Humidifiers are not required for a baby but they do help keep them comfortable. Either a hot or cold humidifier can be used to help add moisture to the air for a baby. The moisture helps to keep the nasal and sinus passages moist and free of irritation. A humidifier should be placed in the room where the baby sleeps the majority of the time.
Infants have very small nasal passages. The nasal passages can become congested easily. Nasal congestion is common in small babies. Older infants and small children do not seem to have the congestion problem because their nasal passages are larger. Adding humidity to the air will help the small baby breath easier by keeping the lining of the nasal passages moist.
It is not recommended to give congestion medication to babies under the age of 6 months. Breathing aides are available to add to the water of a humidifier. The soothing medicated air provides a way for the nasal passages to receive medicine that will help to relieve the congestion.
Warm Vs. Cool Humidifier
There is no benefit difference between a warm or cool humidifier. Both types will add the necessary moisture into the air that will aide the baby in breathing. The warm humidifier produces a steam. The steam can loosen wallpaper glue and cause the wallpaper to fall off the walls. Cool humidifiers cause the room to be cooler than normal because the vapor produced drops cause the air to cool.
It is extremely important to clean a humidifier weekly. Any germs that accumulate within the humidifier will be spread into the air through the disbursement of vapor. Cleaning the humidifier also removes any chemicals from the evaporated water that have been collected inside the unit. Some babies have a sensitivity to these chemicals. The extra chemicals in the air can cause lung problems in some infants.
Filling the humidifier with tap water that has been run through a filter or distilled water will help keep bacteria from growing and prevent unnecessary minerals from being disbursed into the air. The humidifier should be placed at least 3 feet away from the baby's crib. This distance is needed to prevent a baby from touching the humidifier from the crib. It is important to have the humidifier high enough so a crawling baby cannot reach it.