(Last Updated On: March 24, 2023)

Parents want to do everything possible to ensure their baby is safe and healthy. This includes child-proofing items, avoiding products with unsafe components, and even filtering allergens and chemicals out of the air that they breathe.

Air Purifiers Can Help Remove Allergens and Irritants

While some parents use air purifiers as a preventative measure, others have babies already suffering from some respiratory issues. In either case, an air purifier can help improve the quality of the air your child breathes by filtering out airborne allergens and irritants from the air.

What Type of Air Purifier is Recommended?

Use an Air Purifier with a HEPA Filter
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published many reports declaring that the air in our homes is two to five times as polluted as outdoor air. The most common sources of pollutants in the home will be dust, dust mites, pollen, and mold spores. If you have pets, pet dander can also be present in the air.
Regardless of what you have in your home, an air purifier with a high performance HEPA filter is going to be ideal for a baby’s room or nursery. Never use an Ozone generator or Ozone air purifier. Ozone is extremely irritating to the eyes and skin, and can be especially harmful for a new baby.

Add Activated Carbon for Chemical Concerns
Laundry detergent, cleaning products, dish soaps, air fresheners, even building materials all seem to produce irritating smells or off-gas toxic chemicals. While these are not healthy for an adult to breathe, a baby is even more susceptible. These toxic irritants can make it difficult for babies to breathe and do long-lasting damage to their developing lungs. A baby cannot easily communicate when their crying is due to their eyes, nose, or lungs being irritated. If your home is full of potential chemical or odor irritants, use an air purifier with a HEPA filter along with activated carbon in order to filter out potential chemical irritants.

Reduce Smells and Diaper Odors
Dirty diapers and other odors are an unavoidable part of having a baby. If you’ve got a clean and chemical free environment, but you’re dealing with smells from a diaper pale, an air purifier with odor neutralizers can help freshen the air while also keeping the air free of allergens.

Safety, Safety, Safety
As we mentioned above, safety is of paramount importance so we want to address some of the specific safety questions we tend to see regarding air purifiers.

Are Air Purifiers Safe to Use for a Baby?

The right air purifiers are absolutely safe to use for babies of all ages. When it comes down to it, an air purifier is just a fan + a filter. Think of a high powered tower fan combined with a high-performance version of your HVAC filter. You likely already have both of these in your home. Combining them into a single unit makes them more effective at allergen removal and does not alter their safety. Now, there can be additional aspects of an air purifier that have the potential to cause irritation for your child. Read on to see which parts are safe and which ones you might want to avoid.

Are HEPA Air Filters Safe?

HEPA filters are pretty mundane. They are often paper or fiberglass based and do not contain anything that could cause irritation or reactions by those with high sensitivities.

What About UV Air Purifiers? Are Those Safe?
While UV lights that are fully contained within an air purifier are completely safe, we do not recommend air purifiers with UV lights. This is not because of a safety issue, but because UV lights inside of air purifiers are rarely effective at performing as advertised. If you are concerned about killing captured germs and bacteria, then use a purifier with an antibacterial filter.

Absolutely Avoid Ozone Generating Air Purifiers
We’ve said this earlier but we’ll say it again. If it produces Ozone, it is not an air purifier, it is an ozone generator and Ozone is highly irritating and not recommended for adults or babies.

Concerns About Being Too Clean
Some parents worry that if their baby’s rooms are too clean, the babies will not develop natural immunities required for general health. When it comes to airborne particles, such as pollen, think about how much pollen you have to encounter in order to have an allergic reaction. Usually, only a few grains are sufficient for your body’s immune system to become familiarized with these irritants and produce a reaction to them. The same goes for bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses such as colds. Your baby will undoubtedly be exposed to all sorts of allergens in the air both in their home and outdoors. It is impossible to turn their nursery into a medical grade clean room with the use of a room air purifier.

Purifiers will significantly reduce, but not completely eliminate all allergens. However, a room air purifier will significantly reduce the volume of irritants that they have to encounter and breathe at all hours of the night or when they are sleeping. In addition, if your baby is already having breathing difficulties caused by airborne irritants, reducing their exposure to these irritants will help their systems, but it will not 100% eliminate their exposure.

Ultimately, a clean indoor environment and a baby’s immune system are inextricably linked. It is crucial, especially during sleeping hours, that a baby breathes clean air so that its lungs and immune system have time to rest and rejuvenate.

Smoking is an Absolute NO
Additional Steps To Improve Your Child’s Air Quality, Health, & Safety. This should go without saying, but please please please prevent family and friends from smoking inside of a home where a baby is present. If you’re looking into air purifiers to improve air quality, we doubt you’re the offender here, but please take steps to ensure others are not smoking nearby either. Babies, especially premature ones, have lungs that are not well-developed and they are extremely susceptible to airborne irritants and chemicals in cigarette smoke. Even healthy babies’ lungs may have weak underdeveloped muscles, and their breathing systems may not be completely developed or operating fully.

Absolutely use an Air Purifier if Someone in the Family Smokes
If there happens to be someone smoking in the household, whether indoors, or even out on the back porch and then returning back inside, then you absolutely need to add a high performance air purifier for smoke to the baby’s nursery, or the living space in which they spend the most time. An air purifier for smoke will include a lot of activated carbon to remove the airborne ash and also to absorb the irritating chemicals. It is ideal to keep this unit running 24/7.