Are These Dangerous “Baby” Products In Your Home?

There are so many skincare products available for infants that it may be hard to know which ones are best.

We strive to use gentle and trusted products, and often we turn to time-tested remedies that parents have used for generations.

But despite being on the market for decades, there are some products that should not even be in your home if you have small children.

Despite their names and the fact that our parents used them on us – and their parents on them – so-called “baby” oil and “baby” powder are actually dangerous products, and many parents are completely unaware of the damage they can cause.

This time of year, especially, many moms and dads are looking for any way to alleviate baby’s dry, itchy winter skin and keep diaper rash at bay.

But is there a dangerous “baby” product lurking in your home?

One mom recently shared her story with Café Mom to warn other moms about the dangers of a commonly-used product – baby oil.

Jennaloy Ingraham has two small children under the age of three, and while 18-month-old Greysen was in the bathroom with his father, he innocently grabbed a bottle of baby oil from the vanity and did what every toddler does.

He put it in his mouth and swallowed a bit.

Jennaloy and her husband didn’t think much of it at the time because, after all, these products contain the word “baby,” so they must be safe, right?

Jennaloy was panicked when Greysen suddenly became lethargic and unresponsive.  After calling their pediatrician, who told them to contact their local Poison Control, they were told to go to the hospital.

The hospital did x-rays on little Greysen’s lungs and kept him for observation.

Fortunately for this family, Greysen recovered.  But many parents don’t know that baby oil and other products like it can be aspirated into the lungs causing serious illness, organ failure – even death.

The Ingrahams were told about what baby oil can do to a small child’s system and were stunned to hear how the product is classified.

The Poison Control website states that Baby oil, mineral oil, and household lubricating oil are hydrocarbons. These slippery liquids can easily go down the wrong way, into the lungs, when someone swallows them. Other hydrocarbons include lamp oil, torch fuel, lighter fluid, gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, heating oil, hair oil, and some kinds of furniture polish.”

Gasoline?  Furniture polish?  How can a product that is labeled for use on infants be in the same classification as these deadly poisons?

These products called hydrocarbons can all cause the same type of damage if swallowed and aspirated into the lungs, and pediatricians recommend against even using them.

Poison Control continued: “Coughing, choking, and fever are common signs of hydrocarbon aspiration. Lung irritation and pneumonia, even death, can result. Symptoms can happen quickly – within a couple of hours or even sooner. If there are no symptoms in 24 hours, the child should remain fine.”

Some adults like to use baby oil to moisturize their skin after a shower or bath, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that if you must have these products in your home, treat them like any other poison or household cleaner.

Lock them up, keep them out of reach, and put them back in a safe place after every use.

And just like baby oil, another product that parents have used for generations is baby powder with talc.

Because of its fine particles, baby powder can also be aspirated into the lungs if swallowed.

But baby powder can be dangerous even if a child does not put it in their mouth.  Even during a diaper change, infants and toddlers can inhale the fine particles, causing respiratory distress.

This is especially dangerous if a child has a respiratory condition like asthma or another health issue that already causes breathing difficulties.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend the use of baby powder on little ones, saying, “Even small amounts of powder can irritate a baby’s tiny lungs – especially if the baby is at high risk for respiratory illness. Those at high risk include premature babies, babies with congenital heart disease, and babies who’ve had RSV [Respiratory Syncytial Virus] or frequent respiratory illnesses.”

And what about cornstarch or other more natural products than talcum powder?  Pediatricians recommend against using any type of powder for the same reasons – these small particles can wreak havoc on baby’s little lungs.

In fact, much has been reported in recent years about the dangers of women using talcum powder for personal hygiene.

It is thought to increase the risk of ovarian cancer, and many companies are now labeled with a disclaimer against the use of talc for feminine hygiene.

There are many manufacturers currently making more natural skincare products for infants and toddlers, often with herbs like lavender and chamomile or naturally-occurring elements like beeswax and honey.

Do your research to find an appropriate replacement, or you can even learn how to make your own natural baby products!

If you currently use baby oil or baby powder on your little one, it is best to find an alternative.

And if you keep them in your home for your own personal use, safety first!  Keep them out of the reach of little hands and mouths.

Were you aware of the dangers of baby oil and baby powder?  Do you have ideas for safe and natural alternatives for infant skincare?  Leave us your thoughts.

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