Don’t Leave Your Baby With A Blocked Nose – The Best Humidifier for Babies with Colds

best humidifier for babies with colds

When your infant starts to cough, you want to find the best humidifier for babies with colds. The humidifier gets more moisture in the air which helps your baby to breathe. While a humidifier won’t help your baby get better faster, it will probably help them feel better. The mist loosens up congestion. And that’s the most important thing, right? Keeping your baby comfortable.

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Safety 1st Ultrasonic 4.0 139


There are a few types of humidifiers.

Some produce a cool mist, and others produce a warm mist.  You can even get a humidifier that uses sound waves to generate the mist.

In this article we will look at

  • How humidifiers work
  • How humidifiers compare to vaporizers
  • Which humidifier is best for croup versus colds
  • How often you should clean your humidifier.

And more! Then we’ll look at some of the best humidifiers for babies with colds.

Before Buying A Humidifier

Here are the most commonly asked questions about buying a humidifier. Have a read of these questions to help you decide on the best humidifier for babies with colds.

Why use a humidifier?

A humidifier produces a mist that helps your baby breathe more easily when they have a cold. Some people will hold their baby and run the shower so they can inhale steam. Using a humidifier is more convenient, and uses less water which is better for the environment.

Plus a humidifier can run all night long while your baby is sleeping to help with their congestion.

How does a humidifier work?

Humidifiers take water and convert it into steam. They are great in dry areas or climates, and during the winter when everything seems drier.

This steam then softens up dry nasal and sinus cavities. When your baby has a cold, the mist loosens up the congestion and helps the baby expel it faster.

Whether your baby is breastfeeding or bottle fed, it’s important they can breathe through their nose while eating.

You may want to consider also using an infant nasal suction bulb. This will remove the excess mucus that got loosened up after you ran the humidifier before feeding time. And an added benefit is that a suction bulb will reduce problems such as an irritated throat caused by post-nasal drip.

What’s the difference between a vaporizer and humidifier?

A vaporizer uses heat to create steam. I hear you asking “But then isn’t it a humidifier?” And you’d be right.  

There are two real differences between vaporizers and humidifiers. The first is that a vaporizer is designed to service a whole room and a humidifier is designed for a targeted area like a bed.

The vaporizer also provides hot steam and can be used for raising the humidity as well as temperature control. The humidifier provides a cooler steam that is good for easing congestion without heating up everything else.

Who is a humidifier for?

Humidifiers are great for anyone who has a cold including babies, children and adults.

It’s also useful if your home is very dry due to the season, and maybe your heater is on.

A good humidifier can be moved from room to room as needed for everyone’s nasal comfort.

How to choose a humidifier?

  • Has a good water capacity so you’re not getting up to refill it in the middle of the night.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Comes with an on/off switch. Otherwise you’ll need to unplug it when you’re done running it.
  • Find out what happens when the unit runs out of water. Good humidifiers for babies with colds will automatically shut themselves off.

What makes the best humidifier for babies with colds?

You want to look for a humidifier that has a good maximum capacity. That refers to the moisture output the humidifier produces in 24 hours. The capacity is different than the water tank size.

A tabletop unit will hold less water than a floor size.

How can you get the best results with your humidifier?

The humidifier should definitely run all night long to keep your baby comfortable while sleeping.

You can use the humidifier all day long depending upon your comfort levels. Be careful not to let the humidity go over 65%.  

Here are some Winter safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Which humidifiers are good for babies?

Cool mist is best for babies with croup.

Both warm and cool mist are helpful for babies with colds. Some people believe that the warm mist kills germs and makes it easier for the baby to breathe. It also reduces the mucus buildup.

There’s currently no firm proof one way or the other.

Some people look for ultra-quiet humidifiers so as not to disturb the infant’s sleep. I would disagree a little with that. If you can get your baby used to sleeping with noise, then they will be able to nap anywhere. It’s a good life-skill to build up early on rather than trying to keep everything unnaturally quiet.

Are warm humidifiers dangerous?

No. While they do use a heating element to boil the water into steam, the units don’t get too hot. You should ensure that any humidifier be kept out of the reach of little arms.

Do you need accessories with humidifiers?

Some people purchase external timers to use with their humidifiers. This allows it to turn on and off at pre-scheduled times.

How often should you clean the humidifier?

