Cold can be nasty, especially if it is blocking your baby’s nasal passage. If the cold sucks away the moisture from the nasal passage, then the baby feels irritated, and the cold can change to a dry cough.
There is a way to get around the problem though – humidifiers. These are often recommended for use when an infant suffers from a severe cold and congestion. But different humidifiers work in different ways.
Best Humidifiers For Baby
You may select from these humidifiers when buying one for your little one’s room:
1. Best Overall: Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier
This Vicks mist humidifier is simple and has a detachable water reservoir. It comes with a mist-control knob that helps you adjust the humidity level. The humidifier comes with a water tank that has a capacity of 0.5GAL (1.9l), and the full tank lasts for 20 hours of mist at “low” setting. Watch this video to get a detailed review of this humidifier.
- Auto-shutdown feature automatically switches off the device when the water tank is empty
- Does not require filter replacement
- Offers a noiseless function with a cool mist
- Plugs into a standard wall socket
- Small size makes it ideal for small baby rooms
- May not be mildew-proof
- Cleaning is tedious
2. Best Easy-To-Control: Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier For Bedroom
The Everlasting Comfort Mist Humidifier can help improve the air quality in your bedroom. Its large four-liter water tank can run for 40 hours on a single fill, making it suitable for day and night. The humidifier features a whisper-quiet operation and an automatic shut-off function that shuts off the unit when the water runs out. The humidifier also comes with a remote control, making it easy to control the unit anywhere in your bedroom.
- Has a night light feature for added convenience
- Can be used in large rooms or for multiple rooms
- Can be set to run at specific humidity levels
- Has an essential oil tray
- May leak at times
- May not be easy to clean
3. Best Compact: Honeywell HUL520W MistMate Cool Mist Humidifier
The cool mist humidifier by Honeywell is small and compact with a 0.5GAL (1.9l) water reservoir capacity. It runs for up to 20 hours. This humidifier offers a hassle-free operation without a filter, and the detachable water tank makes cleaning easy. Check out this product review video to learn more.
- Quiet operation with cool mist from the output nozzle
- LED lit control knob makes it easy to spot even in the dark
- Automatic shutdown when the water tank gets empty
- Has an easy-grip handle
- May offer relief from cold and flu
- May not be mold- and mildew-proof
- May be a bit noisy on high settings
4. Best With Demineralization Filter: Crane Adorable Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
The ultrasonic mist humidifier by Crane features a lightweight 1GAL (3.78l) water tank that is easy to remove and fill. It can humidify an area of about 500 square feet on a full tank. It comes with an optional demineralization filter to remove mineral salts from hard water before converting it into cool mist.
- Attractive design
- Removable water level sensor and cap for cleaning
- Has an easy-to-carry handle
- Auto shut-off feature
- Vent may leak at the bottom
- Motor may be a tad noisy
5. Best For Nurseries: Philips Series 2000 Evaporative Humidifier For Nurseries
Philips Series 2000 humidifier has a fan that dissipates mist in a complete 360° direction, thus making it one of the best humidifiers for nurseries and large baby rooms. The proprietary evaporation technology reduces the spread of bacteria from the water by 99%. It features a humidistat that automatically senses humidity and modulates the humidifier settings.
- Has a 0.5GAL (1.9l) water tank with a water level indicator
- Automatically shuts down on reaching preset humidity levels and when the water tank is empty
- Offers a quiet sleep operation with minimum noise level
- May notice color change in filter after a few uses
- Might catch mold
6. Best Long-Lasting: Pure Guardian Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier Tower
This mist humidifier by Pure Guardian has a space-saving tower design that makes it easy to place in any room. It has a large 1.5GAL (5.67l) water tank that provides up to 100 hours of runtime. The humidifier automatically shuts down and has a timer that can be adjusted for up to 12 hours of continuous usage.
- Releases mist at three adjustable speeds
- Multi-directional nozzle ensures the water vapor reaches every part of a room
- Has an indicator light for power and water tank refill
- Includes an aromatherapy tray
- May leak at the bottom after extended use
- Refilling the tank can be tedious
7. Best With Night Light: Levoit Humidifier
Ideal for large spaces such as a nursery or living room, the Levoit humidifier is powered by ultrasonic micro-mist technology. It can alleviate congestion, snoring, sinus headaches, and dry skin. The humidifier emits super-fine mist that stays in the air without making the floor and furniture wet or soggy. It is designed to humidify up to 290 square-foot space and allows you to adjust the mist level with a simple control dial.
- Adjustable 360-degree rotation nozzle
- Comes with night light
- Extra-large water tank
- Shuts off automatically before running dry
- Might make a slight buzzing sound
- May not be easy to clean
8. Best Unique: Crane Adorable Train-shaped Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Bring home this innovative train-shaped humidifier by Crane that gives a cool ultrasonic mist for up to 24 hours on a full tank. It comes with a removable 1GAL (3.78l) water tank that makes it easy to clean and maintain. The humidifier is made of antibacterial plastic that prevents bacteria from accumulating in the water tank.
