Pickle, our 4-5-year-old daughter, gets recurrent croup. She’s gotten it dozens of times since she turned one, so we’ve sort of done it all. We’ve stood her in front of the freezer during coughing fits, we’ve stood in a steamy bathroom, we’ve inclined her bed, we’ve done countless rounds of oral steroids and a nebulizer. All of them have worked in varying degrees to help stem her symptoms after the croup has already started – and it usually starts any time she gets a cold with any sign of a cough. Per our pediatrician and pulmonologist’s recommendations, we have also utilized a cool-mist humidifier. We have used it both before symptoms showed up and after the croup has begun in hopes of either preventing or shortening the duration of the illness – studies have shown that cool mist is best for this.
The first time Pickle got croup, we went to Wal-Mart and got the first cool-mist humidifier we saw. We landed on the Safety 1st Ultrasonic Humidifier. Ours is a little older model than this one, it ran about $25: LINK We liked that it was ultrasonic, so there was no expensive filter to change – so, even though it was sorta plain and ugly, we figured it was worth it. It was also pretty quiet, which was nice. We used it for about a week when we first noticed that it started leaking. By leaking, I mean it was leaking everywhere from the base, not just some condensation from the spout. In addition to this electrocution hazard, we also were disturbed that the auto shut-off didn’t work on ours when it ran out of water – I usually would have to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off, rather than risk it overheating. We continued to use it, but it wasn’t a great solution.
I started doing a lot more research when searching for a new humidifier, as I wanted to get something that would work better and be safer. I read time and time again about how Crane (www.crane-usa.com) had the best value for their humidifiers. I was recently lucky enough to get to try out a Crane Drop Shape Humidifier in orchid and white (LINK):
It is adorable, and the pink and white go just perfectly with Pickle’s pink-and-brown bedroom. However, there are a ton of other colors – prices range from about $40 at retailers like Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart, up to about $55 for the harder-to-find colors. They are ultra-sleek and modern, and very appealing to my girly-girl. However, if you have a wee one who wants something a little more traditionally “cute,” check out their Adorable Animals line of humidifiers for the cutest elephants, monkeys, frogs, and more to ever help your children breathe easier.
As it happened, Pickle just happened to come down with a cold within days of when we got the humidifier. (Lousy Midwest weather.) As I mentioned before, her colds almost always evolve into croup. That weekend, we had birthday parties, soccer practice, meetings, and more – the poor girl just didn’t have the time to be down-and-out with respiratory issues.
We got the Crane humidifier out, and set it up in her room. First of all, it looks adorable – a vast improvement over the previous humidifier we had. Although it’s incredibly simple to set up, I recommend following the directions in order to get the best results from your humidifier. We set it up about three feet off of the ground in order to get the best circulation of air. Per the directions, we also adjusted the spray so as not to accumulate water at the base – although we put it on a waterproof surface, we really didn’t need to. There was no leaking or water accumulation – again, we were well ahead of the Safety 1st model we’d used previously. It was quiet as a mouse, and it wasn’t big and oppressive in her room.
One of my favorite features is that the auto shut-off actually worked – I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night and ninja off the humidifier without waking my daughter. If I hadn’t read the directions, it might have confused me a little bit that the light remained on to indicate that the unit was still receiving power. The functioning auto shut-off was another big win for me over the previous humidifier!
One more thing I’d like to note from the instruction manual and the Crane website – no medications are to be used in the unit. This includes essential oils, if you’re an “oily” house. There are hacks on YouTube and blogs on how to add oils to the Crane humidifier, but it is not manufactured for use with them and is strongly discouraged.
So… after all of this, I’m sure you’re wondering if starting the Crane humidifier at the onset of Pickle’s cold kept away from the croup. Well, take a look at this face from that birthday party I mentioned – could a girl with a restricted airway work a trumpet with this much style?