Our natural instinct as parents is to shield our little ones from the potential “unknown” effects of electronic appliances. Even the machines in the hospital, which are present during and after labor, can seem a tad threatening.
This phobia has a tendency to extend to our homes, including cell phones, gadgets, and virtually anything with a plug.
Air purifiers are somewhat mysterious, almost magical machines that capture things right out of the air that are often too small for us to even see with the naked eye. As adults, we’re generally okay with this. But, as parents, we have questions - lots of them - and we need answers.
How do air purifiers work?, why do they work?, what are the pros and cons?, and should I buy one? These are just a few of the smaller curiosities that lead us to the bigger question.
The big question of whether or not you should use an air purifier. There’s a lot to understanding this question though, so let’s dive right in to cover some of the more obvious ones:
Is an air purifier really necessary?
Do you live in a polluted city? Many large cities these days have very high levels of sulfur, carbon monoxide and lead.
You may think that by never opening the windows will be enough to keep most out, but sadly this is not the case. As the particulate of these harmful gasses are so tiny, they can always find a way inside your home. Whilst your adult lungs are able to filter a lot of these carcinogenic substances, your babies lungs are not. The linings inside their tiny lungs have not yet built up a defense against these harmful gasses and not as able to defend themselves against this everyday battle that comes with living in the city.
The other main reason you might see an air purifier in the nursery as a necessity: Allergies.
If your baby is already showing symptoms of allergies or you have a family history of allergic reactions to the usual culprets in the house like dust, mold and pet dander – then you may not have much of a choice in the matter.
Will an air purifier help in both of these cases? Yes, absolutely.
So why wouldn't you want an air purifier in the nursery?
Your Baby Needs to Sleep - Noise is Bad
Even people who aren’t parents themselves can probably guess that loud noises that disturb your baby’s sleep can lead to an unhappy, and unhealthy baby.
Whilst some machines in the bedroom can create quite a loud noise, air purifiers on the other hand are relatively quiet on lower settings. Any sound it does emit, can certainly be classified as white noise, which has been scientifically proven to aid sleep.
The noise, if any, produced by your air purifier is negligible, and unlikely to disturb your baby’s resting time. What’s more important is that your little one is breathing cleaner, safer air.
Am I Introducing Harmful By products Into My Baby’s Nursery?
While they come in a variety of configurations, air purifiers usually have some combination of pre-filter (for the bigger things such as pollen, dust mites, dander and other airborne particles), a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) that captures the smaller particles (down to 0.3 micrometers or more), and activated carbon for potential chemical irritants.
These features make some air purifiers effective at removing 99.97% or more of the stuff you don’t want to breathe. Without them, it’s been estimated by the EPA that the air inside of your home can be two to five times as polluted as the air you’re trying to protect your baby from outside.
As these intriguing appliances work quietly to clean your air, most of what’s actually happening inside is the result of fans sucking in air through - and then pushing the air across - a series of filters. There’s nothing inherently dangerous about the process.
But, you’ve likely read about some air purifiers that produce ozone as a byproduct, and how this can cause irritation to the lungs. Depending entirely on the purifier, the ozone levels it produces can be considered “normal,” within the safe range, or might actually be harmful. If you’ve opted for an ozone-generating air purifier, check with the manufacturer to determine how much it produces, allowing you to make an informed decision.
To Develop Immunity, Your Baby Needs Exposure
Our bodies are very sensitive, capable of detecting, and responding to, even the smallest levels of exposure to molds, viruses, bacteria and other airborne irritants.
No air purifier on the market is going to rid your home, 100%, of irritants. This means that your baby will still have the necessary exposure needed to build a vibrant immune system. Cleaner air is better, period.
Keeping the air purified in the nursery allows your baby to sleep well, grow healthy, face less bombardment from irritants and pathogens, and recover faster. When you take them outdoors, they’ll encounter a wide array of airborne particles - your home should be a safe haven with life-giving, purified air.Protecting your home by making it as allergen-free as possible, using natural cleaners instead of chemicals, and cleaning the air with a purifier helps your baby.