How to Use Vicks on Toddlers

When your toddler has a cold, nothing matters except making him feel better. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic warn against using cold medications in children under 2 years old, and advise using caution when giving them to children over 2. Oral cold and cough medications can have serious side effects such as convulsions and an increased pulse rate. Vicks VapoRub is applied to your toddler's skin and helps relieve coughing without the side effects that oral cold and cough medicines can cause.

Father comforting sick toddler Credit: Nadezhda1906/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Have your toddler sit or lie in a comfortable position with his shirt or pajama top off. Turning on his favorite cartoon or singing nursery rhymes may help keep him still while you apply the Vicks VapoRub.

Step 2

Use your hands to apply a thick, even layer of Vicks VapoRub to your toddler's chest.

Step 3

Dress your child in a loose top or cover him with a light blanket, so that the vapors can reach his nose and mouth and help ease his cough.

Step 4

Repeat every eight hours as needed, or follow your doctor's directions.

Things You'll Need

  • Vicks VapoRub or BabyRub

  • Loose-fitting shirt, pajama top or lightweight blanket


Don't use Vicks VapoRub on toddlers under 2 years old. Use Vicks BabyRub instead and follow the directions above.


Never put Vicks VapoRub in your toddler's nose or mouth.

Don't heat Vicks VaporRub; doing so can cause serious burns.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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