Colds and allergies they’re all to common in children and humidifiers can help.
If you found this guide you’re no doubt in need of a good humidifier for use in your little ones room.
You might already know that cool mist is safer than warm mist but kills less germs. You may know about what a humidifier does and what symptoms it alleviates. If you’re a savvy shopper you’ll also know what features you want!
Well, if not we’ve got pretty much everything you need to know somewhere in here. For the fully informed among you here’s our thoroughly researched humidifier ‘top picks’….
Our Baby Humidifier Choices
- Babymoov Hygro Plus – “A premium, good looking cool-mist unit with all the features you could need”
- Crane Adorables - Animal Cool Mist Humidifiers – “A humidifier that kids will love! Lots of kid friendly designs.”
- MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist – “One of the most popular humidifiers out there”
- Vicks Warm Mist – “A warm mist option which works with Vicks inhalants for a more powerful steam”
- Rebassa - Cool Mist USB – “A mini cute bird that does cool-mist from USB power. Ideal for travel or the nursery.”
- URPOWER Aromatherapy Humidifier & Essential Oil Diffuser – “A budget option with nightlight that also allows you to use essential oils“
- Levoit Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic – “Large reservoir, does both warm and cool mist”
What does a humidifier do and how does it help?
Humidity is simply a measure of water vapor in the air. Checkout this Wikipedia page if you want more on that.
A humidifier adds more water vapor into the air.
What does that do?
Well…. Adding moisture to the air can help relieve congestion from the common cold, flu, and sinus infections.
Humidifiers can also help alleviate the symptoms of eczema, itchy skin, cracked lips, nose bleeds, and dry eyes. Any of which can be caused by dry air, allergies, or asthma.
Ideal humidity levels
The ideal humidity level inside your house is anywhere from 30 to 50 percent. This level helps you and your skin to stay healthy.
There’s no single level in that range that’s optimum. That’s because humidity levels will naturally change due to the seasons. Using your heating or air conditioning will reduce the humidity level. Taking a steamy shower will raise it.
Too much humidity causes the air to feel stuffy and may cause condensation to develop on your walls and windows. Continual high humidity allows bacteria and mold to grow. This can be bad.
Low humidity levels can make your skin dry, itchy and irritate your eyes and throat.
Do you really need a humidifier for a baby?
My honest answer…. No.
You don’t really need a humidifier to start with.
If your child has a stuffy nose or any other symptoms, and they are old enough, give them a long bath or shower. Or if they’re too young put them in the room with you whilst you take a lovely long relaxing soak or shower.
That’s the first step. Did it help them?
If the answer was yes, then you’ll probably find getting a humidifier for their room a good idea.
Is a cool mist or warm mist better?
Here are the facts.
A cool mist humidifier has no heating element, the water inside is cool and the vapor emitted is cool. There’s no chance it could ever burn your child.
Warm mist humidifiers heat the water to produce vapor. They naturally emit less mold and bacteria into the air because heating water kills it.
The actual air in the room that your child breathes will be the same temperature from either.
Keep your cool mist humidifier clean and filled with fresh filtered water and it will be as effective as a warm humidifier.
Locate a warm air humidifier out of the reach of a child and it’s going to be as safe as a cool mist one!
Are warm mist humidifiers safe?
Our warm mist humidifier sits there bubbling away all night. Some of the water inside is at (or near) boiling point. I wouldn’t want that water spilling on my child.
I wouldn’t want it on a high shelf with a trailing wire a child could pull on either.
I’d also never leave it in a room with a child who’s too young to understand what’s inside is hot and could burn.
Warm mist humidifiers contain a heating element. Usually, they are like a really small kettle. I’m happy to run ours overnight it has a shut-off to sense when the water tank is empty.
You may not feel the same way.
In favor of warm mist humidifiers
Whilst there seems to be a bit of a craze for cool mist, there’s still a case for warm.
Boiling water purifies it, so warm mist humidifiers emit less bad particles. You don’t have to purchase replacement components like filters either. You can use tap water in them and they require less frequent cleaning.
You’ll use more electricity running one. But unless you use it 24×7 for a long time you aren’t really going to notice the change to your electricity bill.
If you have a baby who can’t yet get around or a child who’s past the inquisitive/destructive stage you can save yourself some work.
Can I use an essential oil diffuser around by baby?
There are a few oils you may want to stay away from and in general, it’s recommended that you dilute essential oils for younger children and babies.
