Vicks VapoPads is a great product to comfort babies suffering from nasal congestion.
But for parents, it makes us wonder: Are VapoPads safe for babies?
In this article, we discuss the pros, cons, and side effects of VapoPads for babies.
We’ve also included home remedies you can consider. Let’s begin!
What are Vicks VapoPads?
Vicks products have been a household brand for years. They’re a manufacturer of the Vicks humidifier and other Vicks products to provide nasal congestion relief.
Remember Vicks VapoRub? How it helped you get past that congested nose ache?
Vicks VapoPads work in a similar way as Vicks VapoRub, EXCEPT in the form of vapor pads AND infused with various scents for added comfort.
Vicks Vapopads are available in various scents such as:
- Eucalyptus oil
Vicks VapoPads are compatible with the Vicks humidifier, vaporizers, steam inhalers, and plug-ins of the same brand. Just plug in the pad, and it will last you for 8 hours.
Are Vicks VapoPads Safe for Babies?
Parent community sites have mixed reviews of Vicks VapoPads and its safety — and whether or not they should consider these as proper baby medicinal supplies.
That’s because it depends on the age of your baby.
Vicks VapoPads aren’t safe for your baby if they’re under the age of 2.
Why is That?
Babies have smaller airways compared to adults. As they’re still growing, they are more vulnerable and sensitive.
Things that we as adults don’t notice can cause a severe reaction for our babies. These include dry air, changes in weather, irritants (such as dust or cigarette smoke), and even menthol.
Vicks VapoPads can easily fall under “irritants” for your little one. The ingredients used in Vicks Vapopads are TOO STRONG for babies.
As such, using it may worsen the breathing problem of your baby, instead of relieving them.
Possible side effects include the following:
- Irritation or inflammation in nose or airways
- Breathing difficulties
- Increased congestion
- Allergic reaction
- Respiratory system distress
Even a “small” amount to us might be severe for babies. Granted, it’s entirely possible that babies won’t have any reactions to the product.
However, when it comes to your baby’s safety, it’s better to play it safe.
After all, your babies’ lungs, nose, and respiratory system are particularly sensitive to strong ingredients such as menthol and even eucalyptus oil!
Instead, consider safer and gentler alternatives to the product—and there are plenty like Vicks humidifiers, saline drops, etc. Read on to find out more!
Alternatives to Vicks VapoPads for Babies
There are many reasons why your baby is suffering from nasal congestion.
If your baby is under two, don’t worry. We’ve listed safe ways you can address your baby’s breathing problem.
1. Increase Your Baby’s Temperature
Have you ever heard of “sweating out” a cold? It’s not a thing as sweat doesn’t address the problem.
However, increasing body temperature can aid nasal decongestion because it LOOSENS nasal mucous.
So…run a warm bath for your baby! The increased temperature will stimulate their immune system.
Plus, the warm steam from the bath will help clear out mucous from your baby’s nose or chest. Hello, nasal decongestion!
As an alternative, you could also feed your baby some warm soup. This kind of warmth will provide some comfort, especially if they’re experiencing a fever.
One important note is that when serving the soup, it SHOULDN’T be too hot for your baby. This is because babies’ heat tolerance is lower than adults’.
2. Use Humidifiers
Using a humidifier will keep the air moist. This is especially helpful during winter as the air can become dry due to heating!
For babies under two, use ONLY WATER. For older children, you can even put in essential oils for a good night’s sleep.
You might be wondering if you should use warm-mist (vaporizer) or cool-mist humidifiers. We recommend using a cool-mist humidifier. Why?
For starters, when placed in your kids’ bedroom, your baby can easily get a burn if they get too close. The water inside the humidifier might also spill.
Second, using a vaporizer COSTS more. So, using a humidifier will give you more peace. Plus, it will still provide the same results.
It will liquify any mucous inside your baby’s nose. The snot will go OUT of their system, instead of clogging their airways.
However, a humidifier also has a downside: Bacterial growth.
To prevent this, change the water daily. Make sure to thoroughly clean the humidifier unit every two or three days.
You can also invest in a non-toxic air purifier to eliminate any toxins or dust that could make your baby sick.
3. Apply Saline Drops
Saline drops are a great alternative to a humidifier.
- One, they’re cheaper. Pick one up from your local store, which will cost you less than $10.
- Second, it’s also 100% safe for your baby and kids!
- Saline drops DON’T contain any medication, so it’s safe to use. If your baby is squirmy, you can also consider a nasal spray instead.
PRO TIP: Use a baby nasal aspirator (or a bulb syringe). Trust us, it’s much more effective!
You can use the saline drops or spray to loosen up the mucous. And then, the suction from the bulb syringe will draw out all the gunk.
4. Use Vicks BabyRub
The Vicks BabyRub product is one awesome alternative to the Vicks VapoPads or VapoRub!
It’s a soothing ointment for children aged 3 months and older.
The Vicks BabyRub consists of:
- Petroleum jelly
- Aloe leaf extract
- Coconut oil
- Mineral oil
These ingredients help fight off nasal congestion for your kids and give a soothing effect. We’ve heard great reviews from parents who’ve tried it.
To use, apply a small amount of it along your baby’s chest, back, neck, or bottom of your baby’s feet. Keep in mind you shouldn’t apply this to the nose area.
