is adjusting the environment outside the womb. In winter times, this condition might seem worse, this is because winter air has very little amount of moisture. This low moisture can encourage the simple dryness and redness to develop into a full-blown rash. The rash can also occur if the dry skin comes in contact with tough fabrics. Setting up a humidifier in the baby’s room can fill the air with vapor which will help the baby’s dry skin get moisturized and not end up becoming a rash.
Improve Respiratory System
A humidifier can moisturize the nasal cavity and the windpipe ensuring that the baby does not develop any respiratory infections. The main cause of respiratory issues is the inhaling of dry air which can cause irritation in the throat and also reduce the protective effect of mucus. The moisture from the humidifier lingers in the air and the baby inhales it. This humidification can help in the prevention of cough and other respiratory issues.
When to use a cool-mist humidifier for a baby
A cool-mist humidifier does not use any heating element, it simply uses a small wick and a fan to create the vapors. The wick is dipped into the container holding water and draws up the water droplets to a fan. The fast air from the fan scatters the water droplets in the environment. You should use a cool-mist humidifier if your baby has any of the symptoms of low humidity like dry skin, cough, stuffy nose, etc. A cool-mist humidifier is preferred for use around babies because there is no risk of the child getting burnt by heat. Another reason to use cool-mist humidifiers is that most of the models are self-regulating, which means they turn off if the humidification reaches extremely high levels. This is a very important feature because there are a lot of negative effects of high humidity like mold buildup, which can lead to allergies or infection.
When to use a warm mist humidifier for baby
A warm-mist humidifier uses an electric heating element that heats up the water to produce warm vapor. They are normally used when a baby has a stuffy nose or cough because the warm vapor is very good at unblocking all the air passages and allowing the baby to breathe properly again. Some doctors also suggest warm-mist humidifiers because their warmth can kill a lot of germs and viruses and end up protecting the baby from a lot of unforeseen issues. Although there are situations in which a warm-mist humidifier is useful, it is generally advised to not use one for an infant. The reason is that the baby might get burnt from the warm vapor. So if you are planning to install a humidifier permanently in the nursery, go with a cool-mist one. But you can use a warm-mist humidifier if the baby is very sick, but even then don’t leave the baby unattended with the humidifier.
When not to use a humidifier for baby
Before purchasing a humidifier make sure you actually have use for it. Never use a humidifier if you already live in a very humid environment. Some countries have humid climates and using a humidifier can over humidify the room, taking the relative humidity outside the safe range for babies. Another time you should not use a humidifier for your baby is when it is not properly clean. The wet surface can harbor bacteria as quickly as 48 hours, so if you leave the humidifier after each use, then there might be bacteria and mold growing inside it. This bacteria and mold will be mixed into the vapors and inhaled by your baby and can cause a lot of complications like respiratory infections. You should also avoid using the humidifier if you do not have distilled water. In many places, tap water contains many fluorides and other harmful chemicals that can hurt your child.
When shopping for a newborn you might be tempted to buy anything and everything you see in the baby section of the supermarket. You will question if you should buy a humidifier or not. Here we have provided you with an in-depth analysis of the benefits, disadvantages, types, and precautions related to the use of a humidifier. Before you make a purchase, we urge you to go through this information and analyze if you actually need a humidifier or not. If you decide to purchase one, we personally recommend any cold-mist humidifier as they are safer. And remember to take good care of the cleanliness of the humidifier as a dirty humidifier can do more harm than good.
Dr. Bingham is an expert professional in kid’s nutrition, kid’s behavioral studies, psychology, health, and choices. With over a decade writing journals, articles, papers and conference proceedings, he has unique expertise.