How close should humidifier be to baby?

While humidifiers are helpful to babies when the air is dry, they can be risky if not used properly.

In this article, I will discuss where to place a humidifier and how close it should be to the baby… 

As a parent, I dread the effects of low humidity and dry air on my little ones.

how far to keep humidifier

It’s during this season that they become more vulnerable to dry skin, a stuffy nose ( nasal congestion), and cracked lips.

One of the ways I use to mitigate conditions caused by low humidity level is by placing a humidifier in my baby’s room.

Humidifiers work by forcing vapor or steam out through a sprout.

The steam increases the humidity level in a room, and when breathed, it moistens the airways and alleviates the symptoms, as mentioned earlier.

Another reason why I like humidifiers is that they make my baby get better sleep. How? By keeping the nasal passages moist and less sticky, it makes children breathe easily at night, enabling them to get a peaceful sleep.

Additionally, humidifiers prevent dry skin and lower the risk of eczema, since it keeps the skin moist. Interestingly, some babies find the sound produced by vaporizers pleasant.

Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Thanks in advance – I really appreciate it!

Note: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the best types of humidifiers for nurseries are the cool mist humidifiers.

AquaOasis™ Cool Mist Humidifier {2.2L Water Tank} Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifiers for Bedroom & Large room - Adjustable -360° Rotation Nozzle,

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE INFO

You should avoid using Warm mist humidifiers for babies.

With that out of the way, let’s now get into how far a humidifier should be to the baby.

What is the safe distance to keep them and how to find the perfect spot.

How Far Should A Humidifier Be To The Baby?

A humidifier should be placed at least three feet from the baby’s crib, but no farther than five feet.

This distance ensures that the mist doesn’t fall on the bed or the infant, preventing further complications. 

It’s also advisable to place the humidifier centrally, on the vapor spread evenly across the room.

Ensure that you keep it off the floor, preferably on a chair, a dresser, or a table. 

Also, make sure the humidifier is the right size depending on the room’s size.

For instance, don’t use a small humidifier in a spacious nursery or a large humidifier in a small nursery.

Vicks Mini Filter-Free Cool Mist Humidifier, Small Room, .5 Gallon Tank, Blue – Visible Mist Small Humidifier for Bedrooms, Baby Nurseries and More, Works with Vicks VapoPads

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE INFO

LEVOIT Humidifiers for Bedroom, 4L Cool Mist Ultrasonic for Plants Baby with Essential Oil Tray,Dual 360°Rotation Nozzle

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE INFO

Using a large humidifier in a small nursery may add excess moisture into the air which can be detrimental to the baby.

On the other hand, a small humidifier in a spacious nursery may not produce enough vapor or mist. 

There are also certain features that dictate how close a humidifier should be placed.

For instance, a humidifier with a 360-degree rotating nozzle and a humidity sensor can be kept closer since there is no risk of producing excess vapor and there is even distribution of mist. 

Apart from the distance, another consideration is how high should the humidifier be from the ground.

Generally, a humidifier should be about 2 feet from the ground unless it’s a standing type. 

If you are placing it on a surface make sure the surface isn’t affected easily by water.

Like don’t place them on a wooden surface.

Humidifier Placement Tips

Here are some tips for positioning your humidifier for maximum effectiveness.

1 When Sleeping

I don’t particularly appreciate placing the humidifier too close to the bed at sleep time.

This is because the moisture level might be too much if the equipment is near your sleeping area.

Also, babies who are light sleepers find the noise level produced by this equipment uncomfortable.

2 Avoid Sunlight

It would be best if you placed your humidifier away from direct sunlight.

The heat from the sun’s rays provides the optimal condition for the growth of algae and bacteria, increasing the rate at which the water inside your humidifier spoil. 

3 Keep Off the Floor

The water droplets from the humidifier can promote bacteria and mold growth if they fall on your carpet.

For this reason, ensure that you keep this equipment at least two feet off the floor.

You can do this by placing a waterproof material on its base, as this also prevents damage caused by accidental water spills.

Alternatively, you can place the humidifier on a table or a chair.

Risks of Putting a Humidifier Too Close to a Baby

While they’re beneficial, putting humidifiers too close to your baby can have adverse effects on their health.

Wrong placement, applying incorrect settings, failing to maintain the machine, and using low-quality all put your kid’s wellbeing at risk.

Here are the effects of placing a humidifier too close to your baby.

1 Allergy

If your baby experiences recurring allergies, it’s wise to examine the humidifier.

Many people are unaware that this equipment can cause allergies since alleviating it is one of its common uses. 

When you apply high humidity settings, dust mites proliferate in your bedroom, increasing the risk of allergic reactions.

A humidifier also causes allergies if it’s not cleaned regularly.

As such, it’s essential to use the correct humidity settings and clean them regularly.

Using a humidifier in a stuffy room causes allergies, which manifests itself through persistent coughs, skin rashes, sneezing, and sniffles in babies.

