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Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier

| Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier

The claim: Humidifiers help counteract the effects of harsh, dry air, and can bring temporary relief to kids' irritated noses, flaky skin and chapped lips. The Vicks Starry Night Cool Moisture Humidifier is an ideal year-round addition to any nursery or child's bedroom, providing temporary relief to congestion, cold and cough symptoms. It doubles as a night light with a built-in, independently controlled projector that depicts a glowing night's sky on walls and ceiling, helping lull kids to sleep.

Cost: $55

Where: Babies”R”us and BabiesRus.com

I am something of an expert on cool-mist humidifiers. We've been running one in my daughter's bedroom since she was 3 (she's 11 now). We've been through quite a few in that time. The beauty of the Vick's Starry Night Humidifier are the lights it projects on the ceiling.

My daughter loved the rotating color projections, although I would have found the changing colors with varying degrees of brightness somewhat distracting when falling asleep. The water container had a convenient carrying handle for when you have to refill, and the water-refill cap was easy to open.

The biggest downside with this humidifier was the large filter it uses. I've found over the years that the filters have to be changed quite often or they will develop mold, which can be pretty gross. Because of this, I prefer filterless humidifiers, or ones that don't sit right down in the water like this one.

— Sue Jones

When my kids were small, vaporizers meant taking precautions against hot steam. The cool-mist variety are terrific, sending invisible relief into the air.

Yes, they're marketed to care for kids. But, as an adult, I must argue for comfort against all the colds and congestion I've dealt with this season. Just because I'm no longer adorable when I sleep doesn't mean I don't count anymore!

I appreciate the humidifier's built-in scent-pad heater that works with Vicks Soothing Vapors VapoPads. The original Vicks menthol scent — it comes in Sleepy Time lavender and rosemary scents, as well — was an aromatherapy trip down memory lane. It helps clear the sinuses and provides all the psychological contentment of a warm hug.

This humidifier offers two speeds. High is a bit noisy — I use that to get things started, then switch to the quiet slow speed when it's time to drift off to the land of nod.

The rotating colors of the Starry Nights component is lovely on the ceiling and makes a great night light for the sickroom. You might even say it adds an air of romance, but those thoughts quickly disperse with an attack of sneezing and nose-blowing.

— Sally Quinn

When I tried the Vicks humidifier, I happened to have a couple of sick kids in the house. I normally run a vaporizer throughout winter, and the major advantage of the Starry Night Humidifier over my cheaper Vicks version is the volume of water it holds. It lasted well over a day of constant running without needing to be refilled.

The unit is a little loud on the high setting, but my kids slept through it just fine. The machine outputs a lot of moisture, and I needed a blanket to stay warm; it can chill a room that much. The substantial filter included in the basin eased my usual concerns about contaminants in the mist. The night-light feature was charming and much more than I expected. My family really enjoyed the changing colors and patterns projected on the ceiling.

While the humidifier didn't cure any colds, I do think it helped with the symptoms.

— Chrissy Zirngibl

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