If you’re an essential oil user, you already know they’re strong, concentrated substances. They can be helpful in various situations and that makes parents think about their little ones too. You want only what’s best for them, but for that you must know a few things. Are essential oils safe for children, or not?
And if so, how exactly safe are they? How can you use them on your children without any side effects?
These are all important questions that I intend to answer in the first part of the article. We will set things straight right from the start.
Keep on reading to learn about dosage and safe essential oils you can use. But check out the list of essential oils you shouldn’t use on your child also.
Each age comes with various health concerns. A parent must always take them into consideration before helping his offspring. You have to be well-informed about essential oils when it comes to using them on kids.
After this part, you will be able to see which oils you should keep on hand for your natural first aid kit. Read about their properties and benefits, and find out in what ways they can help your child.
After that, you can draw some inspiration from the blends I’m going to give you. They will be easy to apply and store. Essential oils are a natural way to boost your child’s immune system and protect him at the same time.
Did You Know?
- Pediatricians say it takes about 70 different types of infections for a child to develop an effective immune system!
Are Essential Oils Safe for Children? Things to Consider Before Using Them on Yours
Before answering this important question I will tell you a bit about essential oils. They are concentrated substances, extracted from various plant parts. These parts may be anything from bark and roots to leaves, flowers and even resins. Essential oils are steam distilled.
Note! All citrus essential oils that are not obtained by steam distillation are phototoxic. That means they can cause sensitivity to the skin when exposed to the sun. The skin can burn, get irritated and get blisters quite easily. Mechanically pressed citrus oils should be used only at night!
You might be tempted to think how concentrated can a drop of essential oil (EO) be. Well, imagine that 1 single drop is equal to 20 cups or more of herbal tea! Not even an adult would drink that much tea, let alone a child. So think about this whenever you are tempted to increase the dosage for your child.
Oils are concentrated and very complex. Because of that there are also safety precautions to be taken into account. You can see this list of precautions needed when using essential oils on babies.
Children are a lot more sensitive to the surrounding environment. They are especially more sensitive to essential oils than adults. Depending on their age, they can be more or less so.
For instance, newborn babies under 3 months should never get in contact with aromatic oils. Parents should not diffuse or use oil blends on the little ones until they pass those crucial 3 months.
A few extra safety tips:
- Always test a new oil for allergies first. Apply a diluted drop on the inside of their arms and wait for 24 hours for any skin reactions.
- Never apply undiluted oils around the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
- Do not expose your child to sun if you’ve used a phototoxic oil.
- Always follow the instructions of reputable sources or specialized doctors. Especially when it comes to the appropriate dose and treatment length.
- Make sure the oil bottles are well hidden from children’s reach or sight.
- Always do your research before using any oil on your child.
- Consult a doctor first if your child suffers from any kind of serious ailment.
How to use essential oils for children?
The best methods would be to diffuse them or to apply them diluted, on children’s skin. Never ever give your child essential oils by mouth, especially not without medical advice. Some are very strong and can cause respiratory arrest to children under 2 years old.
The recommended dose is always the smallest:
- 1 drop of EO/Oz. carrier for babies from 3 to 6 months old.
- 1 – 2 drops of EO/Oz. carrier for babies from 6 months to 2 years old.
- 1 – 3 drops of EO/ Oz. carrier for children from 2 years to 6 years old.
- 3 – 6 drops of EO/ Oz. carrier for children above 6 years old.
Eucalyptus species, Rosemary and Peppermint oils must not be used on children under 6. They have a high content of 1, 8 – cineole, menthol and camphor. These substances have been found toxic and dangerous for kids. Camphor can even be lethal in doses of 0, 7 – 1, 5 grams!
The only exception here applies to Eucalyptus smithii. It isn’t harmful so it can be used on kids aged 2 – 6.
The safest natural products to use on babies and children are hydrosols, vegetable butters and carrier oils. Hydrosols are byproducts of essential oils. Therefore, they still have medicinal properties but they are milder. Vegetable oils and butters present no side effects, and they protect your child’s skin and nourish it.
Herbal teas and tinctures are also recommended for their gentle nature to use with kids. They are not as concentrated as essential oils. But they can still provide the nudge your child might need to rebalance his or her health.
Are essential oils safe for children? They are, only if you use the lowest dose allowed. Try to use less essential oil and more hydrosols, teas, tinctures and butters or carrier oils. But know that when you do use them, essential oils may help boost your child’s immune system.
Essential Oils and Children’s Immune System
The immune system must first face infections to create antibodies. Those antibodies will then be able to recognize the infection next time and fight it off.
That’s how an efficient immune system is created: by exposure to many bacteria and germs that cause infections. It may sound cruel because we’re talking about children here, but that’s actually a natural course towards a healthy person.
Washing your child’s face and hands many times a day, without serious reason, won’t help in any way. On the contrary!
Antibiotics and cortisone can exhaust the immune system of a child. Essential oils instead, can stimulate the immune system and strengthen it. I’m referring here to those oils that contain natural antibiotic substances.
