Cold-Remedy Ointment Not for Babies

01.14.09 Researchers warn VapoRub is too irritating for sick kids younger than 2


At the peak of cold and flu season comes word that researchers are warning parents not to slather Vicks VapoRub on their children younger than 2, especially under their noses, ">Reuters reports.

Wake Forest University researchers wrote in the American College of Chest Physicians' journal Chest that using the ointment to ease coughing and congestion in such young children is dangerous because the ointment's ingredients can be too irritating. Experts especially emphasized not to apply the over-the-counter remedy directly under a child's nose because it may cause a young child's tiny airways to swell and fill with mucus, which might lead to severe breathing problems.

VapoRub's packaging label cautions against using the remedy on children younger than 2, but many parents do it anyway, putting their infants at risk, officials said. A spokesman for VapoRub's manufacturer Procter & Gamble said, "The safety and efficacy of the product has been determined by multiple clinical trials ... Our results are inconsistent with the claims of this study."

If you're dealing with a little one's stuffy nose or cough, we offer a list of safe alternatives to medication when it comes to treating your baby's cold.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.