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Are Air Purifiers Safe for Babies?

S etting up the baby’s room can require days of work, as all parents want the best for their little ones. Whether they are done progressively or on the rush of the moment, the walls will be painted, new furniture will be bought, and the room will get filled with little clothes and accessories necessary to welcome and ensure the comfort of the baby.

So, if you have already done all that, you’ve probably reached a stage in which you are considering the details. Usually, the quality of the air in the room is one of them. As the room has been recently finished, you have probably brought in a large number of allergens with the furniture and other objects. Moreover, the paint has released volatile organic compounds that need to be dealt with. It is the moment when the idea of buying an air purifier pops in mind. You have heard about the amazingly precise HEPA filters that reduce the risk of allergies and breathing illnesses. You know they are safe for adults. But are they the same for your baby? Stay with us as we analyze them and find out if you should place one in your nursery.

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Is an Air Purifier a Good Idea for Baby’s Room?

This question doesn’t have a ‘yes/no’ answer. The truth is that you will have to consider some factors before purchasing the device. For example, you will need to make sure that the machine doesn’t release any harmful gas and that it can operate at a low sound level, otherwise it can affect the psychical wellbeing of your little one. But once you have managed to find the perfect device, the benefits will be countless:

  • It will remove allergens and dust that can irritate the airways
  • It will clean the air of VOCs and unpleasant odors
  • It will remove pet hair and dander
  • In some cases, it will kill bacteria and viruses

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What to Choose?

For the baby room, the best option is always a device that uses a True HEPA filter combined with a charcoal filter and a prefilter. There’s nothing more natural than this type of purification. A fan draws the air into the unit, which passes through the first layer. With a looser weaving, it collects the large pollutants. When it reaches the main layers, 99.97% of the particles that are bigger than 0.3 microns along with dangerous gases and bacteria remain trapped in the filters, while the air emerges clean, fresh, and safe for your little one to inhale.
However, not all filters are the same, so here is some advice:

  • HEPA Filter – When picking the filter make sure it says True HEPA and not HEPA type. Only the first variant will do what it promises, as it has been tested and matched the standards. HEPA-type filters usually don’t undergo any testing and many of them can only remove particles that are larger than 0.5 microns.
  • HyperHepa Filter – Is a particular type of HEPA which is used in medical-grade air cleaners. It can remove particles that are as small as 0.003 microns. We recommend this type if you live in an area with high levels of pollution or if your little one is struggling with asthma or allergies.
  • Activated Carbon Filter – The thicker the layer the more effective it will be. And you should check if the carbon is made out of coconut shell, as they are rich in micropores and offer better filtering. The importance of this filter stands in its ability to remove VOCs and smells, which can make the air in the room difficult to breathe and even dangerous for the baby.

Closer Considerations

Now that we have established that a great filter combination will keep the allergens away and help your little one rest, we should focus on other features and functions that can improve de device’s performance:

  • UV-C Light – Some models include this option, which functions by applying ultraviolet light on the microorganisms in the air. The radiation is strong enough to kill them but won’t leave any traces that could affect human health. On the other hand, this option should be used only when the child is not in the room, as during the sanitation process, it can affect the skin and the eyes.
  • Ultra-quiet fan – It is essential for a baby to get good, restful sleep, that’s why air purifiers that reach 50 to 60 decibels in their run should be out of the question. Most air purifiers for nurseries have a reduced sound level that doesn’t overcome 40 dB and can function even quieter at low speed.
  • Excellent coverage – Always buy a device that has been rated by AHAM. It has undergone serious tests and you can trust that it can cover the whole nursery.
  • Humidification – Babies struggle with congestion and breathing problems in the first months of their lives, so keeping the humidity within optimal values is essential. Although you could buy a humidifier, a great alternative could be an air purifier-humidifier combo, which can cover two tasks at once. Just make sure it matches all the criteria from above and doesn’t enter the category of forbidden devices.
  • Night Light – It should be gentle and calm and ensure a relaxing atmosphere that can help your kid sleep. Some models even project stars or cute animals on the ceiling, turning the space into an enchanted land. Plus, it will function as a guide for you, as you will be able to walk around the room without turning on the light.

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What to Avoid at All Costs?

Two types of air-purifying machines should never be placed in a baby’s room: ionizers and ozone generators. The opinions are already divided, and many users consider that they should not be used in rooms inhabited by adults, not to mention kids.

So, what’s the problem with these machines?

The only issue is that they produce ozone. Ozone generators to a higher degree, as this is their main means to fight pollution. For ionizers, on the other hand, the ozone is just a secondary product and is usually in low amounts that don’t affect adults but which could affect babies. If you are wondering, ozone is a highly dangerous gas that can cause serious breathing illnesses if the exposure period is long enough.

Therefore, the rule is no ozone in the nursery or around kids. It is better to go with a classic filter model than with filterless air cleaners. And check closely if the unit comes with an ionizer. In this case, you should be able to turn it on and off when you wish, and always keep it in off position when the baby is around.

Using the Air Purifier – Tips for Nurseries

  • Place the unit on the floor – You were probably thinking of placing it as closer to the baby’s crib as possible, but the truth is that contaminants usually linger at the bottom of the room. Plus, if you pick the right size, it will cover the entire space and won’t bother your little one with the fan’s noise.
  • Create an enclosed environment – Shut the door so the fresh air released by the device doesn’t get contaminated by particles from outside.
  • Make replacing the filters a priority – Most HEPAs can last for up to 12 months, while charcoal filters usually need to be replaced every 3 months. Performing maintenance on time is the only way to make sure the unit performs at maximum capacity.
  • Ensure constant air purification – In order to be effective, the unit should run continuously. If you are looking to save energy, you can pick a model with an auto mode that can adjust the fan’s speeds depending on how polluted the air is.

Bottom Line

You can go for an advanced unit that offers multiple functions and smart modes or pick one that is more straightforward but effective. Nevertheless, no matter how evolved or smart the unit is, the most important thing is to be safe and efficient. Your little one will need the cleanest air in the world to develop strong lungs and grow into a healthy adult. And why not help a bit yourself? You can start by removing possible pollution sources from your house. Send the smokers outdoor and try to limit access to persons outside the family in the nursery, as they will bring with them all sorts of contaminants.

Lillian Davies
Lillian Davies
Lillian is a fresh college graduate who has lived in Tucson for most of her life, battling the torrid heat ever since she was a child. She is quite versed in the topic of thermal comfort and what solutions work to make conditions more bearable when the temperatures go haywire, which makes her knowledgeable in the topics she writes about here. Since she is a perfectionist, Lilian always takes time to polish her articles before release, which makes her an irreplaceable part of the team.

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