Throughout the year (but during the cooler months, especially), the dry air in our homes can make things tough for little bodies. Colds and congestion amplify and as any parent knows, listening to a tiny person struggle to breathe is too painful to bear. And living through a pandemic where every sniffle puts you into a tailspin, it's good to know a bit about all the tools you have at your disposal: like a baby humidifier for your nursery.
Do babies need humidifiers?
From mitigating eczema and battling respiratory illness to simply helping baby sleep better , a humidifier is registry must-have. Moist air can help improve upper respiratory discomforts as well as soothe sore throats while they get some much-needed rest. Not to mention, the added moisture also benefits their sensitive skin and provides a dreamy ambiance for sleep.
What to look for in a humidifier
While there are a variety of types on the market, humidifiers generally fall into two categories: warm mist and cool mist. Warm mist is often pointed to as quieter and cleaner than cool mist, but from a safety perspective, cool mist is preferred when it's going to be used around curious toddlers who could be burned by steam or hot water.
Humidifiers can also be defined by the way the humidity is created. There are ultrasonic models which use high-frequency sound vibrations to transform water particles into a cool, hydrating mist and evaporative models which leverage fans to do the job. Again, both styles have their place, but know that ultrasonic humidifiers are generally filter-less, quiet and efficient but do come with a higher price tag. Also, without a filter, families with hard water often bemoan fine white dust on furniture and surfaces which is caused by the minerals being dispersed along with the mist. It's harmless but annoying. Evaporative machines pull water through a water-saturated filter that removes those impurities as it runs. Their drawback, however, is the energy they require to work along with being markedly noisier.
But no matter what kind of humidifier for baby you decide on, the care of the unit is most important. Keeping your humidifier clean is paramount as they can quickly become the stuff of nightmares. (If you've ever cut open a squirty bath toy, you know the moldy horror show that can live inside.) Most models require emptying daily along with regular cleanings and disinfection.
We've rounded up the best baby humidifiers on the market today which are easy to clean and best suited for use in nurseries. (But if you want to use them in every room, no one's going to stop you!)