Here’s Why Talc Based Powder Is Not Safe For Babies

Here’s Why Talc Based Powder Is Not Safe For Babies

10 May 2022 | 4 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 740 Articles

Do you buy and use talc powder for babies to ease their rashes and prevent sweating during summer? You might want to reconsider your decision for a number of reasons as talc based powder can cause several problems to your little one.

Talc powder contains the mineral talc and asbestos. Talc is added to children’s products as well as make up because of it’s silky and soft texture and also because it absorbs moisture. However, breathing in even a small amount of talc is very harmful for babies.

Why Avoid Talc Powder On Newborns?

Using talc powder can pose several issues to infants under 1 year of age. They should only be exposed to any powders if the doctor makes a medical recommendation.

1. Unsafe for baby skin: Since talc contains asbestos, inhaling asbestos through talcum powder causes mesothelioma (tumor affecting the lining of the abdomen or chest) and ovarian cancer. Most loose powder products contain talc, especially baby talc powder. They can also irritate the baby’s delicate skin

2. Harmful for breathing: If your baby inhales talc powder, it can be very harmful as the fine particles present in it can clog the air sacs present in their lungs. It can dry out the mucus membranes and result in respiratory diseases which include asthma, pneumonia, lung fibrosis, respiratory failure and pulmonary talcosis. 

3. Not effective against nappy rash: Contrary to popular belief, talc powder does not protect your baby’s skin against rashes either. Instead, apply barrier cream approved by the paediatrician on their bottom. 

Apply natural baby oil to your baby instead of talc powder / Credit – Verywell Family 

Alternatives to Talc-based Baby Powder

The major risk with baby powders is that babies breathe in the particles which can cause problems. However, in case you want to apply baby powder, look for these safe alternatives- 

  • Oat flour
  • Cornstarch powder
  • Baking soda
  • Diaper rash creams made of zinc (seek approval from your paediatrician)
  • Arrowroot starch powders
  • Tapioca starch powders
Apply cream instead of powder to your babies on face as powders carry risk of inhalation / Credit – Indian News Republic

Safe Ways to Apply Non-Talc Based Powder on Babies

Even if you decide to use non-talc based powders for your baby, make sure you do it carefully as even the tiniest amount of any powder can irritate the baby’s lungs. Put the powder on your hands first, away from your baby, not directly on or near her/him.

  • Do not apply the baby powder directly to the genitals. Only apply a thin layer on the legs and around the genitals. 
  • Be careful of not letting the baby powder get into your baby’s eyes
  • Keep the container of the baby powder away from your baby and from your face as well. This can reduce the risk of accidental inhalation.
  • Shake the baby powder in your hands placing it away from your face. 
  • Don’t allow the powder to build up, wash away any accumulated powder after every diaper change, especially in the folds of baby’s skin.
  • Instead of directly applying the baby powder on the baby, shake it into a cloth and then pat onto the baby’s skin. 

Use Towel to Dry Instead of Talc Powder

Dry your baby’s body using a soft towel. The creases on baby skin can get irritation-free if they are well-dried using a towel. Additionally, you can also use
barrier cream or natural baby oil. If not oil, opt for a lotion to keep the baby’s skin.

Ways to Keep Baby Comfortable During Summers

  • Make them wear light cotton clothes
  • Use a hat and sunglasses that protect against the UV light 
  • Keep yourself and your baby indoors between peak sun hours which is 10 am – 5 pm
  • Place a cotton sheet below your baby’s bottom once during the day to give them  a nappy free time
  • Keep your baby hydrated
  • Avoid feeding them street foods that can make them sick
  • Let your baby cool off with some water play in a safe tub

What to do if Baby’s Face Gets Covered in Talc

Take your baby to the doctor immediately. It can cause talcum powder poisoning  caused by inhaling the talc dust, especially in infants. 

Hence, keep powder containers out of their reach to avoid such accidents. Having said that, it’s best to avoid using powder on babies. Go for a diaper cream that is safe and advised by experts as well.

DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here.

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Suggestions offered by doctors on BabyChakra are of advisory nature i.e., for educational and informational purposes only. Content posted on, created for, or compiled by BabyChakra is not intended or designed to replace your doctor's independent judgment about any symptom, condition, or the appropriateness or risks of a procedure or treatment for a given person.