How and why to use a humidifier in a nursery

How and why to use a humidifier in a nursery

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

97 guides

Humidity might not be on the top of your list of priorities in the nursery, but it can be important! It's a good idea to keep an eye on humidity levels in order to provide a safe and healthy environment for your baby. Follow our guide for everything you need to know about humidifying a baby nursery.

Important features

  • Preventing respiratory issues
  • Aiding sleep and ensuring good health
  • Ideal humidity level for babies
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Dry air: why is it harmful?


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The ideal temperature for a nursery is 18 to 21°C. As babies aren't able to regulate their own body temperature, nurseries should be kept within a certain temperature range to provide a comfortable environment.

In winter, however, home heating systems often lead to a drop in humidity. Similarly, excessive heat in the summertime can cause the air to lack water vapour which creates the same effect. Dry air can dry out your baby's mucous membranes which can lead to:

  • nasal congestion;
  • a dry cough;
  • respiratory issues;
  • sleeping problems.

Parents should try to keep the relative humidity level to around 40 to 60%, with an ideal level of 45 to 55%. That said, don't focus too much on these exact standards. Use humidity measuring tools as guidelines, be sure to air out the room every day and don't use a space heater in a nursery.

On the other hand, a humidity level of over 55% creates the ideal environment for bacteria to develop in the air which may increase the risk of airborne infection. If there is too much humid air in the room, the risk of your baby developing a respiratory condition like asthma increases by three times compared to a room with optimum humidity levels. In this case, you will have to use a air dehumidifier instead.

How to achieve the ideal humidity level


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Before installing a humidifier in the nursery, parents must first measure the level of humidity in the air using a little tool called a hygrometer or humidity sensor.

You can find easy-to-use baby weather stations which help you to easily achieve ideal humidity levels and an optimum temperature. For a discreet device to use on a daily basis, go for a device with a simple or fun design that is is able to measure both temperature and humidity levels. For babies that suffer from congestion, the humidity level mustn't drop below 30% and should never go over 55%, in order to prevent further health issues. When humidity levels hit below 30%, you will have to use a device to humidify the air.

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Humidity sensors

Choosing the right humidifier for your baby

There are several different mechanisms designed to add water vapour to the air. Parents often look for the quietest and safest solution that comes at a reasonable price.

Cool-mist humidifier


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Cool-mist humidifiers have the advantage of being safer than other models. If you're looking for a device that won't affect the temperature of the nursery, these humidifiers are a good option. They are quiet and won't consume a lot of energy, but you will have to make sure to disinfect the water tank on a regular basis. High-end devices can also be used to cool the air in summer.

Warm-mist humidifiers


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Warm water vapour certainly has its uses in the spa, but less so in a nursery! It's important to note that a warm-mist humidifier can increase the temperature of the room. In this case, the most important thing to consider is where you set up your device; in order to limit the risk of accidents, these humidifiers must be kept out of reach of your baby and should also be easily accessible to you. These devices often consume a lot of energy and there is a greater risk of limescale build-up. That said, the water won't contain any bacteria as it is heated through a built-in heating system.

Ultrasonic humidifiers


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High frequency ultrasonic waves do not make any noise which is perfect for babies. These devices produce vibrations which send water droplets into the air. This is also the ideal system for diffusing essential oils. Be sure to choose a model equipped with a filter to prevent limescale build-up. Ultrasonic humidifiers don't use up a lot of energy and are perfect for small rooms like nurseries.

Quick tip: a humidifier with a UV light can eliminate bacteria making this type of device particularly suitable for immunodeficient babies.

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Humidifiers

Tips for humidifying a nursery without a humidifier


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Don't want to invest in a humidifier for your nursery? Don't worry! It is possible to increase humidity levels with a few simple solutions:

  • dry your laundry in the nursery;
  • place a bowl of water next to the heating in winter (on the floor and out of the way);
  • add a steamer to the top of a cast iron radiator;

If you have a whole-house ventilation system, the air will be constantly renewed (even more so than simply airing out your home on a daily basis). This means humidity will be easily kept at an ideal level. This kind of system also helps to prevent condensation issues which can lead to damp and excessive humidity.

In order to choose the right humidifier for your nursery be sure to check the capacity of the humidifier, how long it lasts between charges and any additional features you might want (light, programming, essential oil diffuser, UV lights, different spray settings, etc.).

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Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 97 guides

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.

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