It’s also recommended that you’re cautious with the following oils because children have more sensitive airways than adults:
- Idaho Tansy
- Clary Sage
Can you get sick from a humidifier?
Yes. If you don’t keep it clean, and you don’t use clean water a humidifier can actually emit bacteria and mold into the air.
Use a humidifier too much and the humidity levels in your room can stay elevated. You’ll get condensation and moisture everywhere. That environment is a breeding ground for bacteria and molds.
Ideally, you should monitor the humidity level in a room. You’d use something called a hygrometer for this. Don’t let humidity stay too high for too long. Overnight use is fine, your room should get chance to dry out in the day.
How close should humidifier be to your baby?
This depends on your humidifier! It really comes down to exercising a little common sense.
If it’s a small unit that isn’t producing a lot of vapor you’ll be fine with it placed near to a child. But still keep it out of reach of a child that doesn’t understand what it is.
Use a wide area humidifier that produces a lot of vapor near a sleeping child and you might literally soak them and their bedsheets.
Gauge it yourself. There’s no need to be able to see mist falling onto the skin. Humidity will work even when you can’t see it.
What type of water should you use in a humidifier?
Tap water isn’t the best choice in a cool mist thermometer.
If you have some, distilled or demineralized water is better. It’s recommended by this EPA factsheet . That’s because it has less mineral content than tap water. Fewer minerals in the water, fewer minerals in the air the humidifier produces. Less in your lungs.
Using tap water in an area of high mineral content might result in you seeing a fine white dust everywhere.
Which cool mist humidifier is best for baby?
We’ve actually got a separate article on this that just covers the best cool mist humidifiers. Take a look in there if you want the top pick and only want to consider cool mist.
Types of humidifier
Evaporative humidifiers (Cool mist)
If you blow on something that’s wet you’ll dry it out. These use the same principle. There’s a wick and a fan inside. The wick soaks up liquid and the fan blows air over it to help it evaporate into the air. Wicks eventually need replacing.
It’s harder to evaporate water into the air in an already humid room. An evaporative humidifier will self-regulate and become less effective as the humidity in a room increases.
Impeller humidifiers (Cool mist)
These have an electric motor that drives a rapidly spinning disc. The disc throws water at high speed onto comb-shaped part called a diffuser. This breaks the water into microscopic droplets that are emitted into the air.
Ultrasonic humidifiers (Cool mist)
A vibrating disc submersed inside a water container produces ultrasonic waves. Think of an underwater speaker. As the tiny waves break the surface they emit water particles into the air. That’s the basics. If you really want to get technical check this out.
Boiling water naturally evaporates into the air as steam. That’s the principle a warm-mist humidifier works on. They simply boil the water slowly, small amounts at a time, and physics does the rest.
What features to look for….
Antibacterial features – filters cartridges, or ultraviolet lights
Warm air humidifiers don’t need filters or lights to remove bacteria and minerals from the water. It’s done naturally through the process of boiling it.
Cool mist humidifiers will sometimes have one of the above to help to remove unwanted particles from the vapor they emit. Be aware that filters will require cleaning and/or replacement after some use.
UV lights can be used to kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria inside water before dispersing into the air.
Reservoir Size and Run Time
Bigger isn’t always better. A bigger reservoir will generally give you a longer run time between refills. It does depend really on the particular humidifier and the rate it emits the water as vapor. Instead, if it’s specified look at the run-time in the specifications.
Whole house, large, medium and small room. You’ll see all these listed in humidifier specs. If you’re looking for a baby, you’re probably going to want it for the nursery. So look at small/medium room units.
How loud is it?
Pretty disappointing when you get the new solution to what’s bothering your little one and it ends up keeping them awake all night.
Unless your child could sleep through anything, check owner review and product listings. Look for a humidifier that’s quiet!
Auto-shut off safety switch
When the reservoir is empty, you want your humidifier to stop. There’s nothing left to disperse so no need to continue running, making noise and wearing out the components.
This is especially the case on a warm mist humidifier. You don’t want the element heating nothing all night.
Good humidifiers will include an auto-off sensor and shut down when there’s nothing left in the tank (or the tank is knocked over).
Humidity Level Monitors (Hygrometer) and Adjustment
We’ve already mentioned that an evaporative cool mist humidifier will self-regulate. The more humid the room the less effective it will be.
Other types will continue to disperse vapor until you stop them unless they come with a humidity level sensor. That’s called a hygrometer. These types will also normally cost you a little more but also allow you to specify and control the desired level of humidity in a room.
