Does your baby often cry for no apparent reason? If you can't quite figure out why your little one seems upset (and you know they're well-fed, clothed, and otherwise comfortable), you should consider equipping your baby's nursery with a humidifier to create a more healthful and safe environment. Keeping the humidity level in your nursery from 30-60%, as recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, has many health benefits, and modern humidifiers make it incredibly easy to create a perfect environment for your baby. This article at NPR discusses the significance of maintaining the right humidity levels at home.
Do you need a humidifier?
You can easily measure the current humidity level in your baby’s nursery using a hygrometer, an instrument that can tell you the amount of humidity and water vapor in the air. Despite the fancy name, hygrometers are very simple instruments. But even without a hygrometer, there are many other signs that you need a humidifier:
- Frequent colds: Especially during winter months, frequent colds are a common sign of dry air. While dry air does not directly cause colds, it dries up the mucus in your baby’s nasal passages, leaving your child more susceptible to colds.
- Nosebleeds: Dry nasal passages can also lead to nosebleeds, another telltale sign of dry air. When parents see their baby bleeding from the nose, they often panic and rush to the doctor only to learn that they need a humidifier.
- Skin problems: Skin—including the delicate skin of your baby—loves moisture. Dry air can cause your baby to develop rashes, and it causes small scratches to heal more slowly.
- Longer recovery times: It has been scientifically proven that when the air is too dry, it takes longer to recover from sickness. Small babies lack the fully developed immune systems of adults, so they need all the help they can get to recover from sickness.
- Static electricity: Dry air won’t cause your baby to shoot lightning bolts from their little fingers, but it will cause electrical charges to build up, which is bad for electronics, furniture, wooden musical instruments, artwork, and floors.
How to choose a humidifier
There are two main types of humidifiers: warm mist and cold mist.
Warm mist humidifiers are simple and easy to maintain. They use a heating element to boil water and produce steam, just like a tea kettle. For obvious reasons, you might not want to have boiling water in your baby’s nursery, which is why most parents stay away from warm mist humidifiers.
Instead, they go with cold mist humidifiers, which increase the humidity in the room either using ultrasonic sound vibrations to break down water particles or through a process of fan-aided evaporation. The only downside to both ultrasonic and evaporative humidifiers is that they are more difficult to maintain than warm mist humidifiers.
What about air purifiers?
Air purifiers are useful as well, but they work completely differently than humidifiers. Air purifiers are basically sophisticated traps that help reduce the number of irritants in the air. They can capture dust, pollen, pet and human hair, bacteria, some viruses, and even unpleasant odors.
Every nursery needs a humidifier to keep humidity at an acceptable level. The benefits of maintaining an optimal humidity level are numerous, so add a humidifier to boost your nursery’s moisture level and keep your baby happy and rested, especially during the winter season.