You will want to clean out the tank daily. This will ensure that mold and bacteria aren’t growing in the machine. Empty out the tank, scrub around the inside a little bit, and then rinse it thoroughly.

The actual humidifier should be cleaned every 1-2 weeks.

The product manual should give you more details on what the manufacturer recommends.

When should you replace a humidifier?

You may have bought a humidifier for your first child. You may have one hanging around that you bought years ago. If you’ve been cleaning the humidifier regularly, it should last you a good long time.

Look carefully at the inside. If you see any cracking or if any mold has moved in, it’s time to replace your humidifier.

Also, if your humidifier has a filter, make sure you replace that per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Are Humidifiers Safe?

Pediatricians are careful not to make any public recommendation. When my daughter was little, it was suggested that a humidifier could help with a cold since the mist would loosen up the mucus.

Recently, some pediatricians are suggesting that if you want to get a humidifier, you should find a cold mist one rather than a warm mist one for your infant for safety reasons. The concern is that the baby may pull the humidifier onto themselves and they’d get burned by the hot water.

I personally found them to be very useful as have parents for centuries. If you want warm mist, then make sure you keep the humidifier away from the baby’s bed. The humidifier will be able to increase the humidity of the whole room if let run.

I always try to connect all of my products back to how safe they are for the environment. Unfortunately, there aren’t any organic humidifiers. Some of the more expensive ones have plastic that is anti-bacterial so you will be assured of breathing safer air.

Feature Comparison Table of the Best Humidifiers for Babies with Colds

MistAire InnoGear Crane USA Honeywell HCM350W Safety 1st Ultrasonic
Easy to Clean Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
On/Off Switch No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Filter No No Can purchase separately but not required Yes No
Timer No No No No No
Water Tank Size 1.5L 100ml 1 Gallon 1 Gallon A little less than 1 Gallon

Can Use Essential Oils

Yes Yes No No Not recommended but people have successfully done it

MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Pros Cons
Dual-speed fan   Smaller tank
Automatic shut off when empty   Nightlight is bright
Crane Blue and White Drop  
Built-in nightlight  
Two-levels of vapor output with fan  


The MistAire cool mist humidifier will automatically shut itself off if water is low. This is a great safety feature for a humidifier that will be in your baby’s room.

You also have a lot of control with two speeds available to control the capacity. Plus, you can adjust the mist with the nozzle on top. The two speeds are useful in that you can quickly increase the humidity of the room, and then turn down the speed to maintain a healthful humidity.

There is a built-in nightlight that you can turn on and off. Some small children prefer to have a light on when they sleep.  Also, it allows you to sneak in and check on your baby and not have to turn on a light.

Some people felt that the nightlight switch was bright enough to be its own nightlight.

The water tank is on the smaller side. However, the unit will run continuously for 16 hours. That’s long enough for a good night’s sleep and a few naps before you need to rinse out the tank and refill it.

If you use this humidifier, you will want to put it on a towel or baking sheet as some people reported that the humidifier leaked.

Overall, this is a very safe humidifier to have in the nursery because it shuts itself off automatically if it runs out of water.

** View the Amazon best seller MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier**

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InnoGear Aromatherapy Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Pros   Cons
Multi-colored lights are amusing yet soothing   Very small tank
Can put in essential oils   Wouldn’t be able to last the whole night
Automatic shut off when empty    
Two-levels of vapor output with fan    


The InnoGear is a fan humidifier. The fan allows the mist to circulate around the room faster than if it just diffuses on its own.

It has multiple lights that it can cycle through. There are seven LED colors so can also act as a nightlight and entertainment. You can turn off the light and just use it as a humidifier though, and it is dark.  

The light has bright and dim modes so can be very useful for checking on your baby and you want to brighten the light for a little bit.

And you can put essential oils in the diffuser.  Eucalyptus oil is a great way to increase the loosening of mucus when your baby has a cold.

It also has an automatic shut off if runs out of water which is good since it has a very small tank. You can’t run it continuously or intermittently overnight if you sleep more than 6 hours. It’s only good for 3 hours continuous or 6 hours intermittent misting.

** Want to know more about the InnoGear Cool Mist Humidifier?**

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Crane USA Cool Mist Humidifier

Pros   Cons
Easy to fill from most sinks   No fan for adjusting output
Antimicrobial material  
Automatic shut off when empty    
Can move nozzle to focus where mist goes    


You can adjust the point where the mist comes out of the humidifier. That allows you to get the mist going right where you need it the most – towards your baby with a cold.

