Vicks VapoRub For Babies – Is It Safe?

5 min read

Written by Ambili Kartha

Ambili Kartha

Vicks VapoRub For Babies - Is It Safe_

Vicks VapoRub is a common ointment available in every household. But, when it comes to applying it to babies, you may have questions about whether it is safe for them. The answer is ‘NO’. Vicks VapoRub for babies is not an appropriate option to relieve them of a cough or nasal blockage. The instructions on the label of Vicks VapoRub clearly state that it is not safe to use on children under 2. But, still, some people use it on babies’ feet to provide some relief to babies with coughs and congestion.

A pharmacist in 1890 invented Vicks VapoRub. The original name was Vick’s Coup and Pneumonia Salve’. It contains camphor, which is dangerous for babies under the age of two. But, for infants, an innovative product launched in the market called Baby Rub claims to be a cough suppressant and is mild, unlike VapoRub. It also helps to soothe a fussy baby. It contains no active ingredients and comes with fragrances of rosemary and lavender. After a baby is three months old, you can use it on the neck, chest, or sore limbs.

In This Article

Is Vicks VapoRub Safe For A Baby?

Vicks is not safe for infants. Vicks VapoRub can work effectively only for children older than two years. According to a study published in the journal Chest, some babies may experience respiratory problems from using VapoRub under the nose. Because it can act as an irritant for babies by producing more mucus in the airway. Infants have narrower airways than adults. Thus, any increase in mucus will make the airways narrower. It can lead to nasal congestion.

If your baby is under age 2, consult your pediatrician about alternative ways to treat cough and congestion. You can use Vicks Baby Rub to comfort your baby from uneasiness due to congestion after consulting the doctor.

How To Use Vicks Baby Rub?

How To Use Vicks Baby Rub_

It could be tough for you to watch your baby fuss, be unable to sleep, and be overtired. As parents, you would want to provide comforting massages to soothe your baby. But the concern may be which ointment to use to maintain the baby’s hydrated and velvety soft skin. Skin experts have thus developed Baby Rub, a non-medicated product. It moisturizes, soothes, and gives comfort to your baby. It is suitable for babies below two years and above three months old. You can gently massage Vicks BabyRub on your baby’s chest, back, feet, and upper arm to make him or her sleep better.

Does Vicks VapoRub/Baby Rub Work For Babies?

Vicks VapoRub/Baby Rub acts as a decongestant indirectly, which helps soothe and relax a baby from the discomfort caused by nasal congestion. However, it does not cure nasal blockages or coughs.  Babies with chronic cough and cold symptoms should visit a doctor for proper medication.

Vicks does not claim that Vicks Baby Rub Soothing Ointment will treat the cough and cold of babies and help with better breathing. They just ask you to apply it to your baby to provide some temporary comfort and relief.

What Are The Benefits Of Vicks For A Baby?

What Are The Benefits Of Vicks For A Baby_

Vicks Baby Rub is ideal for three months and older babies. It contains mild ingredients like rosemary and lavender and helps with the following:

  1. May help a restless baby relax and calm down.
  2. Maintains the natural softness of the skin.
  3. May help a sleep-deprived baby fall asleep in peace.
  4. May relax nasal congestion

Baby Rub is a relief for all moms, as they can watch their little ones sleep comfortably.

Precautions To Take While Using Vicks VapoRub And Baby Rub 

Topical ointments like Vicks VapoRub and Baby Rub include menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oil among their ingredients. Following are some precautions to take while using Vicks VapoRub and Baby Rub:

  1. Vicks is an ointment applied directly to the skin. But you should be careful while using both Vicks Baby Rub and VapoRub for babies.
  2. Do not apply Vicks rubs (VapoRub and Baby Rub ) on the face, in the eyes, or in the nostrils. It can cause respiratory problems and irritation in the eyes.
  3. If a baby is under two, then the application of VapoRub to him or her may be dangerous. So, do not apply VapoRub to a baby under two.
  4. Seek advice from your doctor before you apply the baby rub to your baby.
  5. In cases of itching, redness, or swelling, consult your pediatrician.
  6. Do not apply it to the wounds.
  7. Do not heat, microwave, or add the rubs to the boiling water. It may burn the skin.
  8. Check first if the products are causing any allergies in your baby by applying a little on the hand.
  9. Vicks rubs are not for internal use. It can be toxic to babies if swallowed.

Alternatives To Vicks VapoRub/Baby Rub For Babies

Alternatives To Vicks VapoRub_Baby Rub For Babies

Some alternatives you can use for babies instead of applying Vicks Rubs (VapoRub/Baby Rub)  are as follows:

  1. Saline nasal drop: Medicated nasal drops are the best option to treat congestion in babies. They are safe to use and make breathing easy for babies. Moreover, they loosen mucus.
  2. Humidifier: A cool-mist humidifier helps to keep the room cool and maintain humidity levels. It reduces congestion in babies. Keep the humidifier clean to avoid the growth of germs in it.
  3. Vaporizer: Steam or vaporizer helps treat congestion and open up the airways.
  4. Warm Bath: Warm baths can also help cure congestion and provide comfort to babies.
  5. Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding during congestion can soothe babies from dryness and sore throats.
  6. Suction bulb: It helps to clear congestion and comfort babies with sinuses.


The safety of using Vicks VapoRub for babies is debatable. Vicks Baby Rub is a milder version of Vicks Rub for babies over three months of age. Vicks VapoRub contains camphor, which may be harmful to use on a baby’s skin. The skin may absorb camphor and get inside the body. The other alternatives to using Vicks Baby Rub/VapoRub are a saline nasal spray, a warm bath, a cool-mist humidifier, a vaporizer or steam, breastfeeding, etc. They will help to clear the congestion and comfort the babies.

It is best to consult a pediatrician before using any over-the-counter medicine or home remedies.  Consultation with your pediatrician will guide you on the most effective and harmless methods to treat your baby’s cough. The baby will get relief with the proper guidance and doctor’s care.


1. How Many Times Can I Apply Vicks Baby Rub?

 You may apply Vicks Baby Rub as needed. But, consult your doctor before applying the ointment on your baby.

2. Where Should I Rub Baby Vicks?

Rub baby Vicks gently on the neck and chest of your baby. You can also apply it on the stomach to moisturize, comfort, and soothe your baby.

3. When Can I Start Using Vicks  VapoRub On A Baby? 

You can use it on children over two years. However, you can use a similar rub – ‘Baby Rub’ mild for babies under two. You can start using it once a baby is three months old but only after talking to your pediatrician.

Reference links:

Ambili Kartha,B. Sc Zoology (St Xavier’s college for women)

Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.