Babies are so delicate and sometimes it’s hard to know what is the right thing to do when it comes to taking care of them. One question that a lot of parents have is whether or not they should use baby powder on their newborns. In this blog post, we are going to explore when it is appropriate to use baby powder and when it is not. We will also provide some tips for using baby powder safely. Read on for more information!
In 2018, the Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women who went to court seeking redress claiming that asbestos in the company’s talcum powder products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. You can read the entire story here
I mentioned the Johnson & Johnson story to highlight the point that talcum-based baby products are unsafe. The fact that a court heard experts and agreed with them that it is a carcinogenic. Since 1970s, the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute have established the relationship between talcum and cancer.
What does Baby Powder do?
Baby powder is a fine white powder that feels similar to corn starch. It is made from talc, which acts as a desiccant and absorbs moisture from the skin. Baby powder can be used for many things such as soothing diaper rash, alleviating chaffing, preventing heat rash, and even adding fragrance.
Is Baby Powder safe for babies?
No, you should never use baby powder on a baby. Talc is made from the mineral silicate and it is linked to cancer. Using talc on your newborn’s genitals could lead to respiratory problems as well as cause irritation to mucus membranes. In fact, most companies have stopped using this ingredient in their products due to safety concerns.
When to use baby powder on a newborn?
AAP recommends against using baby powder on babies because of the risk of respiratory tract irritation. Also, using baby powders that contain scents or talc can increase the risk that your baby will develop an inhalation allergy to it.
When not to use baby powder on a newborn?
If you notice any signs of prevented breathing while your infant is sleeping, never apply any powder to the area, rather get your baby to his or her doctor immediately.
Is baby powder safe for newborns?
It’s best not to use any kind of powder on a baby less than two weeks old. After that point, make sure you never apply baby powder directly to your infant; instead, put some in your hand and then gently apply it to the baby after he or she has been powdered. You should also make sure to never use any kind of powder on your infant if you are not sure what is in it, when in doubt always consult with your doctor before applying anything new to them
What is a baby powder made of?
Baby powder is made of talcum. Talcum can cause lung problems when used on a baby’s diaper area. The powder is made from the mineral talc, which absorbs moisture. If you have a rash or burn on your skin, the talcum makes the moisture go away and cools it down. It may seem like a good idea to use baby powder for this purpose, but it is not safe to use on a diaper area.
What to use instead of baby powder?
You can try talcum-free natural cornstarch powders that work just as well without the risk of any respiratory irritation or other side effects. If you do not want to go this route, pure magnesium carbonate is also an option you should consider.
Why is baby powder not recommended?
Baby powder is not recommended for use on infants because it can irritate the respiratory passages. Baby powder with talcum powder has been linked to causing lung issues, such as asthma and other breathing difficulties, in some babies who have prolonged or close contact with these products.
Tips for Using Baby Powder Safely:
- Do not apply directly. Do not ever apply any powder directly to your baby.
- Apply after bathing and always after diaper changes. Be sure that you apply the powder after your child has been bathed or showered and always after changing their diapers.
- Use cornstarch-based powders rather than those containing talc. If you choose to use a baby powder, choose a cornstarch-based one rather than those containing talcum to avoid the risk of respiratory irritation.
- Store powders out of reach from children. It is always better to err on the side of caution and store your baby powder away from children so that they can’t get into it.
- Be mindful of dust. Baby powder can produce dust when you use it, so be sure to keep your child away from the area for a few minutes after you put it on. The dust can irritate their lungs if they breathe it in.
- Do not rub it with your hands. Do not ever massage the baby powder into your skin, especially if you are using talc-containing powders. This can actually move the particles through your skin and into your respiratory system, which can cause problems like asthma.
- Do not apply to broken or irritated skin. If you have a rash on your child’s bottom, do not use baby powder on it without checking with his or her doctor.
- Do not use other powders. Stay away from using any kind of powder on your child’s diaper area other than the baby powder recommended by your doctor.
- Use sparingly. Use just light dusting to avoid getting it into your child’s respiratory system or onto his or her skin, which can cause irritation.
- Wash your hands after. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you touch any baby powder, which can cause irritation if it gets into your eyes or onto your skin.
- Do not use scented powders. While some parents like the idea of using scented baby powder to make their child smell nice, this is not a good idea because the powder can irritate your child’s respiratory system.
- Avoid too much powder in one area. Stay away from applying too much baby powder to any one spot on your child, which can cause skin irritation or other problems.
Can I use baby powder on babies bottoms?
