How to Use a Humidifier Safely
By Dana SullivanInstalling a humidifier in a baby's room is practically a rite of passage for parents. When your baby has a cold, one of the best things you can do to keep her comfortable is to make the air she breathes is moist by using a humidifier. Moist air keeps mucus more liquid, which prevents stuffiness, making it easier for baby to breathe. The question is, which is better: cool mist or warm steam?
If possible, fill the machine with water that has a low mineral content, either distilled or filtered water (e.g., tap water that you've run through a filter, such as a Brita or Pur), since the minerals can build up on the machine which then disperses them into the air, potentially irritating the lungs of sensitive children. Place the humidifier about three feet from your baby's crib, but not so close that she could reach out and touch it or knock it over.
If you live in a part of the country where the air is very dry during winter, you might consider running a humidifier at night when your baby isn't sick to keep nasal passages from becoming dry. Just be sure that her room doesn't get so humid that water condenses on the windows, pictures or walls. When a room is too humid, bacteria and mold thrive on furniture, walls, carpet, drapes and bedding.