In severe cases, it can cause asthma, a condition characterized by constricted airways.

If your baby is asthmatic, ensure that your room has adequate ventilation before starting a humidifier.

2 Bacteria

High humidity and dirt promote bacterial growth.

Bacteria cause infections and can hurt your kid’s health, especially because they have vulnerable immunity. 

Through experience, I can attest that humidifiers labeled as ‘antibacterial’ are ineffective.

Indeed, this is an inclusion meant to coax unknowing parents into buying such products. 

If you want close to zero bacterial emissions, evaporative wick vaporizers are your best bet.

Vornado EV100 Evaporative Whole Room Humidifier with SimpleTank, 1 Gallon Capacity, White

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE INFO

That said, you’ll need to replace the evaporative wick regularly to keep the equipment in pristine condition.

3 Mold

Failing to clean your humidifier regularly causes the growth of mold.

When you turn on such equipment, the air it expels contains mold particles.

These particles are a health risk to you and your kids and cause significant discomfort if you are allergic.

Additionally, applying high humidity settings on dirty equipment can result in mold particles sticking on other surfaces of your bedroom.

After extended periods, these particles turn into the mold that attacks porous surfaces such as wooden furniture and ceilings, floors. 

The signs of mold-infested furniture are black patches.

Over time, the mold softens the wood and eventually breaks it down.

To prevent this problem of unwanted mold, varnish your wood, and more importantly, clean your humidifier regularly.

4 Accidents

Besides health issues, putting a humidifier too close to your baby can cause accidents.

These include accidental water spills, burns, electrocution, and tripping on wires and electrical cords.

5 Accidental Water Spills

If your baby is as playful as mine, you need to worry about accidental water spills.

The most common cause of these spills, however, is overfilling your humidifier.

Other causes include a blocked drainage tube and a clogged evaporator pad, which result from the accumulation of dirt. 

Water spills are dangerous to kids because the cold increases the risk of diseases like flu and pneumonia.

If the water touches an exposed electrical connection, there’s a higher risk of electrocution. 

It’s advisable to seek professional help if you can’t tell why your humidifier is leaking.

6 Burns

Humidifiers are also a common cause of burns, that is why types that produce hot vapor are not recommended for a baby’s room. 

Also, vaporizing water requires a lot of heat.

This means that the humidifier itself gets too hot that touching it can cause burns.

The same applies to the steam it produces. Due to their inquisitive nature, kids are at a higher risk of getting burnt.

The best way to avoid burns is by using models that don’t need a lot of heat to vaporize the water.

A perfect example is an ultrasonic humidifier – although it produces high quantities of steam, it is friendlier to kids than a steam humidifier. 

LEVOIT Humidifiers for Bedroom Large Room Home, 6L Top Fill Cool Mist Air Ultrasonic for Plants Indoor with Essential Oils Diffuser for Baby Kids, Smart Control with Humidistat

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7 Electrocution

Even as an adult, you know the risks associated with electrocution.

Due to its good electrical conductivity, touching water that’s in contact with an exposed electric wire can be potentially hazardous. 

Never use a leaking humidifier, whether or not you have a baby.

When a toddler or even you touch the water, you’ll experience an electrical shock.

It’s equally as vital to check your equipment’s electrical connections regularly.

If there are any loose connections or exposed wires, fix them immediately. 

When replacing the water or fixing wiring issues, ensure that you turn off the humidifier.

If possible, unplug it from the socket. 

8 Tripping on Wires

Most humidifiers have long power supply cables to enable you to position them optimally in your room.

While this characteristic offers flexibility in terms of placement, it also has its drawbacks. 

First, a parent who has a little one has to move around often, and they can trip on the wires while doing so.

Likewise, infants like moving, and these cables can topple them over and cause injuries.

Even worse, the humidifier itself can fall on the child and cause serious injuries. 

When installing humidifiers, ensure that you keep the cabling out of the way.

You can do this by placing the device as close to the wall as possible and investing in baby-proofing features in the socket and the wires.

Should I Use Additives?

Some parents are tempted to use additives containing menthol and essential oils in their child’s humidifier, and understandably so.

After all, menthol is useful in decongesting nasal passages, alleviating the symptoms of cold and flu, and easing breathing difficulties. 

However, these additives can harm kids below three years.

Humidifiers tend to produce large particles of essential oils that your baby can breathe ineffectively.

These can cause irritation of your infant’s mucosa and damage the equipment itself. It’s worth noting that humidifiers can’t disperse oil as effectively as they do with water.

Final Words

Depending on how you use them, humidifiers can be helpful to or harmful to your baby.

I’m hopeful that the tips mentioned in this article will help you use this vital piece of equipment more effectively.

In summary, the ideal distance between your baby and the humidifier is at least three feet.

Except for dry days, never apply high humidity settings.

Also, ensure that you keep the device and the water inside is clean and free of algae and bacteria.

Lastly, position the humidifiers so that their wiring isn’t exposed and fix any leaks immediately.

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Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier.
They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics