Babies are a joy; they bring light, life and laughter to a home. However babies are fragile; unlike adults, they do not have developed immune systems yet.

Babies are prone to a lot of health conditions, which is why they need to be protected from many environmental stresses.

During winter, you need to increase the level of protection you give your baby, because they have delicate skin and an even more sensitive respiratory system.

Winter brings cold air which prompts homeowners to crank up their heating systems, resulting in dry air.

Bacteria and viruses thrive in cold, dry air, which is why a lot of babies (and adults too) get colds, flu and other respiratory diseases during winter. Dry air also leads to skin irritations, especially in babies who have allergies.

The problem with babies is that they cannot take over-the-counter medicines; the least we can do is try to help alleviate the symptoms of their conditions. For this reason, an effective humidifier is a great help.

Humidifiers for Babies: The Benefits

If your baby is suffering from congestion and other respiratory conditions, her pediatrician is sure to recommend using a humidifier for her, especially if you live in a place with low humidity.

Humidifiers work by converting water into vapor which then moisturizes the air and raises the humidity level indoors. Humidity helps your baby get relief from cold symptoms by loosening the mucus that clogs up your baby’s nasal passages, throat and chest.

While your baby’s body is fighting off the viral infection that has taken hold of her body, you help her feel better and more comfortable.

Dry air also draws moisture away from your baby’s skin, making her skin irritated and itchy. With an effective humidifier, you can relieve the pain and itchiness your baby feels from her dry and sometimes flaky skin.

Using a humidifier also helps your baby sleep more comfortably. The more she sleeps, the stronger her body gets, and the faster her body recovers from infections. Aside from humidifying the air, humidifiers also work as a source of white noise, which young babies need in order to get them to sleep.

Humidifiers for Babies: Two Main Types

There are two main types of humidifiers: cool mist humidifiers and the warm mist type. Pediatricians are of differing opinions with regard to which type is the best to be used for babies.

As such, you must look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types in order to come to a conclusion about which one you think is right for your baby’s condition and need.

  • Warm Mist Humidifiers

Warm mist humidifiers work by using heat to turn water into vapor that will then be dispersed into the air.

Some doctors recommend warm mist humidifiers over cold mist humidifiers because the heat used to create the warm mist kills microbes that can cause further infections in babies. The warm mist also helps the nose, the throat and the chest relax, so babies can breathe and sleep better.

This kind of humidifier, however, is more expensive and pose risks of burning. A toddler can touch the unit while in operation and get burned in the process. Also, the water can spill and cause burns in babies.

  • Cool Mist Humidifiers

This type of humidifier does not heat the water; instead, it uses evaporative or ultrasonic technologies to disperse a continuous stream of cool mist.

The evaporative type uses a wick filter for the water while a fan blows air that will dispense mist into the air. An ultrasonic humidifier uses a metal diaphragm that vibrates at ultrasonic speeds to turn water into a fine mist.

Cool mist humidifiers are cheaper than the warm mist type because they do not need a heating element. This kind is also more quiet, as warm mist units tend to have bubbling and gurgling sounds.

Because they do not have the heating element, these humidifiers do not pose the same scalding and burning risks to babies, making them an ideal choice for baby rooms.

However, some cool mist humidifiers do not have filters that can trap microbes and mineral particles, which can spread with the mist and cover the area surrounding the unit with white dust. This white dust is also said to enter the lungs and cause more problems for babies.