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Vicks VapoRub for Children

Your thoughts on Vicks VapoRub for kids under 2? Harmful?

Vicks VapoRub is approved for children 2 years and up. It contains Camphor, Eucalyptus oil and Menthol. This product was first introduced in 1905.

Recent safety concerns developed after an 2009 case involving a 18 month old. After the toddler’s grandparents applied Vicks VapoRub to his nostrils the child was admitted to the hospital with respiratory distress.

Dr. Bruce Rubin at Wake Forest led the investigation into this case. He concluded "The ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway". "Infants and young children have airways that are much narrower than those of adults, so any increase in mucus or inflammation can narrow them more severely."

Because of these concerns, I do not recommend Vicks VapoRub for children under the age of two. While the findings in the Wake Forest study are concerning, I’m comforted by the products 100 year track record.

We have not used in on our children, but many of my patients use Vicks VapoRub. It seems that if your mother used it on you, then you will use it on your children.


Written February 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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