Humidifiers are a must have accessory for babies, especially during the cold winter months when the dry air from heaters can cause the humidity to drop to as low as 10%.
Babies have sensitive skin which can get dry and chapped easily as well as respiratory systems extremely susceptible to irritation and infection. The dry air can play havoc with the baby’s tender skin and cause irritation in the lungs and nose. Adults suffer from pretty much similar problems but have the luxury of being able to suppress these reactions through the use of medicines. Since babies cannot do that it is advisable to do your bit to keep the air moist in the baby’s vicinity.
Here are the types of humidifiers available in the market
1. Warm Mist – These have a heating element to heat up the water inside the humidifier, thereby releasing a warm mist. If your water is hard you might prefer one with a mineral absorption pad. The overall costs of running a warm mist tends to be higher since a heating element is involved.
2. Cool Mist – There are two types of cool mist humidifiers
a. Evaporative – These use a fan to blow dry air through an evaporative wick filter – the water in the filter evaporates and is distributed into the air. The elecricity consumption is very low although frequent replacement of the wick filter is necessary. The fans can be noisy as well.
b. Ultrasonic- Instead of using fans, the mist is created by a small metal diaphragm which vibrates at ultrasonic frequencies, creating a fine mist. These can leave a coating of fine dust of minerals on nearby furniture if not used with a demineralization cartridge.
|Humidifiers||Warm Mist||Evaporative Cool Mist||Ultrasonic Cool Mist|
|Cost||Most costly||Less costly||Less costly|
|Running Cost||Highest||Less expense on electricity but need to buy filters||Least running cost|
|Noise||Reasonably noisy||Most noisy||Least Noisy|
|Effect on Temperature||Makes the room warmer||Makes the room cooler plus fan creates more cooling||Cools room but not as much as evaporative|
|Size of room suitability||Better for smaller rooms||Better for larger rooms as output produced is more||Better for smaller rooms|
|accessories||Mineral absorption pad might be useful||Filter needs to be replaced frequently||None|
|Cleaning||Needs to be cleaned more regularly than cool mist||Can be cleaned less regularly than warm mist||Can be cleaned less regularly than warm mist|
1. Cool mist over warm mist – Though using warm mist over cool mist might seem a natural choice when it gets cold, most paediatricians recommend cool mist. This is because
– Warm mist can cause overheating of the room on some occasions. This is because on some days when it gets really cold you might increase your thermostat which raises the overall temperature. But you might forget to reduce the humdifier which can cause excess heat to build up in the nursery.
– My experiences has been that warm mist condenses when it comes into contact with cold surface of windows causing moulds to develop on these surfaces.
– Risk of scalding if the baby accidentally touches it during its perambulations. You might forget to switch off and the results could be dangerous.
– Warm mist humidifiers provide a warm and moist surface ideal for germs to breed. So you will need to clean everyday if you are using one of these.
– Warm mist humidifiers are more expensive to run and can end up costing a lot in electric bills.
– Some kids might like the sound and some don’t. Ultrasonic humidifiers make almost no sound.
2. Ultrasonic or Evaporative – I recommend ultrasonic as they are more suitable for small rooms. If you need one for your living room as well then evaporative is recommended.
3. Adjustable Humidistat – Look for humdifiers with adjustable humidistate that can maintain the humdity at a certain percentage(say 50%)
4. Consider a whole house humidifier if possible. They don’t require any maintenance and keep the house well humidified at all times.
5. Use distilled water for the first few months if you can afford it.
6. Some humidifiers feature UV Germ Free technology that claims to kill 99.99% of bacteria using ultraviolet light. I suggest using one of those.
My Top Choice for the baby Nursery
There are others like Avalon and Crane (which is what I used but recent reviews not very encouraging) which are almost as good but I recommend Remedies as it is the best seller, well reviewed and also recommended by many friends. This is equipped with 7 color LED lights and can be set to stay at one color or keep changing. This light is super useful in the nursery as it keeps the room from becoming too dark.
- This cool mist humidifier comes with a high-quality stone filter that will keep the humidifier clean and give you a soft and healthy mist
- Works for 10 hrs at max setting and several hours more a lower setting
- Needs to be cleaned weekly
- Cleaning is a hassle
- Needs to be elevated a little to work best
My Top Choice for the Living Room
My top choice is the Honeywell 350 for its germs protection features. But I use this only for the living room where the babies spend most of their time during the day( either in swings or bassinets etc.)
- Easy to Fill.
- Works for larger rooms.
- Much larger capacity – so need to fill regularly. Runs for almost 16-18 hrs at high without refilling.
- Pushes out cooler air – so works well since I can control the thermostat during the day to make sure it does not get too cold. For this reason – I would not use this during the night.
- Dishwasher safe – a big plus. Easier clean generally.
- Claims to kill 99% of bacteria, mold, fungus and viruses
- Very large and bulky – so I would rather let it stay in one place
- No digital humidistat
- Filter may need replacement a little more regularly than you would like