Massaging low-birth-weight infants with sunflower seed oil is a simple
and low-cost way to protect them against infection, according to a new study
published online on March 3 in the Lancet (http://www.thelancet.com).
Preterm infants are at high risk of life-threatening infection, in part
because their skin lacks a protective biofilm called vernix. To assess whether
massaging an infant’s skin with sunflower seed oil could provide an
infection-reducing barrier, researchers from the United States and Bangladesh
randomly assigned 497 premature infants to receive massage with the oil, massage
with an ointment called Aquaphor (containing petrolatum, mineral oil, mineral
wax, and lanolin), or no intervention.
Stephenson J. Baby Oil. JAMA. 2005;293(15):1848. doi:10.1001/jama.293.15.1848-b