Can I Give My Baby Vicks VapoRub?

Can I give my baby Vicks VapoRub?Vicks VapoRub may stir up some nostalgia from when your mother used it on you, but at what age is it OK for use on your baby? Watching them struggle with congestion can be hard, and you want to soothe them, but you don’t want to make their condition worse, or have them suffer from any side effects.

Even though it was an old standby, the label on Vicks VapoRub states that it shouldn’t be used in children under 2, and reports are showing that this is a good idea. It’s also not recommended for use anywhere but on the chest. Some parents like to put a dab right under the nose, but this is not the suggested use, and can lead to further complications.

It’s good to have a plan when your baby comes down with congestion, since it’s one of the more common occurrences, and is often a side symptom of other conditions. Below we’ll go into further detail about what you can do to treat your baby’s congestion without resorting to products that might do more harm than good.

Can I Give My Baby Vicks VapoRub? Answer: From Two Years Old

You’ll want to wait until your child is a toddler before you start using VapoRub on their chests. This is because their airways are still growing and developing, and the vaporizing gel can sometimes act to flare up the airways, worsening the situation. Once your child hits the two year mark, you can begin to use it as a way to comfort them and to open up their airways, as it’s proven effective, and is the reason why it has stood the test of time and has a place in most homes with children.

Natural Cures for Congestion
Before reaching for an over-the-counter medication to rub onto your baby, you should exhaust as many natural remedies as you can. There are plenty of steps to take if your baby is congested, and many of them you can start to apply right away. One of the top keys is to make sure that your baby is well-fed by nursing so that they’re getting the vitamins, minerals, and antibodies they need, and aren’t getting dehydrated. Don’t worry, it won’t congest them further the way some dairy seem to.

You can also try using a humidifier or steam to help loosen up the congestion. These are things that you should try before resorting to medications, so that your baby has a chance to battle the cold on their own and strengthen their immune system.

When to See a Doctor
If your baby is very young you should bring them in at the first sign of congestion, because this can lead to many other complications so you want to catch it and treat it early. If your baby is older, and they’ve already had a few colds under their belt, you’re probably getting pretty good at noticing when something is normal, or when things have escalated to the point of needing a doctor’s visit. Always err on the side of caution so your baby gets the best treatment.

Many Colds the First Year
You may think that you’re doing something wrong if your baby seems to get sick more than you think they should. It’s actually quite common for a baby to come down with a cold in their first year, as their immune system is still developing, leaving them more open to the possibility of getting sick. That’s why the first year is often the most trying as a parent, so be sure to stay positive and do everything you can to comfort them and treat the colds they do get.

It’s sometimes hard to swallow when we find out that a remedy that was used on us is no longer recommended for modern babies. But remember that our parents were doing the best that they could with the information that they had available at the time, just as we’re able to do now, with plenty more information available at a moment’s notice. So keep the Vicks VapoRub in the medicine cabinet for a later date, when your child is two or older.

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Denise February 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Just as an addendum to this topic: I have BabyRub (by Vicks), which is specially formulated for babies 3 months and older. Without being able to compare to a Vicks VapoRub container, I’m guessing that the ingredients are slightly different, thus making this safer for babies and younger toddlers.


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