The Baby Powder Controversy

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Just when you thought you’d had just about every debate imaginable regarding pregnancy, parenting, and child care a new culprit enters your life: baby powder.

I know, I know. What could possibly be wrong with baby powder? I mean, the name says it’s for babies. Powder for babies, right?

Well, that’s what I thought but it turns out there is now controversy over whether or not to use baby powder on your baby.

Now, I’m a big baby powder user. In fact, I sprinkle a liberal dusting in nearly every diaper. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across an article on Baby Center in which two pediatricians said they were not so keen on the white stuff.

According to Dr. Jo Ann Rohyans, the first pediatrician named in the article, “baby powder may smell and feel good, but I don’t recommend it — and the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends against it. Powder can cause breathing problems and serious lung damage when inhaled, and it’s not always easy to keep the powder out of the air where your baby might breathe it.”

Rohyans also says there is no evidence baby powder helps to prevent or treat a rash.

The second pediatrician, Dr. Jennifer Shu, agrees with Rohyans. “Pediatricians no longer recommend talc-based baby powders because they’re dangerous if inhaled, but I see no danger in cornstarch-based powders if they’re used sparingly and carefully…there are times when cornstarch powder isn’t a good idea. If your baby’s skin is raw from diaper rash, for example, it’s probably best to keep powder off it and use a diaper ointment or cream instead.”

I just went to check to see if I have cornstarch baby powder, and it turns out I do. But I didn’t buy it on purpose, and I think the powder before this one was talcum-based. So my son is probably going to die from asthma now, right?

After hearing the Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend Baby Powder I did some more investigating and discovered this Wiki page.

Baby powder is unsafe, because it contains various combinations of finely ground particles, which are easily carried through the air, in the same way that dust is. These powders can be easily inhaled and irritate the baby’s lungs possibly resulting in pneumonia, breathing difficulties or even death.

The Wiki page doesn’t even really advocate the corn starch powder saying, “whilst the cornstarch particles are slightly larger, and less airborne than those in the talcum powder, they can still pose a risk to your baby.”

Everyone seems to be advocating not using baby powder at all, and most articles and experts agree: if you must use it, never shake it directly on to your baby’s skin. Instead, hold the powder away from your baby, and shake a small amount into your hand. Keep the baby powder away from your child, and out of reach, at all times.

And I’ve got to be honest: I’m actually pretty shocked. Until just now I hadn’t heard powder was bad and was a big fan. I never apply it carefully either. Oh boy. Yet another thing to add to the list of Ways I’m Probably Killing My Child. And here I just lost my faith in Butt Paste. What’s next? Deadly diapers?

Article Posted 7 years Ago

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