Which UV sterilizer for babies is best?
Your baby’s immune system is growing as fast as they are, but it’s still new. That leaves them more vulnerable to germs that linger on things like their bottles or pacifiers. Experts recommend sterilizing these items at least once a day or before each use. One option to consider when buying a sterilizer is a UV sterilizer.
By far, the most highly-praised UV sterilizer is the Wabi Baby UV-C Sterilizer and Drying Station. With its large capacity and low-heat drying function, it’s an all-in-one sterilizer that will get your baby items as safe as they can be.
What to know before you buy a UV sterilizer for babies
UV sterilizers have quickly taken a lead in the market. With science-backed effectiveness, it’s no wonder parents are loving these high-tech sterilizers.
The secret to UV sterilizers is in the UV-C light. UV-C, ultraviolet light that has a 200-280 nanometer wavelength, has proved to be effective at killing germs at a molecular level. In a report by The Strategist, St. Louis-based physician Eric Lee explained UV sterilizers are shown to have the same impact on viruses and other germs as they have on bacteria: it obliterates them.
Microbiologist and senior editor at Big Think told The Strategist UV-C light kills germs through their high-frequency wavelength. It “scrambles and damages nuclear material,” he explained. As it does this, the DNA or RNA in the germs become damaged, leading to mutations that are both lethal and that keep the germs from reproducing.
The power of UV-C sterilization isn’t brand-new. Its effectiveness has been studied for the last several years. In a recent study by Duke Medicine, nine hospitals were examined in a randomized trial between 2012-2014. In the trial, researchers worked to compare three cleaning methods and how they affect the transmission of four of the most common drug-resistant viruses found in a hospital setting: MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), C. difficile and Acinetobacter.
Of the three methods they studied, which included standard hospital cleaning and sanitization practices, the researchers discovered the most effective strategy involved UV sanitization. By following the standard hospital cleaning practices already in place then following that with UV sanitization, they were able to kill the greatest percentages of the drug-resistant viruses.
As effective as UV sterilizers are, they only work if you develop a habit of using them. The CDC recommends sterilizing feeding items — things like bottles and nipples — at least once every day, especially during the first 3 months of your baby’s life. Pacifiers and teethers should be sanitized before each use for at least the first 6 months. After that, you should continue to hand wash them before each use, though sterilizing them is an even better practice.
When deciding on a bottle sterilizer or pacifier sterilizer for your baby, you’ll have plenty of options, including microwave steamers and electric steam sterilizers. But by choosing a UV sterilizer, you are giving your baby the greatest amount of protection against even the strongest of germs. As you look for a UV sterilizer, keep these things in mind.
First, identify what you primarily plan on using your UV sterilizer for. There are UV sterilizers small enough for a single pacifier and those that can handle your collection of bottles and then some. Are you planning on keeping the UV sterilizer at home or do you want it small enough to throw in your diaper bag? Will it be used for bottles, pacifiers, breast pump equipment or all of it?
The greater the capacity, the more use you’ll get out of your sterilizer. For an at-home sterilizer, you want one that can sterilize at least a few bottles and some pacifiers or teethers at once. This will reduce the number of times you have to run a cycle and keep a fresh supply of items available to you.
Another consideration is the physical size of your UV sterilizer. Some with larger capacities will take up a larger footprint on your countertop. Do you have the space to dedicate to a high-capacity UV sterilizer? And will you use it often enough to warrant the space it takes up?
Each UV sterilizer will have a different cycle length. With each, consider the following situation: it’s the middle of the night and you need a bottle but forgot to run a sterilizer cycle earlier. Your baby is hungry and crying. How long will they have to wait before a clean, sterilized bottle is available? And are you willing to stand by for that long?
What to look for in a quality UV sterilizer for babies
A UV sterilizer with a drying mode should allow you to place the bottles in the sterilizer immediately after washing them, rather than going through the process of letting them air dry first. Instead, the drying cycle will dry the bottles before using the UV-C light to sterilize them. It cuts down on the work you have to do and speeds up the whole process.
Long-life LED bulbs
When researching a UV sterilizer, check the lifetime of the LED bulbs. Typically they have a range between 2,000-10,000 hours. Consider how often you plan on using it. Most likely, if the LED bulbs have a life expectancy in that average range, you’ll be able to use your UV sterilizer for a few years before having to worry about changing out bulbs.
A good UV sterilizer should have a universal tank, meaning it isn’t designed for any specific item or brand. This will ensure it fits a variety of items besides bottles. It will open up the options to include breast pump accessories, pacifiers, teethers and even toys.
One of the issues with a low-quality UV sterilizer is the light may only come from one direction, meaning there will be areas that it misses, leaving the door open for germs to get comfortable. The best UV sterilizers have 360-degree sterilization where there is light coming from all directions to ensure a thorough sanitization.
How much you can expect to spend on a UV sterilizer for babies
You can get a basic UV sterilizer or a travel UV sterilizer for $20-$100. These usually won’t have a large capacity, nor the number of features you may want. For the best UV sterilizers, plan on spending $100-$300.
UV sterilizer for babies FAQ
Is UV-C light safe?
A. The UV-C light in a UV sterilizer for babies is safe to use as long as you aren’t using it on your exposed skin. For sterilizing items like bottles, toys and pacifiers, UV-C light is completely safe.
Is a UV-C sterilizer worth it?
A. There are several reasons to take the leap into buying a UV sterilizer for your baby. The primary reason is its effectiveness. With that, you’ll have an extra assurance your baby is protected from a dangerous illness. If you have a baby who was born prematurely or one with a compromised immune system, a UV sterilizer is definitely worth it. But for any baby, it’s a great investment.
What’s the best UV sterilizer for babies to buy?
Top UV sterilizer for babies
What you need to know: The standout favorite UV sterilizer, this high-capacity sterilizer can handle anything you put in it.
What you’ll love: Along with being able to hold as many as 11 bottles, this sterilizer takes only 30 minutes to run a full sterilization cycle. It promises to kill E. coli, Salmonella and Staph, among other germs.
What you should consider: If you plan on using the drying feature, it can take as long as 70 minutes to finish a cycle.
Top UV sterilizer for babies for the money
What you need to know: Big enough to handle a couple of items at a time but compact enough for travel, this is a great option if you still aren’t sure about investing in a larger unit.
What you’ll love: Using 21 UV-C lights, this sterilizer promises to kill 99.9% of germs. It includes a backup, rechargeable lithium-ion so you can take it on the go. It even folds up so it fits easily in a purse or diaper bag.
What you should consider: Like any UV sterilizer, it will kill the mold that causes mold and prevent its spread, but won’t remove existing mold growth.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Though this countertop UV sterilizer is on the smaller side, it’s fast and dependable.
What you’ll love: The best thing about this sterilizer is its speed. A sterilization cycle takes only 11 minutes. It also has a drying cycle and the reflective interior ensures 360-degree sanitization. And the universal tank means you aren’t limited to bottles.
What you should consider: Using the drying cycle will increase the wait time for the cycle to finish.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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