Bottom Line: Humidifier safety for infants, kids

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:24 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - With drier winter air plus cold and flu season coming, a humidifier can help your family sleep more comfortably, but if you’re using a humidifier near an infant or small child, you’ll want one that’s safe for them.

The experts at CR share which humidifiers are best for babies, along with tips on how to keep them clean and yuck-free for everyone in the family.

Consumer Reports can’t promise that your baby will sleep through the night, but a humidifier can help your child sleep more comfortably, before you go out to buy a humidifier, CR has some advice.

In a nursery or child’s room, you want to make sure things are safe. So Consumer Reports recommends that you get a cool-mist humidifier. A warm-mist unit, which heats water, has the potential to scald if there’s an accident.

CR tests humidifiers in a climate-controlled chamber, running them overnight and keeping track of how many gallons of water each device emits per square foot.

While moist air can help alleviate congestion and dry skin, overly humid air can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria. Ideally, you want a relative humidity between 30 and 50% inside your home.

The recommended Levoit Dual 200S Smart for smaller rooms has a built-in humidistat and shuts off when the humidity reaches a desired level.

If your humidifier doesn’t have a humidistat, you can measure the humidity yourself with a tool called a hygrometer. It’s available for less than $10.

The $30 Aqua Oasis AO-101 is sold without a humidistat. For bigger rooms, 300 to 500 square feet, the Lasko UH200 is a smart buy.

Finally, a humidifier that isn’t cleaned well can spur the growth of potentially harmful mold and bacteria, which could make you or your baby sick.

Consumer Reports recommends rinsing and drying the tank thoroughly every day and sanitizing the unit with vinegar once a week.

CR says to position your humidifier on a flat level surface, raised at least 2 feet above the floor. This allows more moisture to dissipate into the air.

For a step-by-step guide on how to clean your humidifier–yes, you should be doing it–head over to our website for a video.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

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