Baby Ate Vaseline | Illinois Poison Center 
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My Child Ate Vaseline®

Nov 26, 2020
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This information applies to children who have unintentionally swallowed a small amount. If the child swallowed more than one mouthful, is having symptoms, or if you are not positive of the exact substance or amount swallowed, call your local Poison Center immediately 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a nurse, pharmacist or physician for recommendations specific to your situation. The call is free and confidential.  


  • Toxicity Level:  Minimally toxic in small amounts such as a taste or a lick 


  • What It Is:   Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is a mixture of natural waxes and mineral oils.  It is applied to the skin.


  • Also Known As:  Petroleum jelly, Petrolatum 


  • Toxicity:  Vaseline® is considered to be minimally toxic when ingested.  It can cause a loose or soft stool.


  • Possible Symptoms of Overdose/Poisoning:  Vaseline® is a thick substance and as a result, it can be a choking hazard.  Otherwise, it is only expected to cause a loose or soft stool.

NOTE:  You should be concerned if your child experiences these symptoms:  If your child experiences an episode of choking or coughing on Vaseline®, even briefly, call your local Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.  Because Vaseline® is an oily substance, it can cause damage to the lungs if it goes down the wrong pipe into the lungs (aspirated).



  • What You Should Do:  If your child is not having any symptoms and can swallow easily, give a few sips of water and observe for the symptoms described above.  If a large amount of Vaseline® has been ingested, or the child develops coughing, vomiting or diarrhea, call 1-800-222-1222

NOTE:  If your child has gotten this substance in their eyes, please view our Eye Exposure information.



If you have any further questions about this substance, or if your child is experiencing any symptoms, call the poison center experts who are available 24/7 via the free, confidential helpline: 1-800-222-1222.   Don’t guess, be sure!


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The IPC is the oldest poison center in the U.S. and serves one of the largest populations of all poison centers in the nation (covers all 102 Illinois counties with a total estimated population of nearly 12.9 million).  The IPC:


  • Provides a variety of free education and presentation materials that can be shared with your community (stickers, magnets, posters, children’s activity sheets, handouts, etc.).  Prior to placing your first order, if you haven’t already done so, please complete the free online Poison Prevention Education Course and Resource Center (PPERC) .  Eligible persons: anyone age 13 years or older living/working in Illinois; general public and healthcare providers alike.



  • Saves lives and improves patient care by working hand-in-hand with hospitals in Illinois to provide expert medical advice to doctors, nurses and paramedics treating patients exposed to potentially harmful substances. In addition, the IPC saves the people of Illinois $60 million annually by resolving 90 percent of poisoning cases from the general public over the telephone, preventing unnecessary 911 calls and visits to a doctor or hospital.  Click here for more information.