Let’s see what essential oils you can use on children, per age category.
3 – 6 months old:
- Blue Yarrow
6 months – 2 years old:
- Rose Otto
- Sweet Orange
- Tea Tree
3 years – 6 years old:
- Balsam Fir
- Black Pepper
- Chamomile (all types)
- Clary Sage
- Mandarin (green)
- Myrtle (red and green)
Remember! You have nothing to worry if you follow the recommendations of reputable sources.
Are essential oils safe for children, was the initial question. The answer is yes, they are. But there are also a few that need medical advice, or else they shouldn’t be used on or around children at all.
The following essential oils for children need to be used only with medical advice:
- Sweet Fennel
- Spike Lavender
- Annual Tansy
- Lemon Myrtle
- Rosemary Verbenone
Essential Oils First Aid Kit for Children
Children who are 3 years old and bigger tend to be very curious. It’s the moment when they start to discover and learn new things. It’s also the age when they get the most bruises, scrapes, insect bites and so on. Because they love the outdoor space so much, it is almost impossible to foresee all the trouble they’d get into.
Now you know that many essential oils are safe for children. That said, I thought I’d give you the most important ones to have at hand. In the next chapter you will also find recipes to make in advance and have prepared, just in case.
Lavender essential oil.
This is one of the safest essential oils for children. It can be used on babies and children of all ages. Lavender oil has calming and soothing qualities. It also has antioxidant, antibacterial and antispasmodic ones. It can help a child sleep better and calm down nervous breakdowns. In time, the child will come to associate the scent of Lavender with everything pleasant and reassuring.
Tea Tree essential oil.
It is a great germ and bacteria killer. If you still tend to ask yourself “are essential oils safe for children?” know that Tea Tree is the second safest oil for them. The next one is Chamomile. This oil has mild antibiotic properties and can stimulate the immune system of your child. It is great to use to relieve coughs and protect against insect bites also.
Frankincense essential oil.
This oil has great sedative qualities. Frankincense is nourishing and it helps regenerate the protective barrier of the skin. It has antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which may also help in creating antibodies.
Sweet Orange essential oil.
Kids love the fragrance of citrus oils! They are very energizing and fresh and they inspire more well-being all around. Orange oil also has antibacterial properties, being great at disinfecting wounds and scrapes. It is a gentle essence that can be used on kids above 6 months old. Beware though, this oil can be phototoxic (sun sensitivity). It needs to be steam distilled to be safe.
Neroli essential oil.
This oil is another uplifting one. It is obtained from the orange blossoms and it has tonic qualities. It can stimulate the immune system, as well as other organs to function properly. Neroli has the ability to close wounds nicely and quiet down digestive or respiratory spasms. This one is another safe oil for children older than 6 months.
So, are essential oils safe for children? They are and they can be very helpful to the little ones. Some of them can even boost the child’s immune system, like those with antibiotic effects. But please do your research in advance, as some oils may encourage bacteria growth.
Useful Recipes for Children
We’ve finally got to the best part about using essential oils, and that is to put them to the test. I’ll give you three recipes. One is for allergy relief, and the other for calming down kids’ aggressiveness. The last one will be a blend for bruises and cuts to make in advance and have at hand for such situations.
KIDS’ Allergy Relief (5+ years old)
- Argan oil: 2 Oz. (60 ml)
- Neroli essential oil: 2 drops
- Cedarwood essential oil: 2 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
Blend the oils together and shake every time before use. Massage your child’s chest at night time and keep it stored in a cool dark place. You can also diffuse this blend, without the carrier oil.
For younger kids you can use hydrosols instead of mixed essential oils. Use only for a period of 3 weeks. Take a week break if necessary before re-applying it.
Calm Down Kids’ Aggressiveness
- Sweet Almond oil: 2 Oz. (60 ml)
- Orange essential oil: 2 drops
- Green Mandarin essential oil: 2 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
Blend well all the oils and then apply on your child’s wrists, temples and chest. Massage gently or diffuse the blend for a few minutes (15 – 20) in a well-ventilated room. This blend should also be used for only 3 weeks with a break in between.
Cuts and Bruises Blend
- Jojoba or Aloe Vera gel: 2 Oz. (60 ml)
- Frankincense essential oil: 3 drops
- Tea Tree essential oil: 3 drops
Shake well the blend before each use. Apply on the bruises and cuts, or scrapes a few times a day until they are healed. This blend will ensure the skin will heal beautifully and won’t become infected.
Are essential oils safe for children? Don’t panic about the safety tips that come with the use of essential oils. They are safe for kids older than 3 months. Try to only use them in necessary cases, and only the lowest dose possible.
One or two drops will always help, no matter the age. Except, of course babies until 6 months old, when it is best to use only one drop of oil. Or use hydrosols and vegetable oils and butters for their sensitive skin.
What have you used so far for your kids? How did they get along and which one was most effective?