While purchasing items needed for baby care, you might need to put a baby humidifier on your list. It will be handy while transiting into the dry harmattan season for tropic areas, and the bitter winter cold for temperate areas.
A characteristic feature of both seasons is the dry air that comes with them. This causes nose bleeding, chapped lips and painful breathing due to dry nostrils and watery eyes. As an adult, if you get this uncomfortable, imagine how your baby would feel.
On the really serious side, apart from the listed symptoms for dry air that affect both adults and babies, dry air can also cause rashes to get worse. Your baby tends to have severe sleeping discomfort, cough, allergies, and increased susceptibility to sickness.
In this article, we would give a thorough break down on baby humidifiers and all you need to know.
So, what is a baby humidifier?
A baby humidifier is a device designed for a baby nursery that increases the humidity level of the baby’s room. Apart from increasing the humidity level, it also helps to keep the air in the room clean and pure.
The basic mode of operation is that the humidifier takes water stored in a container, and changes it to water vapor which is released into the room’s air to raise the humidity level.
There are three basic classes of humidifiers namely;
They are the oldest types of humidifiers and have kind of become outdated. They operate by using an electric motor with an attachment that physically distributes water and produces fine droplets, which is always cool to the skin.
The capacity of this type of humidifier to do an all-round job of keeping a room humid is fair. This is why it’s not advisable for your baby nursery. The drawback of this type of humidifier is the obvious lack of features which is present in the other classes of humidifiers.
Warm Mist Humidifiers
They can also be called vaporizers. These types of humidifiers come with a heating element which boils water and produces steam and they humidify the nursery by making the nursery feel warmer.
The warm air aids breathing for your baby, allowing the nasal passages to expand and relax, which reduces the build-up of mucus and makes breathing easier.
The downside to this type of baby humidifier is its potential to cause severe burns as a result of the hot water and steam it emits. If the unit is moved or tipped carelessly, your little one can get seriously injured.
They could get their hands and faces scalded if they put it directly over the steam nozzle. If you decide to use a warm-mist humidifier, always ensure that you set up the unit away from your baby’s reach.
Cold mist Humidifiers
The air released from this type of humidifier is cool or at room temperature because of the absence of any type of heating equipment. The awesome feature/benefit this humidifier offers is that your baby doesn’t get scalded when they reach out for it.
The downside to this type of humidifier is that if you do not get it regularly cleaned and maintained, it becomes a breeding ground for mold and microorganism that can be adverse to your baby’s health.
This is because the stagnant water of more than 24hours gets slimy and conducive for pathogens to breed comfortably. In order to avoid this spread of infection, clean and air-dry the unit regularly and replace the filters and cartridges.
If you decide to opt for the cold mist humidifiers, you would be faced with two options namely:
The Ultrasonic humidifiers have high-frequency sound vibrators which disintegrate water particles into a cool hydrating mist. They take up little space, use less electricity compared to traditional models, but they can be really expensive and can get easily broken.
These types of baby humidifier do not have filters which makes them sometimes produce fine white dust. This fine-white dust is the by-product of minerals found in the water and will not hurt your little one in any way, but can be a nuisance when it is time to clean up.
– The evaporative humidifiers, on the other hand, produce moist cool air a fan-aided evaporation technique. This traditional model operates by taking in air through a water-saturated filter. It raises the humidity level in the air while holding back impurities and minerals the water might contain.
This simple process eliminates the white dust the evaporative humidifiers are known for, and they take up space and use up more energy compared to the ultrasonic model. Also, because of the high powered inbuilt fans, they tend to be really noisy can disturb your baby.
The current debate among pediatricians has always been to choose one over the other, but what would you settle for as regards your baby’s health?
As a mother, it all depends on choice.
But a useful aspect of the warm mist humidifier is the ability for the warm air to kill germs and viruses. Also, the tendency for the warm air to reduce the growth of mucus and releases the nasal airways of your baby.
However, the warm mist humidifier can be really costly due to the extra cost of the electricity bill. Overlooking this cost, you have fewer maintenance demands for the warm-mist humidifier compared to the cold mist humidifier.
On the other hand, the cold-mist humidifier will require regular filter replacements especially the evaporative type. The ultrasonic models would need store-bought distilled water to prevent the residual mineral deposits from leaving a film of white mess all over the room.
Although some ultrasonic models come with demineralization cartridges which prevent the build-up of residual mineral deposits, these cartridges, however, must be replaced regularly.
The cost of replacement for parts and water purchase could cost as much as or more than you spent when buying the baby humidifier. It is not a bother though when making a final selection on which humidifier is suitable.
