“If you live in India, I can guarantee that you must have seen kids being slathered with baby talcum powder! Ever since childhood, we have been bombarded with advertisements about how happy the baby looks when mom is applying the talcum, and how happy the mom looks when the baby does not get a nappy rash… Well, have you ever stopped for a minute to think what did mothers do before the invention of talcum powder? I certainly didn’t until one fine day when I saw one of my dear friends bathing her baby, then applying EVOO instead of baby powder. And when I asked her why she did that, she told me about how her pediatrician advised her against using talcum. It then hit me, the thought, that is talcum powder really necessary for babies? Is it safe? And why Indian mothers are still using them so religiously?”
Some practical thinking behind using baby talc
– Keeps the baby dry and baby’s nappy area rash free
– Baby smells great
– Baby looks fair (yup, lots of people put an insane amount of powder on baby’s face just to make them look fair! Sad but true…)
What is Talc
– Talc is a naturally found clay mineral that contains magnesium silicate
– It is used as a base in many Talcum powders and in many cosmetic products
– Talc is also used in plastic, rubber, paper making, ceramics, in pharmaceuticals and also as a food additive. It is a widely used mineral.
Is Talc Safe for kids?
– American Academy of Paediatrics advises against using it as inhaling talc particles can cause breathing problems in kids. Their tiny lungs cannot handle cloud of talcum powder and makes breathing difficult.
– Some talcum powders contain asbestos, a known lung carcinogen.
– There have been scientific studies that have shown an association between talc and lung and ovarian cancer and there have been studies that showed no such association. More research is definitely needed.
– Talcum powders might be little too harsh for baby’s sensitive skin
So to be on safer side, you might choose to avoid talcum powder and switch to nappy rash creams. But if you are someone who would rather still use it, then here are some tips for you-
Tips for safely using powders on babies
– Keep them out of kid’s reach to prevent ingesting and choking.
– Most reputed baby powder brands also carry formulas made with corn starch instead of talc. Opting for them is a safer option.
– May it be talcum or corn starch one, never apply any powder on baby with a puff. Puffing powder creates a cloud of talc that makes babies inhale more of this unwanted stuff!
– Whenever using baby powder on babies, take a little bit on your palms and rub both your palms together. This too creates a cloud so do this away from the baby. Then gently apply the powder onto baby’s skin with your palms.
Whether or not to use talcum powder on your baby is your choice at the end of the day. You, as a parent have to weigh pros and cons, all we can do is provide you with factual information.
After all, Safe Baby = Happy Baby, and Happy Baby = Happiest Parents…
Happy Parenting 🙂
She is a Registered Dietitian who does not believe in dieting; She has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition but she is not your “I know it all Nutrition Guru!”; She loves food but loves talking about food even more. Her articles are a direct reflection of her personal quest where nutrition science meets real life! Oh, and she is owned by a 3 m.o. naughty kitten 🙂