Is Vicks Vaposteam safe for babies?

Is Vicks Vaposteam Safe For My Baby?

When my child got a fever, it was one of the scariest things that happened to me because I had no idea what to do at first.

I called every friend I had, my parents, and all the doctors I knew because I was so scared that something might happen to my little one. However, before I called anybody, I went through my drawer of medicines to see if there was anything I could use.

And alas, I had some Vicks Vaposteam but the question was if I could use it or not. Well, if you don’t already know, I’ll sum it up for you in this article and also help you find a few more alternatives that you could try to use.

No, it is not safe to use Vicks Vaposteam on your toddler if they are younger than 2 years old which is what the packaging also says. Some alternatives you can try using are just regular steam, a bulb syringe, and plenty of rest.

What Is Vicks Vaposteam?

I’m pretty sure all of us are familiar with the brand Vicks. I use them quite often when I feel sick and their stuff does work quite well for me. Even my parents have been using them and their various products but I have heard from other people that it doesn’t work quite as well for them.

Vicks makes something called Vaposteam which is basically a liquid that you put in your humidifier or steamer. If you’ve ever been sick and have felt steam coming your way, you know that it helps to clear your nose.

Well, this product just amplifies this effect and makes it much more effective to get rid of your fever. It’s also good for people that don’t want to take any medicine as this provides an alternative way to ingest medicine.

Now, the effectiveness of this product is debated because many people say using plain steam also helps a lot and does the same thing as using Vaposteam. However, other people have stated that using it makes them feel less sick for longer and has a stronger effect.

That is something for every individual to decide for themselves because everyone reacts differently to medicine.

Is Vicks Vaposteam Safe For Toddlers?

If you read the packaging for the box, it says that it’s not safe for kids under 2 years of age, and this is something that you should follow. So to answer the question in short, no it is not safe.

However, some of my mommy friends decided to be a little bit risky and used it anyway but they took a few precautions. They kept the humidifier away from the baby and used it in a room with a lot of windows or kept the door open.

This made it so that their child was bombarded with a lot of steam infused with Vicks but rather it was a much more subtle flow of steam. ANd the results were mixed.

Some parents reported that it helped their child breathe better and even got rid of their flu, while some parents reported that it made their little one even more irritated and cried more.

The most common effects that I’ve seen from using it on infants less than 2 years of age are:

  • More irritation in their nose
  • Makes it harder to breathe
  • More mucus production leading to a more congested nose
  • Cause inflammation in their airways

One of the things that was confusing was why would something that works for adults have such a harmful effect on toddlers, well the reason for that is one word: Menthol. (source)

Is Menthol Harmful For My Baby?

Yes. Menthol is one of the ingredients that you will find in Vaposteam. It’s something that is super harmful to babies and can cause a lot of breathing issues over the years.

A few things that it causes:

  • Highly flammable

I know this doesn’t seem like a big concern as your child won’t be near any fire (I hope) but even something like a humidifier can cause it to go in flames. This obviously only happens if the water is too hot but this is something that you need to avoid.

  • Baby’s skin and eyes will feel irritated

As we all know, babies have super sensitive skin and body parts and introducing anything that causes even a little bit of irritation can be super harmful to them.

  • Underdeveloped nose and lungs

Their lungs aren’t yet developed enough to handle chemicals like this and it could cause serious damages to them if not taken proper care of. Chemicals like this can cause them to be overwhelmed which leads to damages and more irritation. This is why they recommend it only for babies above 2 years of age.

Is Vicks In A Humidifier Safe For My Baby?

This is another common issue that I have seen parents go through. Some parents think mixing Vaporub into the water and using it in a humidifier is safe. However, it also has the same effects that Vaposteam has.

It also has menthol which we know is super harmful to toddlers but it also has some other ingredients that can be even more harmful to your little one but before I go on to list those, I want to make it clear that this option is also not safe for kids. (source)

The company themselves put out a notice saying that it shouldn’t be put around hot water due to the risks. And generally, most people won’t but there are a few people that might mix it up or microwave it which also isn’t recommended. 

Here is why you cannot use regular Vicks in a humidifier:

  • Petroleum Oil

I’m sure we’ve all heard about this one but most don’t know about how dangerous it can be. This stuff is also highly flammable and as a humidifier is hot, it could cause some serious damages.

Another thing this leads to is the clogging of your humidifier because after all it’s an oil. It will go into places in your humidifier that will be hard to clean and end up clogging it. The best way to avoid this is to just not use it in a humidifier.

If you really wanna put something in the steam to better help your baby, try a smaller dose of Vaposteam or a better solution is to try some of the alternatives below!

What Are Some Alternatives To Vicks Vaposteam For Babies?

I understand you might really want to try something steam related for your little one if it’s something that you do for yourself, however, there are better alternatives that will make your child feel comfortable and even help to relieve them of their pain.

All of these options are 100% safe and most doctors would even recommend these things as they are quite effective and natural. Here are the things you can try:

  • Plain old steam

Yep, just using regular steam is very effective in getting rid of any congestion or irritation that your baby is going through. And overall, having a more humid room can be quite beneficial for many reasons compared to a dry room. You could try throwing in some essential oils for the smell and a few health benefits but it isn’t required.

  • More rest

Try to get your toddler to sleep more or just rest because their bodies get really tired while fighting against any sickness. They really need a way to restore all that lost energy and the best way to do that is to let them rest more.

  • Bulb Syringe

Telling a baby to blow their nose is completely out of the picture for obvious reasons but there are ways you can blow their nose for them. My parents used to just squeeze my nose and pull out any mucus but luckily we now have gentler methods that aren’t so rough. Use the bulb syringe to drop a couple drops of any saline solution to soften the mucus. After that use the syringe to collect the mucus and clear your baby’s nose.

  • More warm water

Try feeding your baby some warm water or even cold water if the temperature is hot. I’ve heard from many parents that both hot and cold water can be quite effective in soothing a child during sickness. And hot water also helps to clear up mucus and it could be an alternative to using a bulb syringe. Hot water also helps to clear up the throat and will speed up their recovery.

  • Honey

Use this only for children 12 months and older because it can cause something called botulism. Honey does help to relieve the throat just like hot water does and it also betters your toddler’s sleep. You could feed them direct honey or even mix it with hot water for maximum results.


I hope this article was helpful to you and it answered any questions you had. As always, make sure to consult with your doctor if you feel like something is seriously wrong! 

What have your experiences been with using Vicks with your child? Have you tried Vicks Vaposteam? Let us know!

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