Using A Vaporizer or Humidifier for Babies

VapSunUsing A Vaporizer or Humidifier for Babies

During the winter, babies are especially susceptible to respiratory illness and colds. Since young children under four years of age can’t take cold medicine like adults can, often the best option is to let the infection run its course – which does not make for a very happy baby. Not only that, but many respiratory infections like RSV and pneumonia make it difficult for a baby to breathe. Home remedies such as using a vaporizer or humidifier for baby can be effective in helping him breathe better and heal faster.

Moist air can help babies with colds

One way to naturally help a sore throat, deep cough, or cold is to moisten the air your baby breathes. Moist air loosens up thick mucus in the nose and lungs, lubricates the airways, reduces swelling, and can also relieve dry, cracked skin or itchy eyes. This is especially helpful during the winter months when the air is much drier.

Vaporizer or humidifier?

Both vaporizers and humidifiers are effective at moistening the air, and each have pros and cons. A vaporizer works by heating water and releasing the steam into the air; it’s kind of like breathing the steam from a hot shower. The drawback to using a vaporizer around young children, however, is the heat. A baby could get scalded or burned just by standing in front of the steam or touching the hot water in the vaporizer. Since the water boils inside the vaporizer, there is less chance for bacterial growth. Cool mist humidifiers dispel cool water droplets into the air and have the same effect on congestion as the hot steam does. There is no risk of burns by using a humidifier, but you really must be diligent in keeping them clean. You can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to over $200 on a humidifier, depending on the type.

Keeping humidifiers clean

Because humidifiers are always moist when in use, it’s the perfect environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria to grow inside, getting dispersed into the air through the mist. You don’t want your baby breathing those organisms, especially if he is already ill! Some humidifiers are cleaned with bleach, others with vinegar. You may not need to clean it after every single use, but do change the water daily. Check with the manufacturer for instructions on how to thoroughly clean your humidifier and how often it needs to be done.

Safely using a humidifier or vaporizer

To use a humidifier or vaporizer properly, be sure to follow these safety tips:

  • Stabilize – Place the vaporizer or humidifier in the nursery or bedroom on a flat, stable surface, making sure your baby can’t touch it.
  • Avoid trips – Unplug the cord when not in use so your baby or pet won’t trip or pull the unit down.
  • Clean the humidifier Keep the humidifier thoroughly disinfected so the air quality stays clean.
  • Check for asthma If your child has asthma, check with his doctor before using a humidifier, as added moisture in the air can increase mold growth or other allergens that make asthma symptoms worse.
  • Watch for too much moistureThis is indicated by wet surfaces or condensation on windows.

With proper use, humidifiers and vaporizers are great tools in treating colds, respiratory infections, dry, itchy skin, or coughs from home. For babies, any progress towards clearing those little airways can make a notable difference.

How do you help your baby feel better when he has a cold or cough? Share with us in the comments!


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