A light dusting of talcum-free powder is usually safe, but it is best to consult with your child’s doctor before using baby powder on an infant.
Some parents like the smell of scented baby powders, but you should avoid using perfumed versions to prevent breathing problems. Less is more when it comes to this type of product.
Baby powder vs cream for diaper rash
While baby powder is not recommended for long-term use, you can use it to fight diaper rash because it can form a barrier between the skin and your child’s diaper. A talcum-free baby powder can also help keep your child cooler in hot weather. If you choose to apply baby powder to your child, use it sparingly and only after changing their diaper.
Do not apply powders of any kind to your baby’s skin without checking with his or her doctor first. If you are worried about diaper rash, choose a product that will fight the bacteria that causes it rather than simply covering up the rash.
The scented versions of baby powders may contain chemicals which can irritate your child’s skin, so avoid them. Be careful not to use too much powder on any one spot on your child’s skin, and apply it only after changing their diaper.
You should never put natural talc (such as that found in some baby powders or bath products) anywhere near your baby’s genitals or on broken skin.
Natural talc used in cosmetic products may contain asbestos, which can cause cancer when it is inhaled. If your child is younger than 6 months old, do not use any kind of powder on their diaper area.
When should I use baby powder?
There are some times when using baby powder is okay, though you should still check with the doctor before using it.
- When your child has just had a bath and needs to be dried off. A light dusting of talcum-free powder can help absorb moisture and prevent diaper rash by keeping your child’s skin dry.
- When there is a light dusting of snow on the ground. If your child is going out to play in a snowy area, a little baby powder can keep their diaper from getting wet.
- When you have a sweaty child who needs to be dried off after a bath or playing outside in hot weather.
- You can use baby powder occasionally when it is talcum-free, but use it sparingly and only after checking with your doctor.
- It is best not to use baby powder on a regular basis for any reason because the small particles can irritate your child’s respiratory system. Even scented powders should be avoided if they contain chemicals or fragrances that can trigger allergies in some children.
When should I not use baby powder?
- You should never apply natural talc (such as that found in some baby powders or bath products) anywhere near your baby’s genitals or on broken skin, as it can cause irritation and infection. Your child is more at risk if he or she has any type of health condition that weakens the immune system. If your child is younger than 6 months old, do not use any kind of powder on their diaper area.
- Never apply baby powder to a baby’s skin without checking with his or her doctor first as some powders can be quite irritating to tender skin. In fact, talcum-free baby powder is really the only kind that should be used at all.
- If your child has asthma or if there are signs of breathing problems, do not use baby powder. A light dusting of talcum-free powder can help absorb moisture and prevent diaper rash by keeping your child’s skin dry, but it should never be applied directly to your child’s skin.
- Do not use scented baby powders near a baby or young child who has allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems. Natural talc used in cosmetic products may contain asbestos, which can cause cancer when it is inhaled, and the chemicals and fragrances found in scented powders can trigger allergies in some children.
What to do if baby inhaled baby powder
If your baby inhales baby powder, get medical help immediately. Breathing in talcum dust can cause serious lung problems, so call Poison Control or 911 right away.
Symptoms of a mild inhalation episode may include coughing and a runny nose or watering eyes after a baby has played with a container of powder or when changing a diaper. These symptoms tend to be temporary and should go away on their own if your baby’s breathing is not obstructed.
If there are severe signs of inhalation, such as wheezing or severe coughing that does not stop, you will probably need to go to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment.
A serious inhalation episode can result in pneumonia, which is a lung infection. Pneumonia can be life-threatening for an infant or young child, so do not wait to call 911 if you notice it.
Baby powder is a traditional method of keeping a baby dry and fresh smelling. However, this product is not recommended to use on or around infants because it can cause respiratory irritation in them. If you wish to use powder on your infant, make sure the product is talcum-free and does not contain anything that could be harmful
Sandra W. Bullock is a grand-mom to two boys and is part of the review board here at Motherhood HQ. She is responsible for the quality control of content and is among our most experienced moms. She has over 20 years of writing parenting content online focussing on baby safety indoors and outdoors. She has written widely on babyproofing nurseries and homes for infants and toddlers and published work on privacy and the safety of baby monitors. She is a renowned advocate for non-wifi baby monitors that cannot be hacked and spends a lot of time educating parents on how to secure their homes – including ways to secure the baby from harm in and around homes. Sandra is a native of Atlanta where she also works. She can be reached using her email, Sandra.w(at)motherhoodhq.com