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Baby Powder: Is It Safe To Apply Powder On Your Baby?

Almost every Indian household has its stock of talcum powder. We have used it for generations. While shopping for the baby or in baby gift baskets, one will always find a bottle of talcum powder. However, questions are being raised on the safety issues of using a talcum powder. If you are perplexed about whether to apply powder on your baby, this article will help you resolve your dilemma. Read on to know my personal experiences and first hand advice from my paediatrician.

► ये आर्टिकल इंग्लिश में है, हिंदी में जानकारी के लिए "Read More" पे क्लिक करें और आर्टिकल के अंत में दिए गए हिंदी वीडियो को देखें. वीडियो में ये जानकारी हिंदी में दी गयी है....

We have all grown up with the use of talcum powder. It has been a tool to combat the effects of a harsh Indian summer- sweating, rashes and body odour. Same for the babies. The fragrance of Johnson baby talc immediately makes us think of a cute and cuddly baby. While preparing for the delivery day and the care of my new born, I too shopped for 3 big bottles of Johnson’s baby powder. It was an obvious purchase to me. However, while being briefed by my doctor about the do’s and don’ts of baby care, baby talcum powder was strictly discouraged to me. This came as a shock to me as the practice of using talcum powder is a habit for everyone at home. I follow the path that I suggest to all parents – discuss all your doubts with your medical practitioner. My doctor took the time to explain to me the reasons for avoiding talcum powder. I have since stopped the use of talcum powder in my household.

Extensive research have established that the fine particles of a talcum powder, during application spread , mix with the air and are carried into the respiratory system. A baby is yet to develop a strong physical system and as the powder particles collect in its lungs, with regular applications the blockage builds up ,dramatically increasing the chances of Asthma, Bronchitis and in severe cases Suffocation and Lung cancer (over time). This fact seemed logical to me as I recalled that we usually shake the bottle of talcum powder and sprinkle it on ourselves. We always find residues of it all around even after application.

I was also made aware that talcum powder is especially harmful for the girl child. Talcum powder when applied regularly to the genital area, increases the chance of ovarian cancer by 40%. This was an eye opener for me. Not only did I become vocal about not using talcum powder on babies, I chose to speak to women around me about the same.

Reference Article_1:https://sarasota.legalexaminer.com/legal/u-s-supreme-court-upholds-2-1-billion-verdict-against-johnson-johnson-for-talc-baby-powder-cancer-case/

Reference Article_2: https://www.healthline.com/health/cancer/does-talc-cause-cancer#the-cancer-link


Taking a step back, I analysed the reasons we choose to use talcum powder and identified alternatives that helps me avoid Talcum Powder.

1. Cooling Agent

We generally use talcum powder to have a cooling effect on the body. For a baby, we use it on the diaper area to keep it cool after every change. I realised that applying coconut oil too keeps the baby’s bottom cool. Diaper rash creams contain zinc oxide that has a similar effect. When we started using “Butt Paste” for Kabir, there seemed to be no need for a talcum powder.

2. Fragrance

Baby powders have been used for long for their “baby fragrance”. Yet at least for the first 6 months, any scented product is discouraged for a baby. Later for the purposes of fragrance, there are wonderful baby moisturisers. Also detergents made specifically for baby clothes have a wonderful mild fragrance. So that eradicates the need for baby powder.

3. Heat rashes

Sweating is a natural process of the body. A baby’s sweat glands are yet to develop fully . Talcum powder, as I learnt, blocks the sweat glands. Any hindrance to a baby development is not desirable. Hence, applying baby talcum powder can only be detrimental. I chose to purchase baby’s clothes pertaining to the climate conditions or adjust the AC temperatures in accordance. For extreme rashes you may still use a medicated powder however it should be in the rarest of scenarios.

For me the bottom line is “no more talcum powder”. Should you choose to use baby powder once a while, it would be best to use the following technique to ensure the safety of the baby. In a different space of your house, away from the baby, take a cloth and put a little bit of the powder. Wrap the cloth and apply the cloth on the desired area. This would limit the ill effects of the powder. Applying talcum powder on the face is not advised. This technique too, should be used as less as possible.


Raising awareness about talcum powders and its ill effects is a must. Parents need to know it for both the safety of their baby and themselves. If there is a history of respiratory infections in the family, cut out talcum powder all together. For women too, it’s best to avoid any talcum powder. Many women have chosen to sue companies for the damage done to their bodies by talcum powder. For this reason, I would request you to share the article and discuss the topic with your near and dear ones.

Do feel free to reach out to me if you have any comments, feedbacks or queries on the same. I endeavour to understand your parenting experiences. Parenting is enjoyable when there is a community to help you overcome any hurdles that you may face. MomCom provides the platform for it. I look forward to interacting with you on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and our website. This content is also available in a video format (link). Enjoy simplified parenting.

♥क्या बच्चों को पाउडर लगाना ठीक है, जानिए इस आर्टिकल में | इस आर्टिकल की जानकारी हिंदी में पाने के लिए नीचे दिए वीडियो को देखें 



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