Great for children. Safe and easy to implement for the manufacturer nowadays. Color changing LED nightlights are common on baby humidifiers. They’re usually on all night anyway, why not add a soft color changing glow to the room at the same time?
Making a humidifier act as a light is also a useful indicator to children and to you that something is switched ON!
Baby Humidifier Reviews
Babymoov Hygro Plus
Type: Ultrasonic cool mist
Babymoov is a global brand that makes a whole lot of baby products driven by the needs of parents.
Their humidifier is a nice looking unit that has all the features you’d want it to have. You pay a slight premium for that over some more budget options. But if you’re going to be using it a lot, or you just want a good product, then it’s worth it.
There’s a backlit touchscreen on the front which displays the current room humidity level. You don’t have to worry about the lights from that screen keeping your little one awake as they dim when it’s not in use.
The front panel also shows you the room temperature. You can set your desired humidity level as this has a humidity sensor at the back of the base. It will work to keep your room at your desired level until the tank runs dry.
The tank 0.7 gallons (2.5 L) tank should give you 22 hours of runtime before you need to refill. There’s also a diffuser that you can put essential oils or other inhalants into. Great if you want to add something more to the air to help alleviate symptoms or make a room smell a certain way.
As well as setting the humidity level and leaving it to work automatically you can also just set this manually to run constantly at one of 5 output levels from 110 ml/hour up to 250 ml/hour. You can also program it to stop running after a few hours with the timer mode.
Whisper quiet, this runs at 25 dB (which is actually whisper quiet). The vapor nozzle spins a full 360 and directs vapor out at 45 degrees so you can really direct it exactly where you need to.
Finally, it’s also a 7 color night light. Due to the funky slightly alien looking egg shape, this really can be a stylish addition to any room, not just a nursery. The night light can be switched on or off and when working can cycle through 7 colors to or just stick to one.
- Looks great
- Essential oil compatible
- Humidity level sensor
- 22-hour runtime
- Lifetime warranty
- Auto shut-off when the tank is empty
- 7 color nightlight
- No filter, not antibacterial, needs filtered water
Crane Adorables – Animal Cool Mist Humidifiers
Type: Ultrasonic cool mist.
Finally, a humidifier that’s actually designed for a kids room. Any kids room! It’s available in about 20 different kid friendly designs like the Monkey, Elephant, Sheep, Martian, Unicorn and many more…
But how does it stack up?
Well, it’s quite big. At 9” wide by about 13” high it might just fill a little bedside table, but that’s because this holds up to 1 gallon of water and can run for up to 24 hours and humidify up to 500 sq ft.
There’s a dial on the front that allows adjustment of the mist output. They got the name right. It’s pretty adorable when mist starts jetting out of the elephant’s trunk or the pig’s ears.
You can swivel the lid too so it’s possible to direct some of the mist where you want it to go.
Whilst there is no anti-bacterial filter, the base is made from anti-microbial materials that will discourage up to 99.96% of nasties from growing in there and getting into your air.
This runs quiet like most ultrasonics, so there’s little danger of it keeping your child awake through the night.
- BPA Free
- 20 kid friendly designs
- Anti-microbial materials
- 24-hour runtime
- Auto-shut off
- Optional demineralization filter for hard water homes
- Some models include a nightlight
- Weekly cleaning with white vinegar recommended
- The tank is large and may not fit in some basins for filling
MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist
Type: Ultrasonic cool mist
A 1.5-litre reservoir allows this MistAire unit to run for up to 16 hours on it’s highest setting. There’s also a low setting to give you more run time and less vapor.
Optionally this can act as a single color soft blue nightlight. Good for a child’s room.
You cycle through the 4 running modes (high or low output, light on or off) using a single button on the front
This one runs quietly. It’s virtually silent.
You’re able to control the direction of the mist output with a nozzle that rotates a full 360 degrees. That means you can point it away from walls, shelves and lamps and towards the things you want humidifying.
To keep things safe there’s an auto-shut off that will sense when the tank water level is low or when the tank is removed. Spillages will still get water everywhere, but at least the device will have stopped working!
You’re supplied with a little cleaning brush to clean the ultrasonic element located in the base. That part is easy enough but cleaning inside the tank is a little harder. The best way is to give it a regular soak in cleaning and descaling agent like vinegar.