The first thing you need to consider as a mother is choice. Understand what works best for you, consider your budget, your maintenance culture or if you can cope with cleaning up the white dust that comes with the ultrasonic humidifier.
No matter your choice, the end point is that a humidifier is really necessary for your baby’s health.
Types Of Humidifiers
Your choice of humidifiers is based on what suits you. They include:
– In-duct Humidifiers
These types of baby humidifier are a bit complex to install because they do not work as a single unit. As the name implies, they are installed within the air ducts of the house and keeps the air moist for everyone in the house.
It has greater efficiency and does not require a lot of maintenance. It is the most expensive humidifier option.
– Console Humidifiers
These types of baby humidifier emit moisture into the whole house. They are large in size and consume as much as five to nine gallons of water.
Some come with wheels attached to the bottom to enable them to move easily from room to room. Due to their large capacity, they are significantly expensive.
– Tabletop Humidifier
This is the most popular, simplest and portable choice for nurseries. They are only able to emit moisture in the room they are set up. In terms of cost, they are relatively cheap.
As a new mom or a mother who has never had firsthand experience or knowledge about using a humidifier, these are design features you should consider before making your purchase
Design Features To Consider Before Buying A Baby Humidifier
– The Automatic Shut-off
This feature enables the baby humidifier to shut down when there is no water in the machine. It is one feature that enables you to save energy, prevents break down.
– Anti-microbial technology
Few humidifiers come with silver ion or UV light that kill germs and prevent mold and mildew from growing inside the unit. These types of baby humidifier with anti-microbial technology do not require cleaning as often as units that do not have this feature.
– Replaceable filters
Most baby humidifier comes with filters or wicks, which may be permanently fixed or regularly changed. Those that are replaceable cost more to operate and maintain.
This is an inbuilt humidity meter which enables the user to measure the level of moisture in the room. An ideal humid level for a nursery is about 30% to 50%.
Care Tips For Baby Humidifier
– Clean and sanitize your baby humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold and mildew inside the humidifier.
To clean your humidifier, follow the guidelines and instructions on the user manual.
To sanitize your baby humidifier, add white vinegar to the tank with a little water and allow to sit for 20 minutes, then rinse the tank with clean water.
– If you purchase the warm mist humidifier, keep it beyond the reach of your little one so as to avoid burn accidents.
– Tap water has mineral fragments which if used with the humidifier can be released into the air. To prevent this from happening, use distilled water instead, even though it might mean extra cost. For better performance and safety, distilled water is recommended.
– When a humidifier is not in use, keep it dry. It eliminates the possibility of mold, germs, and accumulation of lint within the machine.
– Never use salt in your humidifier because it could destroy the metal components, thereby reducing the lifespan of your humidifier, clog the filter and hinder its operation.
– If your humidifier isn’t producing mist, ensure that it is a production feature. If it is not, send to a technician for repairs.
– Ensure that the water in the humidifier is topped regularly to ensure smooth running.
– As indicated earlier, the ideal humid level is 30-50%, levels higher than 50% will make the tank a viable place for the growth of bacteria.
– If you cannot afford the consistent use of distilled water and you opt for tap water, ensure that you weekly descale your humidifier. Descaling enables you to get rid of crust, and using undiluted vinegar helps in removing these scales easily.
– If you realize your humidifier has left over from the previous day, ensure that you change, rinse and refill.
For a deep clean of the humidifier, follow these simple steps:
– Unplug your humidifier from the socket, and disassemble completely.
– After doing so, set these parts apart for easy recognition when it is time to assemble.
– If your humidifier has an air filter, clean with cool running water and leave to dry in open air.
– Apply vinegar into the areas the water regularly comes in contact with. Leave to soak for 20 minutes, using a soft brush, and brush away the residue.
– For hard to reach areas, use smaller soft brushes to clean away residue.
– If you choose to disinfect your humidifier, add one tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water already filled in the tank.
– Shake properly, so that the solution gets to all areas of the tank. Empty the tank of this solution and rinse properly with clean water until the smell of the bleach dissipates entirely.
– When you are done, lay out all the cleaned parts to dry in open air.
– Once these parts have dried properly, reassemble and ensure that you replace the air filter if it comes with one.
– Fill the tank with desired water choice and resume use.
To ensure that your humidifier works perfectly for a long time, keep it clean and follow proper maintenance routines.
A well-maintained baby humidifier will ensure that your little one gets protected from health discomforts. These discomforts may require the use of over-the-counter medications which might bring extra complications.
Whether cold or warm, having a baby humidifier in your nursery is necessary.