As a parent, hearing your child cough or struggle to take a deep breath is heart breaking. To alleviate the discomfort that accompanies most colds and coughs, many doctors recommend using a humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and moisten your child’s nasal passages making it easier to breath. While humidifiers are a useful tool in making your toddler comfortable, there are some safety measures you need to take when placing one in a toddler’s room.
Out of Reach
A humidifier and its cords should remain out of your child’s reach at all times. Consider placing the device on a dresser with the cord secured behind the dresser or on a high shelf. Humidifiers use water to add moisture to the air and can pose a drowning and electrical hazard if the humidifier is tipped over or opened. Remove the humidifier from the room when not in use.
Keep it Clean
You should empty and dry the humidifier daily. Standing water can attract germs, bacteria and mold that can pose a health risk to your toddler. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the use of distilled water in humidifiers to reduce the buildup and deposits that can attract bacteria growth. Clean your humidifier weekly or more often if you notice a film on the inside of the humidifier, according to the manufacturer’s recommend cleaning method. Bleach and other disinfectants will aid in the cleaning of your humidifier but should be rinsed completely out of the humidifier before use. Replace the filter in your humidifier as indicated by the manufacturer.
Cool or Warm Mist
Cool-mist humidifiers have gained popularity among pediatricians and parents because they do not pose a burn risk to children. Warm-mist humidifiers use a steam or vapor that is hot to the touch to release moisture in the air. Warm-mist humidifiers may be more effective, but need to remain out of reach of toddlers at all times to reduce the chance of a burn. Warm-mist humidifiers also act as a heat source, allowing you to reduce the temperature in your toddler’s room to mitigate the effect of dry air on a toddler’s airway.
Keep Humidity Levels in Check
While the moisture in the air will aid in making your toddler comfortable, too much or too little humidity can damage furniture and other items. Consider purchasing a humidifier with a built-in humidistat to keep the humidity level in your toddler’s room at a comfortable and safe level. You can also purchase a hydrometer to measure the humidity level in your toddler’s room. The humidity level in your toddler’s room should be between 30 and 50 percent.