5. Improve Air Quality
As mentioned, babies have more sensitive airways. Because of this, even the little things can make their noses irritated!
For example, you might have a pet dog in your house. Your dog’s hair can easily become a source of irritation for your little one.
Of course, dust and dirt are the top common sources of irritants. Your baby might have been crawling or walking in a secluded room that’s full of dust.
Seasonal allergies are no joke, either!
As parents, it’s important to be clean as we come into contact with our children every day. This includes not only our hands but also our clothes.
Reduce the irritants around your house. Pay attention to the small details. While regular cleaning is the best, you can use other items (e.g. non-toxic humidifier, air purifier, essential oils, etc.) to help.
If your baby’s symptoms continue or worsen, it might be time to give them some medicine.
Before going to your baby’s special medicine cabinet, always consult your pediatrician or health experts first. Your doctor will be able to give the most accurate information on the cause and the right medications.
Make sure to check the medicine information for details, especially any side effects.
For people with a family history of allergies, be EXTRA CAREFUL.
Common Uses of Vicks VapoPads
#1 Relaxation and Sleep
Vicks VapoPads are great for comfort. These Vicks products contain essential oils, including lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary.
- Lavender: Reduces stress and anxiety. The chemicals found in lavender help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Eucalyptus: Relieves cough and breathing problems. It acts as an insect-repellant (e.g. mosquitoes).
- Rosemary: Improves mood and focus. It helps treat respiratory problems from allergies, colds, and flu.
You can use the pad as aromatherapy to unwind after a long day. Inhaling this kind of vapor will make you feel content and relaxed.
Plus, each pad lasts up to 8 hours, which covers an entire sleep cycle. If you put it on a lower setting, it can last longer: medium (12 hours) and low (16 hours).
#2 Cough Suppressant and Cold Relief
Don’t you just hate the sensation that cough brings? For us, cough is FAR WORSE than having colds.
If you’re suffering from a cold or cough, Vicks VapoPads can help provide some comfort. It contains menthol, which is a blend of peppermint and other essential oils.
Menthol vapors are effective for cooling the airway passages and soothing inflamed throats. Not to mention, it’s also a good alternative to the VapoRub or nasal inhalers. Why?
Vicks Vapopads provide indirect soothing relief since they’re a cough suppressant.
This helps if you’ve been applying oils or using nasal inhalers. The skin around your nose is thin, which can easily turn red and sensitive.
#3 Congestion and Breathing Problems
Nasal congestion can be caused by an allergy, sinus infection, or some other irritants (e.g. dust).
Similarly, you can use menthol vapor to clear your airways. To use it as a sleeping aid, consider using those with essential oils.
Alternatives, such as Vicks Vapo Rub or nasal inhalers, usually only provide temporary relief for a few minutes. In our case with allergic rhinitis, sometimes it only lasts for a FEW SECONDS!
At least with Vicks Vapopads, you’re guaranteed a whole sleep cycle and better nasal decongestion.
How to Use Vicks VapoPads
- Tear the Vicks VapoPads product from the box. Try not to touch the exposed scent pads directly. If you do, IMMEDIATELY wash your hands after use.
- Plug in 1 or 2 scent pads into the strip holder.*
- Once you plug in the pad inside your device, turn the power on.
- Wait for the vapor or steam. Change the intensity to your preferred level (if possible).
*Note: Vicks VapoPads are compatible with Vicks vaporizers, steam inhalers, etc.
As such, instructions for use may vary per Vicks product. Check the users’ manual details before proceeding.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
#1 Is VapoRub Safe for Babies?
Vicks Vapo Rub should NOT be used for children under the age of two. This Vicks product contains:
- Turpentine oil
- Cedarwood oil
These ingredients can irritate your baby’s airways and worsen the congestion problem instead of being able to ease congestion.
It can also cause mild skin irritation. There are also several reports that camphor can cause seizures in children.
#2 Is Menthol Harmful to Babies?
Yes. Menthol is a strong, flammable ingredient. So it can be harmful to children with sensitive, still-developing lungs and nose.
Besides airway irritation, menthol can also cause irritation around the eyes or skin. Especially if you use a topical ointment (such as VapoRub) which can easily transfer to other parts of a baby’s body.
#3 Can I Use a Vaporizer for Children?
Vaporizers are also known as warm-mist humidifiers. The steam helps retain or create moisture in the air.
It’s recommended to avoid vaporizers for children. Since they have weak skin, coming into contact with the hot water/steam can cause burns.
Instead of vaporizers, use a cool-mist humidifier.
#4 Where Do You Put a Humidifier in a Baby’s Room?
Place the humidifier at least 3 ft. away from your baby. Keep it somewhere your little one won’t be able to reach (e.g. table).
Otherwise, they could easily knock it over, and the spillage may cause a fire or slipping hazard.
Final Thoughts: Are Vicks Vapopads Safe for Babies?
Vicks is a manufacturer known for providing congestion relief for both parents and children.
While our experiences have shown the positive effects Vicks products bring to the table, it’s a different case for babies.
The strong active ingredients of Vicks cause serious side effects for children below two years old.
As such, it’s better to try other home remedies for the younger ones. Always check with your pediatrician/doctor for more accurate information and final approval.
November 2, 2022 – Minor content edits
July 23, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links