If you have harder water and just want to refill with tap water, you can purchase a filter that works with this humidifier.

This humidifier was manufactured with bacteria resistant plastic. The antimicrobial unit is also BPA-free.

If you choose this unit, you will need to remember to put it up on a table near where you want it to go. And make sure you properly point the nozzle towards where you want it to go.

This unit does not have a fan.

You can’t adjust how much mist comes out. There is a throttle that naturally adjusts how much of the vapor comes out. You adjust it by turning a knob.

**Click here for more information about the Crane USA Humidifier**

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Honeywell HCM350W

Pros   Cons
Automatic shut off when empty   Uses filter which will need to be replaced regularly
3 speed settings to adjust vapor and sound   Really big and heavy 
Antimicrobial material    
Very large capacity tank can run for 24 hours on low setting    


The Honeywell has three speeds to adjust moisture output and sound level with the fan. The HCM350W can fan for up to 24 hours between refilling if it’s on the lowest fan setting.

It does not have an automatic shut if it runs out of water.

Honeywell’s big claim is to use tap water. Its filter will pull out all hard water particles, mold and microbes. There is a UV light to kill any surviving icky things.

A downside is that it’s really big. You will want to find a safe place for this humidifier to ensure it doesn’t get pulled over. At over 9 pounds, it could hurt.

You need to keep the filter moist to work properly. The unit may need to be primed a bit when you first get it. After that, it produces a lot of cool mist continuously for a long time. Don’t forget to swap out the water in the tank once a day.

**Read more about the Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier here**

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Safety 1st Humidifier

Pros   Cons
Very large capacity tank can run for 24 hours on low setting   Feedback shows it can be prone to leaking
Automatic shut off when empty  
Slider switch for precise control of output    
Dual mist nozzles    


The big feature of the Safety 1st is the dual mist outlets. They allow you to soothe two sick babies if you have them. You can rotate the each nozzle 360 degrees independently. Want the mist to come out on one side? You can do that too.

This humidifier has automatic shut off when it runs out of water. That’s a big safety feature for nurseries.

There has been some feedback that this unit can leak. Keep the Safety 1st unit on a towel or a tray to catch any leaks.

There is a variable mist output control which can allow you to emit less mist if you don’t need too much more humidity. The extra moisture breaks down the congestion in your baby. The Safety 1st Ultrasonic has a slider switch giving you a lot of control.

Most people find medium (half-way) works best. On this setting, the humidifier will last 20 hours on a full tank of water. When the setting is at its highest, the water will only last 7 hours.

**Read the review about the Safety 1st Humidifier. Click here**

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Maintaining Your Humidifier

Want a long life for your humidifier? Here are some tips for you:

  • Clean it thoroughly every day to reduce bacteria and mold building up.
  • You will want to empty out the water from the tank every day.  
  • Some people recommend rinsing all the parts that come into contact with water in a low concentrated bleach solution. You will want to follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Use distilled water instead of tap water. This will reduce the mineral deposits that leave a white coating. Some people feel that the minerals that get pushed out with the humidifier can aggravate allergies and respiratory problems. Honestly, it probably depends on just how hard your water is. Most manufacturers do strongly recommend using distilled water as mineral deposits can promote bacterial growth in the humidifier. Some humidifiers do have a water demineralization filter built in. You will want to check that out.
  • Keep it unplugged and out of the reach of children when not in use.
  • You can get a hydrometer if you’re concerned. It’s best to maintain a humidity level of 45-50% in the summer and between 25-40% in the winter.  Either way, you will want to keep it below 60%. Some humidifiers have a hydrometer built in.

Here are some tips on cleaning your humidifier.


I hope you have enjoyed reading my review of the best humidifier for babies with colds.

A lot of the time, people have very different requirements. You may want a small humidifier to run a short period of time (InnoGear is best). Or you may need one that will consistently run all day and all night without you having to check on it (Honeywell HCM350W).  And maybe you have two sick babies and need one humidifier to take care of them both (Safety 1st).

If I were to tell you the best all-around humidifier for babies with colds that would cover most baby’s needs (and parental peace of mind), I’d recommend the MistAire. It has a good capacity tank, is easy to clean, and you can add in essential oils if you find that it helps you. You don’t have to worry about replacing a filter either.

May the zzz’s be with you and your baby!

All the best,


Lara author box