Guide to using the nasal aspirator

Alas, children’s noses are always in action. Whether we have a cold, suffer from allergies, or have a runny nose from teething. Having a blocked nose is one of the most common symptoms in young children , especially in those under three months. For this it is absolutely necessary to be able to clear the airways of mucus to allow normal breathing and the serenity necessary for a peaceful sleep. Both for the child and for the parents … But how do you get rid of excess mucus ? This is where nasal aspirators come into play , especially ideal on two occasions:

Nasal aspirator how to use it

Nasal aspirator for colds. In the event of a cold, the nasal aspirator allows children to always have their nose free, so they can rest well both day and night and not lose their appetite . By eliminating the annoyance of a stuffy nose, babies are also much calmer.

Nasal aspirator and otitis. An excess of mucus can even, with the passing of days, significantly worsen the health of children, causing more or less intense otitis to appear. Otitis is certainly worse than a common cold , as it involves pain and as children will necessarily have to use droplets in the ear, if not even take antibiotics. Preventing all this is possible simply with the use of the aspirator, so it is better to choose to use this tool from the first symptoms of a cold and stuffy nose .

But which is the best? And how do they work? Here is a small guide where you will find everything you need to know about nasal aspirators , how they work and what is the most correct and safe way to use them with your little brat!

Child with mucus in the nose

What is a nasal aspirator?

A nasal aspirator is a device that is used to suck mucus from a child’s nasal passages . It is indicated when nasal congestion is such that the child will have difficulty breathing, and consequently, eating and sleeping.

We all suffer from this disorder from time to time. But as adults, when we have a stuffy or blocked nose, we blow our nose and we easily fix the problem. But since children do not have this ability, and will actually acquire it only after many years of life, the mucus must be removed in another way .

What types of nasal aspirators are there?

If you are planning to buy a nasal aspirator to help your baby breathe better, you will find that there are several models on the market. Here are the main types:

Bulb or pump aspirator

Nasal aspirator with pump

This is perhaps the most classic device for sucking and removing your baby’s nasal secretions. It is made of rubber with a large ball on one end with a narrow, tapered opening on the other, it looks and works like a large dropper . It works by pressing the rubber bulb to release all the air inside. At this point you insert the tip of the aspirator into your baby’s nostril and slowly release the ball. The bulb will refill by sucking in air and, more importantly, secretions inside your baby’s nose. This is the cheapest option available on the market. But it also has some fundamental drawbacks: the inexpensive bulb vacuum cleaner was created to be essentially a disposable device. In the sense that bulb nasal aspirators are notoriously difficult to clean . Not all models open to facilitate cleaning, and if they are not washed and dried perfectly every time there is a risk of mold forming inside the bulb. So if you opt for this model it is absolutely essential that it is made up of two distinct parts so that it can be opened and cleaned easily. Another problem is that the pump tends to suck quite intenselyand violent, and this can be very frightening to children. After just one use it is therefore possible that you will no longer be able to approach your little one with this tool in your hand without him starting to cry desperately, scream and kick.

Mouth aspirator

This vacuum cleaner has also been very common on the market for some years. It is an elongated instrument that has a soft silicone spout at one end that must be inserted into the baby’s nostril. It is a very comfortable product, which does not cause discomfort to the little one and which cannot in any way lead to irritation or redness. Silicone is also hypoallergenic. Inside the spout there is also a sponge disk that allows you to better absorb the mucus. On the other side of the aspirator there is a small tube that the parent will put in his / her own mouth, sucking for a few moments and repeatedly.

Mouth nasal aspirator

Indeed it is an apparently disgusting procedure  but it must be considered that the secretion will be collected in the tube placed in the nose and the filter prevents secretions and germs from reaching the mouth of the sucker. It must also be considered that normally a parent is in any case already extensively in contact (alas) with all the secretions of his baby, especially in the first months. So nothing new on that front. Plus, moms assure that the nasal aspirator is the gentler and more efficient alternative to bulb syringes or electric aspirators.

The advantages are in fact innumerable. It is a product that is able to guarantee excellent performance , without in any way being aggressive on the delicate anatomy of the little one. In fact, the suction is controlled by the parent who can go at the pace he prefers and which is more comfortable for his child. Since this is a product with disposable spouts , it is true that there is an expense that must be met, but it is also true that in this way it is possible to avoid harming the baby with infections or irritations caused by any germs that you have not been able to eliminate perfectly with washing.

Despite this, we must admit that for some parents to suck, try to insert the nozzle into the nostril of the child, try to keep it quiet and still as much as possible can be really very difficult if not impossible.

Nasal aspirator to attach to the vacuum cleaner

A nasal aspirator very similar to the one with mouth aspiration has recently arrived on the market, which however requires the use of a vacuum cleaner instead of the parent. Yes, you got it right, your baby’s nose is sucked up by the vacuum cleaner at home thanks to the presence of a special adapter .

The advantage of using the nasal aspirator with vacuum cleaner is that it takes advantage of the constant suction that this appliance is able to guarantee. Obviously, however, this is a product that cannot be used with every type of vacuum cleaner currently available on the market. The use of the nasal aspirator for Kobold vacuum cleaner is usually recommended.

Electric vacuum cleaner

This is perhaps the best-selling aspirator today , as it is specially designed to greatly facilitate the removal of secretions. It certainly has a higher cost than any other type of vacuum cleaner, although the cost can fluctuate considerably depending on the model, ranging  from 25 to over 100 euros . Not only that, it is also a tool that includes disposable spouts, another expense that must therefore be incurred over time. Despite this, it is very quick to eliminate excess mucus, it is simple to use and also suitable for those who have children who move a lot and who need to be reassured.

