Chest Rubs for Babies: Tips and Options for Every Age

If your baby has a cold, homemade chest rubs may be helpful to provide some relief from the symptoms. Essential oils may be beneficial. However, they are only safe for babies three months and older. Medicated rubs are an option for children two years of age or older.

When your baby has a cold, you naturally want to do anything possible to relieve some of their symptoms. Often, when babies have colds, they are fussy, sleep poorly, have low appetite, and are overall not themselves.

One way to help improve your baby’s cold symptoms is by using a chest rub. You might be familiar with products like Vick’s VapoRub.

Before using anything on your baby, ensure that it’s designed with your little one in mind.

What Are Chest Rubs?

Chest rubs are typically mentholated topical gels. Many of these contain medication and can be easily found at most grocery stores or drugstore.

They usually come in a jar, and you can apply them to your chest. In addition, you can make chest rubs at home.

Why Should You Use a Chest Rub?

Chest rubs work to relieve congestion when you have a cold. If your baby has a cold, a chest rub is an easy way to give your baby some relief and loosen up any mucous or chest tightness.

The essential oils used in a homemade chest rub can also keep your baby calm. These oils may help your little one rest so they can recover from their cold.

Chest Rubs for Babies Under 3 Months

If your baby is under the age of three months, a chest rub is not recommended. Babies are too sensitive as newborns, so once your baby turns three months old, you can begin using chest rubs.

If you’re still looking for ways to give your infant some relief from their cold, try one of these remedies:

  • Give baby plenty of liquids. At this age, babies should only drink breast milk or formula.
  • Use a suction bulb to remove nasal mucus.
  • Run a cool-mist humidifier to add more moisture to the room and relieve congestion. You can also bring your baby to the bathroom and run the shower. The mist will work similarly to a humidifier.

Remember, if the symptoms worsen or persist, you should contact your baby’s pediatrician. A more serious issue may be present.

Your baby’s pediatrician may prescribe medication or make additional suggestions for home remedies.

Chest Rubs for Babies 3 Months and Older

Once your baby turns three months old, you can begin using non-medicated natural baby chest rubs.

Many store-bought chest rubs offer a variety explicitly made for infants. This is an easy way to ensure the product is safe for your baby.

Vick’s VapoRub offers an infant chest rub that can help to relieve the cold symptoms. Other brands offer similar products. You should find a good selection at your local drugstore or grocery store.

Be sure to follow all guidelines on the packaging. While many chest rubs are safe for babies three months and older, some products may be recommended for babies over six months instead.

Chest Rubs for Toddlers 2 Years and Up

Once your baby reaches the age of two, you may start using medicated chest rubs. Most brands state that you can safely use their products on two-year-olds.

If you’d like to, you can continue using infant chest rub formulas on your toddler. Note that the non-medicated chest rubs may not be as effective, but they can still help.

A chest rub comforts and soothes your child, even if it’s not medicated. The blend of oils in the chest rub can help your child to relax and rest.

Making Natural Baby Chest Rub

If your baby is between 3 months old and two years old, you can make a natural baby chest rub.

You might also use this for yourself or your older children. It’s a natural alternative to a product like Vick’s VapoRub.

Research Best Essential Oils for Children

When you’re using essential oils around children, always do your research to ensure they are safe.

For example, eucalyptus essential oil is not safe for children, as it may slow their breathing.

Dilute Essential Oils

Also, you should always dilute essential oils before applying them directly to the skin. You may need to dilute them in a carrier oil, such as almond oil or fractionated coconut oil.

Test On a Small Area of Skin

Lastly, when applying anything new to your baby’s skin, test on a small area of skin if known allergies exist. If your baby has an adverse reaction, you should stop using the product on their skin.

There are many different recipes for baby chest rubs available. All you need is a carrier oil, like coconut oil or beeswax, as well as a few essential oils like lavender.

Safety Precautions to Take with Chest Rubs

When you’re using chest rubs on your little one’s chest, there are several precautions that you will need to take.

1. Avoid Ingestion

First, you should be sure that your child doesn’t ingest the rub, whether it’s store-bought or homemade.

These types of products aren’t made to be consumed and are designed for external use only. It would be best if you kept the rub out of your child’s reach.

2. Avoid Eye Contact

Second, you should take caution to avoid contact with your baby’s eyes while breastfeeding.

If you have applied chest rub to your chest or chest, your baby could end up with it in their eyes or mouth while nursing or when being cuddled.

Be sure to rinse the rub off thoroughly before feeding your baby.

3. Follow Instructions on the Package

Also, it’s worth noting that different brands and types of chest rubs have different instructions and safety precautions.

While all chest rubs have the same purpose, there may be different guidelines on the packaging. Be sure to read them thoroughly for your baby’s safety.

What is Camphor?

Camphor is one of the ingredients in Vick’s VapoRub and other similar products. This ingredient soothes your baby. It can be toxic if ingested, though. This reason is why it’s essential to keep the chest rub away from your baby’s mouth.

Camphor is not dangerous if it is applied to the skin. If your little one is likely to get the chest rub in their mouth, you should avoid using it. If your baby ingests camphor, seek medical attention immediately.

Should You Put a Chest Rub on Baby’s Feet?

You might have heard of people applying chest rub to their babies’ feet. It’s said that the ointment can positively affect your baby whether it’s applied to the chest or the feet.

If you choose to use a chest rub on your baby’s feet, use the same age and safety guidelines mentioned above.

If you apply a chest rub to your baby’s feet, be sure to put footed pajamas or socks on your baby so they don’t ingest the rub by placing their feet in their mouth.

How to Apply Chest Rubs for Babies

Step 1: Read Package Directions

The first step is to read the packaging. Most chest rubs work the same way. The packaging should tell you how often to apply the ointment.

Step 2: Incorporate into Bedtime Routine

If your baby is sick, consider adding the chest rub and other at-home cold remedies to their bedtime routine.

For example, you might give your baby a bath, use a suction bulb to remove any built-up mucus, apply the chest rub, and then put them to bed.

The blend of essential oils in chest rubs can help your baby to sleep soundly. As mentioned, babies don’t always sleep well when they are under the weather.

Step 3: Massage on the Chest or Feet

You can massage a small amount of chest rub onto your baby’s chest. You might also apply the chest rub to your baby’s feet, but be sure to monitor your baby for an allergic reaction if it’s the first time you’ve used the product.

Step 4: Combine Remedies

It’s helpful to use other home remedies like a cool-mist humidifier to help make your little one even more comfortable as they recover from their cold.

Chest Rubs: Great for Colds When Used Appropriately

Using chest rubs is a great way to help your baby recover from a cold. It’s essential to follow all of the recommendations listed to ensure your baby stays safe.

Not all products are safe for children, as children have sensitive skin. Also, babies’ bodies cannot handle medications made for adult bodies.

If you have any questions about chest rubs for babies, be sure to contact your baby’s pediatrician. You should also talk to your baby’s pediatrician if the cold symptoms worsen or persist.