A nurse checks on a patient in the cancer ward

Departments

Naphthalene (mothballs and flakes)

The Victorian Poisons Information Centre does not recommend the use of naphthalene (mothballs or flakes) as a moth repellent in baby clothes or bedding. Babies, particularly those less than six weeks of age, should not wear baby clothes or sleep in bedding stored with naphthalene.

Naphthalene is absorbed well through the skin, especially in young babies. Babies less than six weeks of age are very sensitive to small amounts of naphthalene. They may be poisoned if they have prolonged skin contact with clothes or bedding stored with naphthalene.

Washing the baby's skin or fabrics such as wool with soap or detergent and water does not remove all of the naphthalene.

For further information about naphthalene used in the storage of baby clothes or bedding, or other questions about poisons, ring the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.