Sleeping baby

Setting up a nursery for a baby is an exciting time in any new parent’s life.

As the delivery date fast approaches for your newborn, you’re undoubtedly stocking up on the major necessities for the room such as a crib, changing table, rocking chair, and decorations.

While all of those items are important to have in a baby room, there’s one question that pops up over and over again for many new parents, “Should I get an air purifier for my baby?”

If you’re wondering this same thing, then you’ve landed on the right page.

Below, we’ll answer the top questions people have about these devices including “Are air purifiers safe for babies?”, “What benefits do they provide for newborns?” and “How do you find the best air cleaner for an infant?”

To make things easy, we’ll start with a short answer so you know what’s ahead, then we’ll move onto a more detailed explanation.

By the end of this post, you’ll have everything you need to make the best decision possible for your growing family.

Are Air Purifiers Safe for Babies (and Newborns)?

The truth is that some air purifiers are safe babies and newborns while others are not. The safest forms of air purifiers for children use a True HEPA filter and an Activated Carbon Filter. Unsafe air purifiers use Ozone Generators and Ionizers – avoid those at all costs.

If you’d like to find the safest air purifier for your baby or newborn, check out our review of the best air purifiers for babies here.

See all of Amazon's Best Selling Air Purifiers

A More Detailed Answer

What Are the Benefits of an Air Purifier for Baby?

By comparison, both newborns and toddlers have a much smaller lung capacity than adults.

This smaller lung capacity means that children take in more air than adults and inhale more breaths each minute.

Typically, babies breathe 40 to 60 times per minute which is about twice the amount an adult breathes (18 to 20 times per minute).

Unfortunately, those breathing patterns can be bad news for your baby.

Most homes have allergens, bacteria, viruses, and mold spores floating around inside.

In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the air indoors is up to 5x more polluted than the outside.

How can that be?

Because, our homes are built to be airtight and once pollutants make their way in, they have no way to escape.

Sadly, baby nurseries and children’s rooms are often at a higher risk for pollution.

That’s because many of the items new parents bring into these rooms release hidden airborne contaminants.

If you bought new carpeting (or rugs), installed flooring, added furniture, or painted the infant’s room, it likely has a high level of Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs).

VOCs are invisible gases that are released slowly from paints, varnishes, pressed wood, carpet backing, adhesives, and more.

They’re also inside aerosol sprays and cleaners. Sometimes these VOCs take years to fully get released from a surface which makes certain nursery items even more harmful to your baby’s development and health.

The most significant benefit of an air purifier for a baby is that they help remove harmful pollutants from the room. Some people even opt for buying the best VOC air purifier in order to give their child the freshest air to breathe.

However, you don’t have to do that to keep your child completely safe from these toxins. As well as the unit has a good Activated Carbon filter, then you should be fine.

In total, the the best air purifier devices are excellent for removing:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Mold spores
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Smoke
  • Odor particles
  • and more

Benefits to your baby’s health include:

  • Fewer allergy symptoms (i.e. sneezing and coughing)
  • Fewer headaches
  • Fewer shifts in mood
  • More energy (pollutants can cause uncontrollable tiredness and fatigue)
  • Less risk of developing respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma
  • Lower chances of experiencing nervous system damage, organ damage, or cancer from long-term exposure to toxins
  • and more

As you can see, the answer to the question, “Are air purifiers safe for newborns?” is a resounding yes.

Air purifiers lead to an overall healthier environment for infants and help protect their vulnerable bodies from serious health effects.

What is the Safest Air Purifier for Babies?

Are air purifiers safe for babies

Now that you know how beneficial air purifiers can be for your baby, you may want to rush out and quickly buy one.

But don’t do that just yet!

The fact is that not all air purifiers are safe for newborns.

Only specific kinds of air purifiers will give you the peace of mind you’re looking for and if you choose the wrong one, it could actually harm your baby.

The two main features you want to look for in a safe air purifier for your baby include:

  • A True HEPA Filter
  • An Activated Carbon Filter

These two key filters have no harmful effects on your child and ensure that your air purifier gets rid of the majority of pollutants inside your nursery.

