What’s inside the balm and baby rubs – An Overview


It is true that a baby’s medical kit must have a vapor rub or a chest rub but you should know what is inside the chest rub that you are planning to use for your baby.

What are the common ingredients in popular balm and baby rubs


Why is it used – It is used because of its cough suppressing and analgesic properties. It is a sleep inducer.

Is it safe to use in baby rubs – It is easily absorbed by the skin. When it penetrated deep into the skin it can be highly toxic. It can cause irritation to your baby’s skin. It can also cause irritation to eyes and mucus membranes.


Why is it used – It has analgesic properties. It gives a cooling effect.

Is it safe to use in baby rubs – Experts say that menthol tricks the brain to think that breathing has become easier by triggering cooling sensation. It can be of a little positive physiologic consequence in older children but not in kids. It can actually cause respiratory distress in little babies. 

Petrolatum or paraffin wax


Why is it used – It is used because of its moisturizing properties and it’s a cheap base.

Is it safe to be used in baby rubs – It is not water soluble. It creates an illusion of moisturizing skin. However, blocks the pores and restricts air flow into the skin. This prevents the skin from breathing.


Why is it used – It has anti microbial, decongesting, cough suppressing and pain relieving properties.

Is it safe to be used in baby rubs – It is safe when used in the right quantity. Study the ingredient list and make sure the dosage is minimal, especially, if your baby is below 2 years old. Eucalyptus radiata is a milder and safer variant.

Lavender oil

Why is it used – It has calming and soothing properties. It encourages a fussy baby to sleep.

Is it safe to be used in baby rubs – It does have sedative effects and it does not cause any side effects .

Rosemary oil

Why is it used – It helps in clearing mucus and in decreasing inflammation.

Is it safe to be used in baby rubs – It is safe for children when diluted. When used without diluting it can cause side effects on skin. To be on the safer side check the dosage of rosemary oil on the label.

These are the common ingredients in baby rubs. Some of these ingredients do have potentially harmful side effects. 

Natural  rubs contain essential oils and real moisturizers like sunflower oil or coconut  oil. They contain beeswax or shea butter in place of petrolatum. Organic or natural baby rubs and homemade baby rubs are best for your baby’s health. 

Further reading : 

Are balms/baby rubs safe? Which ones are? 

Do Balms/Baby Rubs Really Work ?


I am sure everyone remembers how their mom rubbed vapor rubs on their chests when they were a child. However, most of the young parents today are reluctant to do the same to their own kids. They are not sure if it really works or it has some harmful ingredients.

In the year 2010, a study was conducted on a group of 138 children aged 2 to 11 years. All the children who participated in the study had cold symptoms. The children were divided into three groups. Children of the first group were treated with rubs. The second group was treated with petrolatum and the last group was given no treatment.

The children were studied after two days. Factors like ability to sleep, severity and frequency of cough and congestion were studied. The results showed that the symptoms were better for all the children but there were significant differences in the levels of improvement.

Statistical data showed that children who were treated with rubs had the best improvement. They slept better. Their congestion improved and they had less severe and less frequent cough. The least improvement was found in children who were given no treatment.

The essential oils like eucalyptus in the balm have proven health benefits.

The study proves that baby rubs do work in improving the symptoms of cold in the little children.

Nevertheless, you should not forget that you should be careful in choosing the rub. Avoid baby rubs that contain  menthol, camphor, petroleum jelly. They can have adverse effects and worsen the baby’s health.

You should make sure that there are no harmful ingredients in the rub. A natural ,  essential oil based rub will help ease your baby’s nasal congestion and cough.

Further reading : 

Are balms/baby rubs safe? Which ones are? 

What’s inside  the balm and baby rubs – An overview