How to Put Vicks on a Baby's Feet


It may be an old wives' tale for some and an old-fashioned remedy for others, but applying Vicks BabyRub to your little one's feet for a cough and cold is a must-do for a growing number of parents. Nobody really knows why it seems to work. There is no medical evidence that it actually works but testimonials are plentiful from parents who believe Vicks has helped their coughing infants. One theory claims blood vessels dilate when Vicks is rubbed onto the feet, triggering a reflex to stop the cough. If you have a coughing child, you might feel it is at least worth a try.

Things You'll Need

  • Vicks BabyRub
  • Metal spoon (optional)
  • Socks

Try this at nighttime, which is often when your baby’s cough is at its worst. First, give your baby a warm bath to relax her. The steam will also aid in clearing nasal passages.

After the bath, using your fingers, apply a small amount of Vicks to the soles of both feet, just enough to massage into the middle of each foot. The massage will also help her relax and get ready for sleep. You can also apply the Vicks using the back of a metal spoon if you don’t want to get Vicks on your fingers, especially if you will be handling your baby afterward.

Put warm cotton socks onto your baby for the night. Not only does this help the Vicks absorb into her feet, it will stop any Vicks from getting into your baby’s eyes and keep the bedding clean. It will also stop the vapor from being too strong. The coughing should ease in approximately five to 10 minutes after application and can be reapplied every six hours if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • To help with your baby's cough and cold, also use a humidifier.
  • Vicks VapoRub is not recommended for children under 2 years old. Consult your pediatrician if you want to use VapoRub. The BabyRub is safe on children 3 months and older and contains gentle ingredients like aloe, eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender oil.
  • Do not use on a baby who has croup. The menthol can irritate her cough.
  • If your infant's cough persists or worsens, see your pediatrician.
  • This is an alternative remedy for a baby's cough and cold and has no scientific basis.

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