5 answers

When Should You Use a Vaporizer Versus a Humidifer?

My toddler has a cold. Should I put a vaporizer or humidifer in his room and why?

What can I do next?

More Answers


Hi, I am a mother of two who has fostered several children over the years. I am not a doctor but this question has come up often. From my experience a humidifier adds moisture to the air with a mist of water where as a vaporizer uses chemical dispersments in order to add the vapors from those chemicals to the air. I have heard that vicks or menthol are not good things for young ones lungs unless the doctor says to. I would be careful and definitely talk to a doctor. My 12 year old has grown out of her bloody noses but a humidifier helped keep moisture in the air so she could breath more clearly and my son (luckily) has no problems. My husbands mother fully recommends Vicks vapor rub but I am always hesitant when thinking about using unnatural chemicals.

Hope this helps. Have a good day.

L. P.

My son's peditrician has told me to use a cool mist humidifer when he gets colds in the winter. He has asthma and it really seems to help him. Hope your son feels better soon. :)

Do you mean cool mist vs. hot mist? Adding moisture to the room is what you want when a person has a cold because it helps the stuff drain rather than dry out and clog up their sinuses. A vaporizer is just a small humidifier that can be used to diffuse a scented oil or a vicks' type of treatment.

My doctor told me to only use a cool mist humidifier when in rooms with small children, toddlers, infants. This is because it will prevent them from getting burned accidentally. You still have to change the water every use and wash out the basin to prevent bacteria growth.

Many of the cool-air ones are pricey, but there is an inexpensive one out there that works well. I have noticed lately that there are some warm-mist ones that are designed for nurseries with special protective stuff as well, but I have been so happy with the one I have I just keep using it and I have had it for years. It is a Kaz brand, purchased at Target about 5 years ago for less than $10.

I'm not too sure . . . all I know is that I can't put any of those in my son's room, he has asthma.
I suggest you call your doctor and ask them.

Good luck.

I would use a cool mist vaporizer. The cool mist helps with the nasal congestion and you can direct it towards your child better that a humidifier. My son is asthmatic and gets croup on a yearly basis and this helps him especially at night.

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