- Optional water filter cleans the water before converting it into vapor
- Unique design attracts the baby’s attention
- 360-degree mist lid
- Has an auto shut-off feature
- Filling the tank can be a task
- May be slightly noisy
9. Best 3-In-1: Frida Baby Humidifier
The 3-in-1 humidifier by Frida Baby can be used as a humidifier, diffuser, and nightlight all together or individually as per your needs. To use it as an aromatherapy device, add a few drops of your favorite aromatherapy-grade essential oil. Further, the nightlight changes colors and allows you to create a dreamy ambiance. Featuring a large water tank, the humidifier runs for up to 12 hours.
- Covers up to 320 square feet
- Comes with a mist adjuster
- Designed to shut off automatically
- May make a buzzing sound
- Touch sensor for the nightlight may not be as sensitive
10. Best Portable: Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier
Vicks Starry Night humidifier is small in size, making it portable and ideal for a medium-sized room. It comes with a water reservoir capacity of 1GAL (3.78l) and provides up to 24 hours of mist on a full tank. It features a “starry night” projector that projects attractive images on the roof, doubling as a night lamp for the baby’s room
- Quiet fan operation does not disturb the infant’s sleep
- May offer temporary relief from cough and congestion
- Replaceable filter that removes microbial impurities
- May offer cough and congestion relief
- May experience leakage
- Light may be quite bright
11. Best With 360-Degree Nozzle: Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
This mist humidifier by Pure Enrichment has a water reservoir that can hold 0.4GAL (1.5l) of water. It offers 16 hours of mist on maximum settings and comes with automatic shutdown when the water level is low or when the water tank is removed. The humidifier has a mist nozzle that can be rotated to 360 degrees to adjust the direction of the vapor.
- Has variable mist speed settings to control the flow of water vapor
- Contains an automatic shutdown and built-in night lamp
- ETL certified safe
- Includes a five-year warranty
- May not be easy to clean
- Material seems thin
12. Best Large-Sized: Pure Guardian Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
The mist humidifier by Pure Guardian has a portable and compact design and includes a 0.5GAL (1.9l) water reservoir. Its storage tank is made of antibacterial material that stops bacteria from accumulating. The humidifier provides up to 30 hours of runtime and features a water refill indicator.
- Multiple mist control settings help modulate water vapor release
- Has automatic shutdown and built-in night lamp
- Space-saving design makes it ideal for small rooms
- Quiet operation
- Base may accumulate water
- May attract mold
How To Choose The Right Humidifier For Babies?
Consider the following crucial factors when choosing the best humidifier for your baby.
- Features: Look for practical features, such as automated controls, low-noise function, built-in humidity sensor, large-capacity water reservoir, lightweight and space-saving design, and more for optimal effectiveness.
- Duration: Consider humidifiers for babies that are designed for long-lasting use. Some can function for up to 20 hours at a stretch without disruption.
- Material: Ensure the humidifier is made of premium-quality materials for durability and is mildew-resistant for proper functioning.
- Adjustability: Choose a humidifier that works at various adjustable speeds as per the room’s requirement.
What Is A Humidifier?
A humidifier is an electronic device that emits water vapor to increase the humidity levels in the air. The device comes with a reservoir to hold water, which gets converted to vapor through an evaporation fan. Humidifiers are available in several forms.
Types Of Humidifiers
There are five types of humidifiers (1):
- Central humidifiers are built into a building’s central heating system and use ventilation ducts to pump water vapor. They are expensive and non-portable since they are integrated into a building’s structure.
- Evaporators use a “wick” system where a porous pad soaks water, which is evaporated by a high-speed fan to humidify the air.
- Vaporizers, also called warm-mist or steam humidifiers, boil water and convert it into steam, which is released into the air.
- Impeller humidifiers have a rotating disk that throws water outward with high speeds. The high speeds convert liquid into mist. It works like a spray from a spray bottle.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers work similar to impeller humidifier, but instead of a rotating disk, they have a stationary, ceramic disk with water on top of it. The ceramic disk vibrates at high speeds matching ultrasonic frequency, which changes water to gas, and releases from the humidifier as mist.
Except for central humidifiers, all others are portable and can be purchased exclusively for your baby’s room.
Evaporators, impeller humidifiers, and ultrasonic humidifiers expel mist at normal room temperature and thus are called cool-mist humidifiers. Central humidifiers and vaporizers release steam to humidify the air and are warm-mist humidifiers.
Humidifier vs Dehumidifier vs Air filter
People often confuse between dehumidifiers, air filters and humidifiers. However, they have different functions (2) as explained below:
- Dehumidifiers do not rid a room of excess air moisture. They condense gaseous water into liquid to reduce the humidity in a room. It is used in conditions of excess humidity.
- Air filters cleanse the air by removing particulate matter such as smoke and pollen by using physical and ionic filters. They do not humidify or dehumidify the air.
Both dehumidifiers and air filters are portable like humidifiers but serve an entirely different purpose. So make sure you are buying the correct thing.
How Does A Humidifier Help A Baby?
Besides keeping the air moist, they benefit babies in many other ways.
- Moisturises nasal passages: Dried nasal mucus makes it difficult for an infant to breathe. A humidifier restores the ideal humidity levels, making it easy for a baby to breathe.