- Very quiet
- No filter or cartridge to replace
- 16 hour run-time on the highest setting
- 360-degree directional output nozzle
- Auto-shut off
- 2-year warranty
- Ideally needs clean filtered water
- No anti-bacterial filter or light
- Requires regular cleaning
- Not easy to clean the tank
- Can’t use essential oils
Vicks Warm Mist
Here’s a warm mist option for those of you who really want to remove all bacteria and spores from the air in your room. Heated vapor is more purified than none and you can safely use normal tap water with this.
It’s about the size of a large lamp measuring 12″ x 7.9″ x 14.2″. The sides of the 1-gallon tank are clear so you can easily see the remaining water level inside. That 1 gallon of water will give you up to 12 hours of runtime. It’s also got handles that make it easy to detach and carry.
There’s what looks like a dial on the side to adjust the vapor level but don’t be fooled, you get low or high settings and nothing in-between.
One great feature of this one is the medicine cup that sits above the cooling chamber and is perfect for adding medications like Vicks VapoSteam or Kaz Inhalant. Great for easing a really stuffy nose or cold.
The tank emits a soft blue glow from the in-built nightlight, but be aware that you can’t turn it off.
As with all warm mist humidifiers, it’s quiet when working and makes a soft boiling or bubbling noise. It’s not completely silent, but very quiet.
- 3-year warranty
- Auto-shut off
- Adjustable vapor level
- Medicine cup for VapoSteam or Inhalant
- The light doesn’t turn off
Rebassa – Cool Mist USB
Type: Ultrasonic cool mist
Who doesn’t love a cute bird design in either yellow, pink or green? This would look great in a nursery or a little girls room.
This Rebassa ultrasonic humidifier is powered by USB. That means you can connect it to a portable battery pack, your laptop, your computer or your car. Conveniently it’s also pretty small and will fit neatly into a car cup holder. You could also just as easily power it from any normal wall outlet with the type of USB socket charger most of us already have on our phone. Handy for travel.
Switch this on and its first mode gives continual mist for about 3 hours before the 180 ml reservoir runs dry. There is a second mode that you can use to give intermittent mist and a longer run-time.
Inside are an atomizer and a cotton filter to help remove minerals from the expelled mist. You’re only supplied with 1 spare filter but that’s because you’re supposed to clean the original whilst using the spare.
- BPA free
- Small and portable – Fits in a car cup holder
- Auto shut off
- Cotton filter
- No antibacterial properties
URPOWER Aromatherapy Humidifier & Essential Oil Diffuser
Type: Ultrasonic Cool mist
This is a small, simple to use budget humidifier.
Push the on button on this once and you’ll get 3 hours of continuously added humidity. Press it again and you’ll get up to 6 as it will run intermittently until the 100 ml tank is empty.
What’s nice about this device is that the nightlight can be independently controlled from the mist. You can just use it as a nightlight. It can be set to cycle through 7 different colors or just stick to one particular color. The cycling colors is a nice little light show for a little one to soothe them to sleep even if it’s not being used as a humidifier.
- Small footprint
- Essential oil compatible
- 7 color nightlight
- Auto shut-off
- Continuous or intermittent mist mode
- BPA free
- Easy to clean
- Low run-time, only 100 ml tank, 6 hours max
- The on light (not the nightlight) might be a little too bright for some locations
- No anti-bacterial properties
- Small reservoir
Levoit Warm and Cool Mist Ultrasonic
Type: Warm mist or cool ultrasonic mist
If you can’t decide between warm or cool mist, why not get a humidifier that does both?
This Levoit unit allows you to select cool mist OR warm mist via the touch panel on the front or the remote control.
It has a large 6-liter tank and will run for up to 36 hours between refills and will cover up to 280 sq ft.
The mist is expelled through two nozzles on the top and you can rotate both of them independently so that the mist is directed exactly where you need it to be.
The ultrasonic air diffuser produces less than 36 dB. A whisper is about 30 dB and the sound of a humming refrigerator is about 40 dB, so whilst this isn’t silent, it does run quietly.
If you or your baby is a light sleeper it’s also possible to even turn off the blue lights on the control panel so the unit is completely dark.
You don’t need a filter in this one. If you want clean bacteria-free mist, you use the warm mist option.
- Humidity sensor and auto-mode
- 2-year warranty
- Long run-time of 36 hours
- 2x Descaling pads and aroma pads supplied
- Programmable Timer
- Does warm AND cool mist
- Essential oil compatible
- Mid-range price
- No nightlight