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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Talcum Powder

Talcum Powder

For generations, many parents turned to talcum power to protect their baby from diaper rashes, absorb excessive moisture in the folds of their baby's skin, and to soften their baby's skin. Recent studies, however, suggest that this practice may now be unsafe and maybe even deadly. These studies have shown that:

• Talcum powder can easily be inhaled deep into the lungs. The texture of talcum powder is very fine and is easily carried in the air. When the powder gets into the lungs it can lead to such illnesses as pneumonia and inflammation of the airways.

• The aspiration if talcum powder can cause death in babies. It takes a fairly large amount of the powder to completely block a baby's airway, but, unfortunately, it can happen. While every parent tries to be careful while applying powder to their baby, babies are quick and nimble. It is not uncommon for a baby to grab at and spill the powder bottle during a diaper change.

Some scientists even believe that there may be a link between the use of talcum powder in babies and cancer. While studies have been unable to prove this link, there is evidence that may suggest that talcum powder use is an underlying cause of ovarian cancer. Numerous studies have been done on this theory and the only known fact so far is that talcum powder can be found in the ovaries of women, even those women who have not had talcum powder used on them as babies. These women, scientist suspect, inhaled the powder while changing their own children.

Due to the overwhelming evidence that talcum powder can cause illness in a baby, it is routinely suggested by doctors that parents avoid this practice all together. Thankfully, there are alternatives to using talcum powder. Depending on the reason that the talcum powder was used, there are a variety of products available to replace it.

• Cornstarch- cornstarch is a great alternative if a parent wants to apply a layer of moisture absorbing protection to their baby, especially in the diaper area. The particles that make up cornstarch are larger and heavier, and therefore, less likely to be carried in the air.

• Ointments- there are a number of different ointments available that can help to prevent or treat diaper rash. While many parents do not feel that an ointment works as well to absorb moisture, a thin protective layer will protect your baby's skin from absorbing excessive moisture.

• Lotions- lotions that are formulated for a baby's skin work well to keep their skin moisturized and supple. These lotions even come in unscented formulas and formulas specially made for sensitive skin.

If you do not like any of the alternatives, and you are still wishing to use some sort of substance to protect your baby's sensitive skin, it is best if you consult with a doctor or a dermatologist to discuss your safest options.

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