Choosing the right humidifier for children

What humidifier is best for children?

Children have developing lungs that are more susceptible to upper respiratory infections than adults. Increasing interior air humidity is one proven way to keep their upper respiratory tracts healthy, and alleviate the congestion and sinus problems caused by an infection. For optimal health, the air in your house should have a humidity index of between 29% and 48%. In winter months, however, the constant heating of air can cause that number to drop to 15%, or below, causing symptoms such as dry eyes, dry skin, bronchitis, sinusitis, and even pneumonia. In judging the best humidifier for children there are several things to consider: 1) how it makes the humidity 2) what type of humidity it makes (warm mist or cool mist) and 3) how safe it is. 

Ultrasonic humidifiers vs. evaporative humidifiers

There are two basic types of humidifiers– evaporative, which is less expensive and more prevalent, and ultrasonic, which is more expensive, but also requires less maintenance and care. Evaporative humidifiers use a wick that draws water up from a reservoir, which is evaporated into the air using a fan. Ultrasonic, on the other hand, use two vibrating metal plates to create an extremely fine mist.

The main benefit of ultrasonic humidifiers is that they don’t have wicks or filters that need to be cleaned and replaced. They also create a finer humidity that is more easily absorbed into the air. Ultrasonic models also tend to be quieter, making them a better option for children’s rooms. The Safety 1st Ultrasonic 360 Degree model is top rated by consumers among ultrasonics, with very quiet operation, an easy to fill 12 hour tank, and two nozzles for 360 degree coverage. It also comes in on the cheap side, at only $29.99.

Inexpensive, high quality ultrasonic humidifier

Warm mist vs. Cool mist? It's a question of safety.

While you can purchase humidifier that make warm or cool mist, for children’s safety you should always use a cool mist machine. The hot water or steam that is produced by warm mist humidifiers can be dangerous if it gets knocked over or a child is playing too close to it. 

Is it worth paying more for a fancier humidifier?

In general, a basic humidifier makes mist as well as one that is more expensive. What those extra dollars buy you tends to be extra bells and whistles that may be important to you. For example, many pricier models come with more advanced germ elimination systems, are quieter, and allow for finer control of the percentage of moisture in your air. A more expensive, top rated humidifier for children is the Kaz Germ Free Cool Mist, which uses UV light to kill germs and runs about 25% quieter than a less expensive machine. 

Premium Ultraviolet Germ Free Humidifier

Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier, HCM-350
Amazon Price: $79.99 $59.59 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 5, 2015)