A True HEPA filter is capable of trapping tiny particles down to 0.3 microns.

That’s about 7x smaller than the thickness of a human hair.

It can also lock in 99.97% of particles that pass through this dense filter including dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, some bacteria, and more.

(You can learn more about what is a HEPA filter here.)

The Activated Carbon filter works to remove unpleasant odors along with Volatile Organic Compounds.

As these particles pass through the filter they get absorbed and locked in without any chance of escape.

As you can see, those two filters are crucial for keeping your baby safe from breathing in airborne contaminants.

You can’t just have one of these filters in your air purifier. You really need both.

(You can learn more about what is an Activated Carbon filter here.)

What Air Purifiers are Bad for Babies?

When you’re shopping for an air purifier for your baby, there are two types of technology you definitely want to avoid at all costs.

Not doing so could cause harm to your child.

Stay away from Ozone Generators.

These products emit ozone into the air which is known to cause all sorts of problems related to the respiratory system, eyes, and nasal passages. Even the best ozone generators are not good for adults to be around but rather used in commercial settings when people are not present.

Keep away from Ionic Air Purifiers.

While these machines are 100% safe for healthy adults to be around, they do emit some level of ozone as a byproduct when cleaning the air.

Babies should never be exposed to any amount of ozone since it could damage their respiratory system or organs.

Additionally, some air purifiers that use a True HEPA filter may include an “ionizer” or “ionizing” function to boost their air cleaning abilities. (You can learn more about how ionic air purifiers work here.)

If you find one that does, make sure that it has an on/off switch for the ionizer so you can keep it turned off around your infant. Or just buy an air purifier that doesn’t have this function.

You can view our ionic air purifier reviews page to see what brands and models are available so you know what to avoid.

How Do You Find the Best Air Purifier for Babies?

Now that you know the benefits of air purifier for baby and which types are safe for newborns, you’re probably curious to see what product options are available.

If you’d like to compare the top choices, you can check out our review of the best air purifiers for babies here.

Baby Air Purifier vs Humidifier

Many people wonder what the difference is between an air purifier vs humidifier for babies.

Should you use one or the other or both?

As you learned, an air purifier is designed to improve the quality of the air your infant breathes indoors.

It works by removing particles from the air like allergens, dust, mold spores, and bacteria that may adversely affect your baby.

A humidifier, on the other hand, does not impact the air quality at all. This machine will not reduce the number of pollutants in the air.

Instead, a humidifier is designed to increase the level of humidity (i.e. moisture) in the room.

Humidifiers work by adding moisture to the air so that it is less dry. Therefore, creating optimal breathing conditions for a baby.

Infants are often susceptible to congestion and a dry atmosphere can trigger irritations in different parts of the body such as the nose, mouth, and throat.

Essentially, both an air purifier and a humidifier are good for a baby’s room.

By operating both machines at the same time, you can create a better breathing environment indoors so that your infant feels better and sleeps more comfortably.

Summary – Are Air Purifiers Safe Babies?

The answer is yes. Here’s a recap of what you just learned:

  • Indoor air can be up to 5x more polluted than the air outside.
  • Your nursery’s air could be even more toxic if you’ve painted, added new furniture, placed carpeting or rugs, or added decorations.
  • All homes have some level or contaminants including dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, bacteria, viruses, smoke, Volatile Organic Compounds, and more.
  • The most effective and safest air purifier for babies uses a True HEPA Filter and an Activated Carbon Filter.
  • The worst air purifiers for infants include Ozone Generators and Ionizers because they can irritate or damage the respiratory system.

Now you know the answer to the question, “Are air purifiers safe for babies and newborns?”

Avatar for David Morrison

About David Morrison

David is an Air Quality & Comfort Technician. He has expert knowledge on the technology and design of air purification, air conditioning, and heating systems. His main role is to write content that helps people get the most value out of their air purifiers, air conditioners, and heating units. (See Full Bio)