Newborn Health: Do You Need a Humidifier or Dehumidifier?

Newborn Health: Do You Need a Humidifier or Dehumidifier?

It's important to provide the right environment for your baby, which sometimes means adding a humidifier or dehumidifier to your home.
Read Time: 3 minutes
Nov 21, 2022

Parents of newborns are justifiably concerned about optimizing everything in the baby’s environment from indoor air quality, to temperature to just the right amount of sensory stimulation. But what about humidity? Is it important to monitor baby room humidity? Maybe. Read on and learn about relative humidity in your home.

Relative Humidity

Relative humidity is a measure of the water vapor content of the air. The higher it is, the more humid your home or the atmosphere is. Optimally, homes should have a humidity range between 30 and 60 percent.

A baby lies on a white furry surface and underneath an orange blanket.

Why is Humidity Important?

If your home is too humid, which is common in very humid areas like Florida, it can lead to the growth of mold, mildew, or fungus. Breathing in mold spores is bad for anybody’s health, especially that of a newborn baby. However, if the air is too try, it can dry out a baby’s skin. Babies’ skin loses moisture faster than the skin of children and adults.

Humidity Changes During the Year

In general, home humidity should be a little higher in winter, as cooler air holds less moisture. In summer, it’s best to have it a little lower — perhaps no more than 50 percent in your home. But how to achieve that?

Controlling Humidity

First, get a hygrometer from a home store to measure humidity so you can get a baseline knowledge of how humid your home typically is. Then, check your home’s plumbing for leaks and have them fixed so they do not add to the moisture content in your home’s air.

A meter shows a home's temperature and humidity level.

If Your House Is Too Humid

If your home’s humidity level is above 60 percent, it may be too humid for a newborn baby. Before working with a professional, you can take a few steps to help lower your home’s humidity level.

HVAC System Check-Up

First, check your HVAC system. If your HVAC system is well maintained, it will likely do a good job removing moisture from your home’s air. Changing the filter regularly and keeping the coils clean help the HVAC perform this function more efficiently.

Exhaust Ventilation

If humidity is still too high, look into installing exhaust ventilation in the bathroom and kitchen areas. Make sure the ventilation ducts are connected to the outdoors so that all humidity goes out of the house and does not collect indoors.

A woman changes the water container in a dehumidifier.

Get a Dehumidifier

You may also want to check out a dehumidifier. You could use a portable in the nursery if you’re particularly concerned about humidity there, but a whole-house dehumidifier is usually the best option. A whole-house dehumidifier sends humidity away from the home and down the plumbing so that you don’t need to empty a reservoir.

If Your House Is Too Dry

If your home’s humidity level is below 30 percent, it might be too dry for your newborn baby. This will typically be more common in arid and hot climates. Here are steps to take if this is your situation.

Get a Humdifier

If you choose to get a humidifier, make sure to get one that’s safe for use in the nursery. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends getting a cool-mist model. These are the easiest on babies’ nasal passages.

A woman holds a baby in her lap in the background while a humidifier releases mist in the foreground.

Try Other Tricks

A humidifier is the best way to increase humidity in one room, but you can also try other tricks to raise your home’s overall humidity. These include:

  • Air-drying your clothes indoors
  • Cooking indoors
  • Adding houseplants throughout the home
  • Vent your dryer indoors
  • Upgrade doors, windows, and weatherstripping

For more on baby room humidity, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions of Orlando. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida, and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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