The Best Nasal Aspirator for your Baby
This article will discuss the pros and cons of various types of nasal aspirators and ultimately lead you to choose the best nasal aspirator for your baby.
Parents are in distress when they see their child struggling to breathe especially when they are congested because of a cold or infection. In average, babies less than 2 years old do not know how to blow their noses. It is a learned behavior and there is a wide degree in ages to when babies can perform this action. In the meantime there are quite a few nasal aspirators in the market. Aspirators basically can be grouped into three categories.
1. Bulb syringes are the most common type of nasal aspirators used in the United States for babies. It is used in many U.S. hospitals. However, a common misconception is that many parents feel that mechanically operated bulb syringes are the best choice since doctors use them. This is not true. Many hospitals use them because they can acquire them at a cheap price and that it serves its purpose of clearing the airways from the fluids in the mother’s womb. Also, this is meant to be a “use once and throw away” disposable item. Unfortunately, many consumers associate the bulb type as the best option.
In the hospital perspective, if it is not broken, no need to fix it. Also it is economical for the hospital to use this device and moreover it serves its purpose in clearing the airways from amniotic fluid which is less viscous than thicker mucus seen in some infections. It is nearly impossible to clean and there is no way to confirm whether all the mucus that has been suctioned in is cleaned out. Furthermore it is almost impossible to air dry the insides of the bulb. After the bulb is used for some time, it will harbor bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold. This is a health hazard and parents should be aware of this.
Another problem with the bulb syringe method is that the tip of the bulb must be inserted in the nostril a number of times because the volume of suction in the bulb is small. This can cause great irritation to the inner lining of the nose. The inner nose is quite sensitive – especially the portion covering the nasal septum. Thus nosebleeds are more likely to occur. This method is the most inefficient and should not be a re-used item.
PROS: Inexpensive, use for thin mucous secretions
CONS: Bulb if reused can harbor bacteria, viruses and fungi; it is nearly impossible to clean and sterilize, can irritate the inner nose through repeated use, weakest suction, use once and throw away
2. Electric powered “consumer” nasal aspirators appears to be the top of the line choice because it is the most expensive – not true. Some parents also feel that it will protect them from catching the baby’s cold in comparison to human suction devices. However, microscopic droplets from the baby’s nose can travel to the pump mechanism and cause contamination. Bacteria, viruses and fungi in the pump mechanism is a source of a health hazard. It is impossible to clean the pump device in exception to cleaning the suction reservoir. This can correlate to the breast milk pump article citing the safetiness of used breast milk pumps. The suction power of most if not all of the consumer brands are weak at best.
[Exception] There is another item Baby-Vac which uses the power suction of the vacuum cleaner – the suction may be strong but it first of all needs a vacuum cleaner which is cumbersome to take out and very noisy. The strength of suction is determined by the power of the vacuum cleaner. The suction may very well be too strong.
PROS: Risk of catching the baby’s cold is low, no need for human suction which can cause dizziness for some people
CONS: Expensive, suction is weak in consumer products and is useful mainly for very thin secretions
3. Nasal Aspirators powered by human suction depending on the design have a strong suction power (dependent on the user) and it’s ability to control the amount of suction is a plus. However, they do have the highest possibility of catching the cold of the infant because of the direct nose to air to mouth route. Some of the nasal aspirators are poorly designed and difficult to clean and use. Others have proprietary filters which claim to help prevent infection to the user but overall add to the cost of usage.
PROS: Strength of suction can be controlled by the mouth (dependent on user),
CONS: It is possible for the user to catch the same cold from the baby
Each category has their top performing aspirators but what is the best nasal aspirator for your baby? Out of all types of nasal aspirators, HappyBabyUSA is currently recommending BabyComfyNose or Nosefrida as the best choice for your baby. Here are just some of the reasons: the design is excellent so that no liquid can be suctioned up to the mouth when properly positioned, the suction power is very strong and controlled (dependent on the user), the tip is not invasive, the aspirator is very easy to clean and finally, it just works well. (re-edited 2/2014)