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Are Vicks VapoPads Safe For Babies to Use?

I grew up with my mother rubbing Vicks on my chest when I was sick, as did my children. I never used it with my children when they were babies, but that was because their pediatrician recommended against it at the time.

Now, we have my grandson and a humidifier. It wasn’t long before we discovered Vicks VapoPads. These are pads that can be placed inside of a humidifier, plugin, or steam inhaler.

Are Vicks VapoPads Safe For Babies to Use?

So are Vicks VapoPads safe for babies to use? Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until your baby is older before you can safely use these to help with congestion.

Is Vicks VapoPads Good For Babies To Use?

According to studies like this one that took place in the United Kingdom, the use of menthol can cause more harm than good. Babies already have extremely narrow airways.

If their body sees menthol as an irritant, it will cause them to become more narrow. It may also result in the body producing more mucous to protect the airways from what it thinks is a dangerous chemical.

This can cause significant respiratory distress.

Is Vicks VapoPads Safe For Babies If The Humidifier Is Across The Room?

It’s a relatively common belief among parents that as long as the humidifier or plugin is across the room, the baby will be fine. There are plenty of parents that have done this in large rooms and insist their baby is fine.

However, that’s not because the humidifier is across the room. It’s because they got lucky, and their baby’s body did not have an adverse reaction to the menthol ingredient.

Even a small amount of this ingredient can result in respiratory distress. It’s best not to take any chances and avoid the product.

Steam flow from a humidifier and an air ionizer in a blurred bg

Is Vicks VapoPads Safe For Babies If You Only Use It A Few Hours?

No, it should not be used at all. Some parents place a plug-in across the room and insist that it’s safe if used for a couple of hours a night. This is not a good idea, though.

Babies are too young to handle strong ingredients like menthol or peppermint. Even if you only use it for a few hours, it can still make your baby feel worse in the long run due to the increased production of mucous.

Side Effects Of Vicks VapoPads On Babies Under Two

Parents that use Vicks VapoPads on babies under the age of two increase the risk of mild to severe side effects for their little one. These include:

  • Increased congestion
  • Inflamed airways
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritation to airways or nose. This irritation can range from mild to severe.
  • Severe respiratory distress that requires immediate medical attention

As with everything, your baby could experience no side effects or severe side effects that require emergency intervention.

Is Vicks VapoPads Safe For Babies?

Vicks VapoPads is not safe for babies. The ingredients are too strong for babies and may cause adverse effects. They are not recommended for children younger than two years old.

There are plenty of other home remedies, and infant approved products that can replace Vicks VapoPads.

Vicks VapoPads safe for baby when sick


One of the most common reasons that people wonder if Vicks VapoPads is safe for babies is when their little one is congested. While you shouldn’t use these if your newborn is congested, there are plenty of other great ideas!


Use a cool-mist humidifier to put more moisture into the air. This will help liquify the additional mucous. Then, the snot will run out of their nose instead of clogging their nasal passages.

You might have to wipe a runny nose more, but your baby will be able to breathe much better. If you can get a prescription from your doctor, there’s a good chance that your insurance will cover it.

Saline Drops

Saline drops are cheaper than a humidifier, and they have the same effect. A drop or two in your little one’s nose will make their nose run more. This helps effectively eliminate the additional mucous without the use of harmful chemicals.

Avoid Irritants

Poor air quality and congestion go hand in hand. While your home might not be full of cigarette smoke, you could have other things contributing to your little one’s stuffy nose.

Pets, dust, and seasonal allergies are all common reasons that your little one might have a hard time breathing. Instead of using chemicals, pick up a humidifier, and avoid exposing your baby to irritants.

baby wiping nose

Wait It Out

Sometimes, you have to wait it out. If your baby has a cough, but it is a productive cough that does not bother them, you can wait it out. The same applies to a stuffy nose.

If your baby is sneezing and getting rid of the mucous on their own, it should clear up. If they are experiencing other symptoms, such as fussiness or a fever, contact your pediatrician.

Is A Vicks Humidifier Safe For Babies?

Yes! A Vicks humidifier is an excellent investment, especially if plan to use Vicks when your little one is old enough.

Instead of using Vicks VapoRubs in the humidifier, use something water-based. These are also great to use with essential oils that are safe for your little one.

What Should You Put In A Humidifier?

There are a lot of safe options for your baby when it comes to using a humidifier! Essential oils are great for helping soothe babies to sleep. Certain essential oils can even help with congestion.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is great to use in a humidifier. It does not have a high level of minerals and other things that other waters do, guaranteeing that your baby is breathing cleaner air.

This can also increase the moisture level in the air, instantly helping with congestion.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be safely diffused into the air provided that you do so with a humidifier specifically designed to be used with essential oils. Some oils, like peppermint, are not good for younger children and should never be used for babies.

Peppermint can have the same adverse side effects that menthol can. However, there are plenty of essential oils that can safely be used around infants older than three months.

These include:

  • Chamomile. This has a natural soothing effect that can decrease fussiness and help babies sleep better.
  • Mandarin. This can have the same soothing effect that lavender and chamomile are known for, but it does have a different scent. This makes it a preferred option by people that do not like the smells of lavender or chamomile.
  • Lavender. Lavender is another popular essential oil that is known to promote relaxation.

essential oils

Essential oils must be diffused in a well-ventilated room, and not applied directly to the skin. Babies are known for having sensitive skin, and essential oils can cause a rash.

Vicks BabyRub Is Awesome

If you’ve tried the home remedies, saline drops, and everything imaginable, but your little one can’t seem to shake their cold, try some Vicks BabyRub.

This product is specially formulated to help your little one deal with congestion so that they can breathe easier and sleep better. Ingredients do not include menthol or peppermint.

Instead, it has essential oils that have a calming effect and are known to help with congestion. These ingredients are:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus oil (a cough suppressant)
  • Rosemary
  • Aloe
  • Fragrance

This can safely be applied to a baby’s chest. Some parents also apply it to the bottom of their baby’s feet, further away from their faces. It should not be used under the nose or inside the nostrils.

A pea-sized amount on your little one’s chest will work just fine.

When To Contact Your Doctor

It’s always a good idea to give your pediatrician a call if you have questions. Most pediatricians know a thing or two about what will be most useful to help your baby feel better. Some might know about essential oils too.

Contact Your Pediatrician Before Using A Cough Suppressant

Sometimes, a cough suppressant is a perfect ingredient for a full night’s sleep. Other times, it is a recipe for bronchitis.

When a baby has what is called a productive cough, one that involves them coughing up mucous, they need to cough up the phlegm. If not, it can breed bacteria as a result of an upper respiratory infection.

Before using a product to decrease mucous production or inhibit coughing, contact your pediatrician to ensure that it will be safe for your baby.

If Symptoms Persist

If your baby has a cough that is simply not going away or a cold, contact your doctor. This could be a sign of an underlying condition, such as asthma or allergies.

Your little one could also develop a mild case of bronchitis but not have a fever. A doctor will be able to give your little one a thorough evaluation to make sure that your baby is healthy.

Vicks VapoPads is not safe for your baby if they are under the age of two, but you have plenty of options to help them sleep better and breathe easier. Utilize the tips above to finally enjoy a full night’s rest for both you and your baby.