When I was little, I have a very clear memory of my mom slathering on a big goopy smear of Vicks VapoRub underneath my nostrils before bed anytime I had a bad cold. It burned like a SOB, but wow, did those menthol fumes feel good working their way through my clogged airways.
I'm sorry to tell you this, Mom, but the directions on the classic adult remedy specifically state NOT to put it under noses, and to definitely not use in children under 2. (Today there is toned-down Baby version available.)
But some mothers today are still swabbing baby and toddler noses, and doctors are finding that this leads to severe breathing problems. According to a recent study in the journal CHEST, the full-strength Vicks can increase mucus production and inflammation in young children.
CafeMoms don't report any problem with Vicks or the Baby version and will continue to use it on their children as directed. Many, hashing it out in The CafeMom Newcomers Club, say they only use Vicks on their childrens backs, chest, and feet. As one mom there says, "Read the directions, people!"
"I've been using the baby version since my son was 7months old and congestion has always been a problem," says another mom, billysmami. "I DON"T use it under his nose because when he is congested he rubs his nose with his hand and he will probably rub it all over his face without knowing. I rub his chest and back. BTW, he is 2.5 now and I have never had a problem."
Still, the news is a good reminder to always read the dosage directions before you give your toddler medicine of any kind -- either OTC or prescription. While you may think you remember how to administer it correctly, just remember about our overloaded mommy brains. Taking a few seconds for a label check could easily prevent a dangerous mistake.