Parents in the process of planning their newborn’s room scrupulously research bassinets, toys and other infant care accessories. They also put considerable effort into baby-proofing their home with the focus on sharp, small objects and electrical and chemical hazards. However, a commonly overlooked area is air quality—particularly humidity.
Dry air poses various dangers to a newborn’s health. From something minor like eczema to severe respiratory infections, a baby’s skin, lungs and nasal passages are more sensitive to moisture levels than adults. Unfortunately, they are also too young to take the over-the-counter medications adults use to remedy the effects of dry air. For this reason, prevention is crucial.
How Humidifiers Work
Humidifies release moisture into the air, which can be useful in households located in harsh, dry or cold climates. Specifically, moisture affects the environment in two ways:
- Thermoregulation: Maintaining the perfect balance of heat and fluid for optimal health;
- Humidity: Preventing loss of heat or moisture to keep the integumentary and respiratory systems properly nourished.
Interestingly, babies sleep best in cool environments. However, temperature and humidity are entirely different, and dryness can disrupt sleeping patterns by prompting fits of coughing, itching and sniffling.
Ideal Humidity Levels for Infants
The recommended indoor humidity level for babies is 45 to 50 percent. It’s hardest to maintain such levels in the winter; however, the summer has its own challenges.
For one, summer can render a space too muggy, so the humidifier must remove moisture. Conversely, some air conditioning units supply cool, dry air and expel the natural warmth. Unless this exchange is monitored, too much moisture escapes.