Is Vicks Vapo Rub Safe to Use in Babies?

Everyone knows about the very popular Vicks Vapor Rub® made by Proctor & Gamble. Every time you caught a cold, mom would rub some on your back and chest to help you breathe better. The product is made up of camphor, eucalyptus and menthol. According to research, it does not clear a stuffy nose but helps you feel like you can breathe better due to the feeling it produces. You might want to know if it is safe to give your baby Vicksvapo Rub, so the article below contains some helpful information for you about this product.

Baby Vicks Rub--Is It Safe?

Regular Vicks Vapor Rub® should only be used for children over the age of 2 through adults. This type is not meant for babies. There is a non-medicated type of this product called, Vicks Baby Rub® that may be used on babies 3 months up to 2 years of age.

Vicks Baby Rub® is designed to be gentle on baby’s skin and has no medication in it. In order to make it like the adult version, it only contains a tiny bit of eucalyptus oil. They leave out the menthol and camphor that could irritate your baby. This product also contains rosemary and lavender to create an “aromatherapy” like effect to ease your baby’s symptoms, keep them calm while protecting their fragile skin.

As with any product, it is important to contact your baby before using anything intended to treat colds or flu. Never give your baby cold medications by mouth as oral cold medications are not intended for children under six years of age.

How to Use Baby Vicks Rub

It can be effective in relieving cold symptoms in your baby like congestion and coughing. 

On Chest, Neck and Back

When you use a baby vapor rub, you can rub a light layer on their back, chest and neck areas. While the vapors tend to help baby all by themselves, the rubbing action helps to calm them down and make the product warmer. The warmer the product the more scent is released. Always only use the heat of your hands for warming and never heat on a stove or in the microwave as it can either catch fire or burn your baby. It is also unsafe to use the product in a humidifier because it can overheat. There are separate products made just for humidifiers if you would like to fill the room with the aroma. Watch your baby carefully after first use for signs of skin irritation or allergic rash. If this happens, discontinue use and contact your doctor.

On Feet (Effectiveness Not Proven)

While putting Vicks Baby Rub® has not been scientifically proven to help baby breathe better, some parents report surprising results using this method. Also, use caution and watch your baby for sensitivity symptoms such as increased trouble breathing, turning blue, gasping for air or a rash. Wash the product off and contact your doctor immediately.

Gather supplies:

  • Vicks Baby Rub® or comparable product suitable for babies
  • Ÿ A pair of old baby socks
  • Ÿ Sturdy pillow

 Here are the steps:

  • First step: Smooth a small amount of Vicks Baby Rub® onto your baby’s feet before he or she goes to sleep. Depending on how bad your baby feels, either place it on just the bottom of the foot or all over.
  • Second step: Take a pair of old baby socks and cover the feet to keep the rub intact. Even if you place your baby in a sleeper with feet, you still should use the socks so the oils don’t soak into the sleeper.
  • Third step: Put your baby in his or her crib and use a pillow under the mattress to elevate baby’s head. This helps to drain secretions. Never put a pillow directly under baby’s head as this increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).


  • Never place  Baby vicks rub on skin that is broken, has a rash or sensitive. Do not put it around the nose, mouth, face or eyes.
  • Never replace the baby version with the adult version. The adult formulation is far too strong and can actually worsen respiratory distress because of the strong vapors.
  • This product should never be taken internally.
  • Never use this product in or around the eyes.
  • Never use inside the nose or the mouth.

Try Natural Alternatives

There are other brands of natural balms that release vapors without paraben wax or petroleum. Natural balms are usually made up of herbs, oil, beeswax, aloe vera gel and other essential oils. You can look online for different types of “baby vapor rubs,” or “baby rubs.” Look online for recipes and try making your own at home with natural ingredients. Here is a video for DIY Vicks vapor rub:

All Categories