Vicks VapoRub is dangerous for children younger than 2, potentially causing breathing problems and mucus buildup, a new study warns. The popular cream’s label already warns against using it on kids that young, but many parents do it anyway, researchers say, because that’s what their parents did. “People don’t read the warnings on prescription medications,” said the lead author, much less a salve “that has been around for 100 years.”
The study came to the Wake Forest University doctor when an 18-month-old baby was brought to the emergency room with a suddenly severe respiratory problem. The child’s grandparents soon revealed they’d rubbed Vicks under her nose—a trend the study found increased among babies brought to the emergency room.