October 7, 2013

Does Your Baby Need a Humidifier? How to Tell


Babies sure do need a lot of equipment - double strollers, cribs, pack-n-plays, etc. - that a few important factors can be missed completely..like humidifiers.

Parents may wonder if their baby needs a humidifier. After all, adults sometimes feel the need to add moisture to the air during certain times of year. Maybe baby needs one, too?
The answer depends on several factors, and no one answer is going to be right for everyone. The first thing a mother needs to do is check with the baby's pediatrician. If the doctor gives the okay, then you can determine if you want to go ahead with one, based on the following suggestions.

1. The climate inside and outside your home is a major consideration. Seasonal changes can drastically change the moisture content of the air your family breathes.

In New England, for example, the air in the winter can get so dry it causes dry, flaky skin and chapped lips. In the summer, however, coastal sea winds carry in so much moisture that outside metal lamp fixtures as far inland as 20 miles rust from the saltwater in the air.

If your hair, skin, and mucous membranes are getting dried out, chances are your baby's are as well. Monitor your baby's skin and, if necessary, try a humidifier to see if it helps.

Crying Baby
A humidifier might relieve uncomfortable congestion.

2. Babies get colds just like the rest of us, perhaps even more so because they have not built up the same immunity that adults have. When your baby gets the sniffles, they might also become congested, the same as us. In this case, installing a humidifier just for the duration of cold symptoms might make sense to ease the stuffiness.

3. If your home is very humid or you live in a humid climate, you probably don't need to have a humidifier in the baby's room. In fact, a humidifier can do more harm than good in this instance. Warm, humid air has more bacteria in it, and adding even more moisture to the air can make breathing uncomfortable.

Consider that when temperatures and humidity factors increase dramatically, doctors usually advise the elderly or those with impaired immune systems to stay indoors, in the air conditioning. You don't want to inadvertently create an overly humid environment inside your baby's nursery.

Double Stroller
Twins might not have the same humidifier needs.

4. If your baby or young child has asthma, a humidifier might reduce asthma attacks. Dry air can cause miniscule cracks in the mucous lining of the throat, causing irritation and coughing. This could potentially lead to more frequent asthma attacks. If your baby has asthma and is under the care of a physician, ask the doctor if a humidifier might afford some relief of symptoms.

Humidifiers have become ubiquitous on baby registry lists. Because of this, parents sometimes think they are a necessity. It's not a bad idea to own one and have it in the house, but in only rare instances would it be necessary to run it all the time.

A Word of Caution: Humidifiers trap bacteria and mold over time. It's critical to replace the filter frequently, according to manufacturer's instructions. Otherwise, you might be actually adding bacteria to the air your baby is breathing. Buy extra filters when you buy the whole unit so you'll always have a fresh one on hand.

Kate Supino is a freelance writer who writes extensively about baby products.



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1 comment:

  1. As rightly mentioned, babies need double strollers, baby monitors as well as other such equipments but a need for humidifier is yet to become a necessity for babies I think.

    ReplyDelete

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