When a baby or small child is unable to breathe properly because of a stuffy nose, a nasal aspirator (nose vacuum, snot sucker ...) can be very helpful in removing the mucus and other fluids or even objects from the nostrils. Since the mucus can be thick and sticky, it might be difficult for a baby or small child to expel it from the nostrils.
Types of Nasal Aspirators
Nasal aspirators clean nostrils using vacuum (hence - 'nose vacuum cleaner') to remove secretion products or even foreign objects.
Most common types are battery operated nasal aspirators which operate like small handheld cordless vacuum cleaners.
They are mostly powered using a pair of AA or 18650 batteries, they are designed for one-hand operation and when used as recommended, they are safe.
When in use, battery operated aspirators require just few seconds to clean individual nostrils, so the battery life is rarely limited by their capacity. Good AA batteries can last for years, even with plenty of running noses around :)
It is very important that the unit comes with soft (silicone) tips which create good seal and are gently to baby's nose. Also, mucus cup should be transparent and easy to detach and clean under hot running water.
Bulb Syringe nasal aspirators are cheap and reliable aspirators, but are not as convenient as battery operated models. Also, such aspirators are harder to clean from within due to small and narrow tips.
Nonetheless, they are one-hand units which create no noise of any kind and can be used to clean baby's nose while the baby sleeps. Or at least, it will not alarm the baby with the sound of the running motor.
Nasal aspirators can use suction produced by parents to clean the baby's nostrils. One end of the aspirator's tube is positioned in or on the baby's nose/nostril, while the parent create suction. Suction level is easy to control according to the situation. Transparent tube and collection cup let the parent observe the cleaning process, while filter prevents any bacteria entering the inner tubing and parent's mouth and lungs.
There are similar nasal aspirators which use the suction of the common vacuum cleaner with special adapters. They can create really large suction, but one must be extra careful to keep the baby safe.
Also, noise from vacuum cleaner can alarm the baby and make cleaning process more difficult.
Recommended Nasal Aspirator Type
This is highly individual, but personally, battery powered or parent powered (Nosefrida Snotsucker!) aspirators are, IMHO, the best choice.
Bulb syringe is easy to use, it is quiet, but it is hard to clean.
Vacuum powered nasal aspirators are as laud as the used vacuum and can alarm the baby.
Note: regardless of you choice, be sure to read the manual and consult the pediatrician.
If you or your family have chronic respiratory issues, be sure to check these articles, too: