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Petroleum Jelly

Low Risk

Also known as:

petrolatum Vaseline white petrolatum

Possible Symptoms
  • Choking hazard
  • diarrhea
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out the mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions.


If the petroleum jelly is **MEDICATED** and contains additional ingredients, other symptoms may occur. Call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions.

Additional Information

Children who have access to a jar of the ointment may smear it, play with it, and they may even taste it, but the thickness and bland taste typically results in very little actually ingested.

If swallowed in small amounts, the petroleum jelly can act as a laxative and cause soft or loose stools. There is also a risk for choking if a large amount is put in the mouth and incorrectly swallowed.  If your child has any coughing or choking, even briefly, call the Missouri Poison Center right away. The jelly is an oily substance, and may cause damage to the lungs if it is aspirated (goes down the wrong way).

If you find your child eating some petroleum jelly, do not panic.  Take it away from him or her, wipe off any jelly from their hands, wipe out their mouth with a wet wash cloth, and have them drink some water.

If the petroleum jelly is MEDICATED, this means it contains additional ingredients that can cause more symptoms.  Play it safe and immediately call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 if a medicated lotion was ingested.  The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.

Take The Missouri Poison Center With You

Emergencies don’t wait for you, so you shouldn’t have to wait to call for help. Get the Missouri Poison Center app with poison information and a link to the Poison Help Line. It is just a click away during the most stressful moments. Our registered nurses and pharmacists are here 24/7/365 days a year to help guide you through poison exposures and overdose emergencies.

Don’t wait. Download now.

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