Electric nasal aspirator

Also in this case there is a nozzle to be inserted into the child’s nostril, only the parent is not there to suck with the mouth: just press a button and the aspirator will do everything automatically .

It is available both with battery and with batteries. The battery-powered nasal aspirator is certainly the best choice : the battery is recharged from the mains in a very short time, for an aspirator that is always ready for use. The battery-powered nasal aspirator, however, can be very useful when traveling or if you usually go out of the house often with the children even just for an afternoon: you will have it available even if you find yourself in places without a power outlet. like the beach or a forest.

Whatever type of vacuum cleaner you decide to buy, it is essential that during the purchase phase you make sure that the device is CE marked and has been made with safe plastics, therefore free of toxic substances for the child and for the parents. In particular, one should be sure that there are no phthalates in the composition of the plastic, because they can come into contact with the very delicate nose of the child and can be harmful. It is also important to choose a safe model that comes with clearly written instructions in Italiano in the preferred language, which proves to have obtained the correct certifications and to have passed the strict controls imposed by the European Union on devices. Spending less to buy an unsafe baby nasal aspirator is not a good idea, because it could be risky for your baby’s health and also because it could be dangerous systems that don’t last long.

See which is the best electric nasal aspirator and read our review.

How do i use a nasal aspirator?

The correct use of the vacuum cleaner obviously depends on the type of vacuum cleaner used and in the description of the various types we have briefly illustrated the correct use of each of them. Of course it is always a good idea to read and carefully follow the instructions contained in the packaging of the specific model you have bought. However, there are some tricks that can help you :

how to use the nasal aspirator

Nasal aspirator and physiological solution

To make the suction better and to avoid irritation in the case of a very frequent use of this product, it is recommended to use the physiological solution at the same time. All you have to do is insert a little physiological solution into the baby’s nostril before proceeding to aspiration, which will be even easier in this way since the solution will make the mucus more fluid allowing it to detach without difficulty from the walls of the nose of the your child.

Nasal aspirator: how many months can it be used?

This is a question all parents ask themselves because the mucus suction operation can seem a little too invasive, especially on very young babies. We can assure you that using the nasal aspirator from the moment they are born is the best choice you can make for your babies. In fact, most aspirators have the 0+ mark precisely because they are considered very useful and completely harmless from the first day of life.

Up to what age?

There is no age limit within which it is advisable to stop using the nasal aspirator for infants. It is a product that has no contraindications and is therefore suitable for everyone, infants as well as older children. Not only that, it can even be used by adults , in case they feel they are unable to free their nose at their best.

Nasal aspirator for babies, children, adults

How many times a day?

As we have already mentioned, there are no contraindications to the nasal aspirator for children. Precisely for this reason it is possible to use this product whenever there is a need, even therefore countless times a day.

Although there are no particular contraindications, excessive use could still lead to irritation of the mucous membranes . To avoid these possible damages from nasal aspirator of this type it is therefore good to try to use the physiological solution and to reduce the number of uses to about 4 per day: close to breakfast, lunch and dinner and close to bedtime so to allow the child to eat and rest at best.

Can the nasal aspirator be used while the baby is sleeping?

We do not recommend using the nasal aspirator while the child is sleeping , not because there are particular contraindications, but because you would certainly wake him up in a not very sweet way making him nervous, making him cry and scream. In the end, therefore, you would not get the desired result anyway.

Is it dangerous for the baby?

Child rubbing nose after mucus aspiration

Most babies fidget and cry when using a nasal aspirator as it is uncomfortable and can hurt a little. But there is no doubt about its effectiveness and if used correctly and without overdoing it, the nasal aspirator will surely not harm the baby . But there are some tricks and considerations to always keep in mind:

Nasal aspirator and blood

This is a combination that must absolutely be avoided: if you see blood, it is better to stop using it because it means that your baby’s mucous membranes are particularly sensitive and are intensely irritated. Obviously, in this case, we recommend that you refer to your trusted pediatrician who will surely be able to give you all the information to help your little one even without the nasal aspirator.

Nasal damage

The fabric that lines your baby’s nose is extremely thin and delicate . Pushing the bulb syringe too far or being too aggressive with the suction can cause nose bleeds, due to tiny tears in the tissue. The damage can be mildly painful for your little one and can also make aspiration difficult in the future – you may continue to open a still-to-heal wound each time you use the syringe. It is advisable to always carefully check the instructions of your type of aspirator and to prefer models that clearly indicate how far to insert the syringe or the nozzle into the nostril.


If you use the aspirator too often, you may experience swelling of the membrane inside the nostrils . It is therefore good to try to use the aspirator only when it is really necessary and also advises to increase the effectiveness of each aspiration by having it preceded by a nice warm bath that will help loosen the mucous membranes so that you need fewer aspirations to free the passage nasal of the child.


If you have more than one child, and you use the same aspirator, you may be spreading germs when you use an unhygienic pump syringe. The mucus contains germs that can live on the hard surface of the syringe for up to 48 hours . After each use of the bulb syringe, it is absolutely necessary to soak it for a few minutes in warm soapy water, sucking the soapy water into it several times. Then rinse and let it dry completely before the next cycle to avoid mold growth. This ensures that one child’s germs are not passed on to another.


When using a bulb syringe, always squeeze out the air BEFORE putting the end into the baby’s nose . Never squeeze air into the nasal cavity as it can cause harm and harm the baby.

Saline drops

If you are using saline drops to help thin the mucus, never use them for more than four consecutive days as they can dry out the nasal passages and cause them to become inflamed. It also uses only salt products made especially for children, not the adult versions.

nasal treatment with physiological saline solution
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