- Helps alleviate symptoms of cold: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of a humidifier for infants suffering from cold, cough, and congestion (3). It helps in easier respiration and prevents dry throat thanks to the additional moisture in the air.
- Moistens skin: If the baby is prone to dry skin during winters, then a humidifier can help replenish the lost skin moisture.
- Eases symptoms of severe conditions: Experts suggest the use of humidifiers to alleviate hay fever, nose bleeding, sinus congestion, and even respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections (4) (5). Symptoms of these conditions resemble common cold, thus making humidifiers useful during these situations.
When buying a humidifier, you may find numerous models with varying features. Make an informed choice.
How To Select A Humidifier?
The below points would help you cross check all the important features.
- Select cool-mist humidifiers, such as impeller, ultrasonic, and evaporators as they release mist at room temperature. Warm mist-humidifiers are associated with burns in babies so steer clear of them (1). The American Academy of Pediatrics is against the use of steam humidifiers for infants (3).
- Choose timer and auto-shutdown features. A humidifier with a timer and an auto-shutdown feature helps you set time intervals, preventing you from checking on your baby through the night. Auto-shutdown is also good when water reservoir goes empty. Also, running the humidifier too long may cause excess humidity that could be uncomfortable for the baby.
- Check for humidistat feature. Humidistat is a device that measures and monitors humidity levels in a room. It displays the relative humidity as a percentage on a digital display. A humidistat can be programmed to shut down or go into a low power mode after the room has attained the required humidity. Surplus moisture can condense on the windows and other objects in the room, making the baby’s room damp.
- Dismountable water reservoirs are helpful. The water reservoir holder should be washed regularly to prevent mold and bacteria. A detachable water tank can be easily cleaned and dried before refilling.
Tips And Precautions For Humidifier Use
Follow some best practices and precautions even when you are using the best humidifier for the baby.
1. Avoid additives in water:
Many humidifier manufacturers give an air freshener additive that releases scented mist. While adults may like it, you must avoid using it for infants as it could irritate their delicate respiratory lining. Experts also recommend against the use of bacterial disinfectants to the water reservoir as it may contain harmful chemicals that could adversely affect the infant’s lungs (6). Use only water for the mist and stay away from any form of air freshener.
2. Clean the humidifier often:
Even the best humidifiers cannot guarantee the complete absence of bacteria and fungus in the water reservoir. This means you must clean all the components of the humidifier once every two days (7). Start by discarding the reservoir water. Remove the detachable parts of the humidifier, such as the water reservoir and water pad, then soak them in 10% bleach solution. You can use 10% vinegar solution that is nine parts water and one part household vinegar. Soak for 15 minutes and then rinse them well with clean water to remove the bleach or vinegar completely. Dry the parts completely before fitting them together.
Evaporative humidifiers use a wicking pad that could accumulate mold. Use a bottle brush or a scrubber to clean the pad gently. If the pad seems overly dirty or pale, then get a new one. Most manufacturers sell replacement parts that are easily available.
3. Use distilled water:
Several humidifiers feature microbial and mineral filters that clear the water of its impurities. If a humidifier does not have any of these features, then use distilled water, which is free of biological and chemical matter. It serves a dual purpose of preventing contamination by bacteria and inhibits the deposition of mineral scales in the water tank. Scales of mineral deposits can make the reservoir messy and tough to clean. Even if you own a humidifier with built-in filters, you can use distilled water as it will help increase the longevity of the humidifier’s components.
4. Maintain humidity levels between 30% and 50%:
The optimum humidity of a room lies between 30 and 50% (8). Humidity above 50% causes dampness, which is an ideal breeding condition for bacteria and fungus. When humidity drops below 30%, it causes irritation and discomfort in respiration. Several humidifiers allow selection of humidity percentage and some may feature a humidistat that modulates the mist flow automatically. Experts recommend purchasing a hygrometer – a device that measures the relative humidity in the vicinity (9). It gives you the exact water vapor reading and regulates the mist flow accordingly.
5. Place the humidifier beyond baby’s reach:
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests placing a humidifier close to a baby, but beyond physical reach (3). The best way to do this is to position the device on top of cupboard or table close to baby’s crib, but where the baby cannot touch it. While cool-mist humidifiers pose no burn hazard, they still have moving parts and electrical components that could harm a baby.
Why Trust MomJunction?
To help babies recover from cold without facing any trouble, we have selected some of the best humidifiers for them. We have made this list after in-depth online research and analysis. Every recommended product has been described in detail along with its unique features. Moreover, we have provided you with complete information on the different types of humidifiers, their benefits, safety tips, and things you should consider when buying one for your baby.
Babies are prone to catching a cold and flu. Thus, investing in the best humidifiers for babies can help unblock their nasal passage and help them breathe properly. When choosing one for your child’s room, opt for a cool-mist humidifier over a warm-mist humidifier as the latter is associated with burns. Some humidifiers also come with auto shut-off and timer features, which can be beneficial. And it helps when you buy a humidifier equipped with the humidistat feature, as it allows you to determine the humidity levels in the room and automatically shuts off when the room acquires the optimal humidity level.
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