I am a mama hear me roar. All I want for my kids, is health, happiness, and the chance for them to experience life to its fullest without any pain or suffering. It’s really what all mamas out there want for their children. The hardest thing about being a parent is making decisions for my daughters that could affect those things. Keeping them healthy and safe can be a difficult task, and using essential oils to help naturally heal them is no exception. Essential oils, no matter the quality or brand of the oil, are an extremely concentrated combination of multiple chemical constituents and therefore require a certain amount of concern with safety when using them. Today I am going to tell you about safe essential oil use with babies and children!
All of the safety rules outlined on my previous safety post, still stand true with children, but we must be even more careful when using essential oils around babies and children. Essential oils should be much more diluted for use with babies as compared to use with adults. With so many different types of one plant, it’s important to use the correct species of essential oil. To make this easier for you and to take out the guesswork, I have added the Latin names of the essential oils that I list. All of the Latin names listed are the type of that essential oil that is deemed safe for use. When purchasing essential oils, be sure to note the Latin name of the essential oil you are purchasing, to make sure you are getting the right one.
Babies and Children should never ingest essential oils
Keep all essential oils out of reach of children and babies. Certain essential oils could be toxic if ingested. No essential oil should be given orally to children. I strongly recommend topical application for babies and children because, a part from the essential oil effects, it also involves the most powerful healing factor: the love, care and skin contact between the mum and the baby/child.
If your child accidentally ingests some essential oils, DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Call your general practitioner unless signs of poisoning are present, then you should immediately bring your child and the bottle that was consumed, to the nearest emergency room. You can read more about ingesting essential oils in my post The Case for Ingestion – Is Ingesting Essential Oils Safe?
Dilution is very important for ALL essential oils
There is no exception in this category. No matter what brand you use, what essential oil it is, or how much you are using, it is not safe to use ANY essential oil neat (without a carrier oil or some other dilution material). ALL essential oils should be diluted for use with babies and children. It is also important to note that when adding essential oils to baths of children, they must first be diluted in a water soluble carrier, such as raw unfiltered honey or vegetable glycerin. Adding essential oils straight to bath water, without a carrier, runs you the risk of causing irritation to the skin. There are many applications for essential oils with babies and children, but they should be kept away from a child’s face. Essential oils should not be used in or around the nose in children. I often suggest massaging the feet with young babies rather than the chest and back, for the safest application of essential oils.
Slowly introduce one essential oil at a time
Allergies are no fun. When introducing essential oils to babies, you have to remember that you haven’t yet discovered the things they are allergic to. It’s important to introduce essential oils one at a time and sparingly, to both watch your baby for any sort of reaction and to allow your baby’s body to slowly become introduced to that essential oil. Do not introduce more than one essential oil in one day. If your baby is going to have a reaction to an essential oil they will likely show signs of a reaction in the first 15-30 minutes after inhalation or dermal application.
What age is safe to use what oils?
This is a question that has run through my mind so often in the last three years. Through all of my reading, I have found quite a bit of good information, but there is still very little known about the use of many essential oils on babies and children. It is best to use your judgment when choosing essential oils for your child. I have spent hours pouring over my essential books and school materials, to find as much information about each of the most commonly found essential oils that you can purchase on the market. I based a lot of the information provided below, upon the most up to date essential oil safety research that is detailed in Essential Oil Safety – By Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
It is not advised to use essential oils on babies less than 3 months of age because their skin is not mature yet and therefore more permeable and sensitive to essential oils. Unlike adults, newborns are also not as capable of dealing with adverse reactions to essential oils. There should be even more caution with premature babies, avoiding all essential oil use until they reach at least 3 months after their due date. This is just a general guideline and great care should be taken to research each essential oil’s maximum dermal use individually before use. Hydrosols are a much gentler and safer option for babies, where essential oils can’t be used.
Essential oils safe for topical use/difusión on babies 3+ months
The maximum recommended amount of essential oils used on babies 3+ months topically, should not exceed .2% of the recipe, or 1-2 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
- Chamomile, Roman and German (Anthemis nobilis, Matricaria rectutita)
- Dill weed (Anthum graveolens)
- Fir needle (Abies sibirica)
- Lavender – (Lavendula angustifolia)
- Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia)
- Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Essential oils safe for topical use/diffusion on babies 6+ months
This is just a general guideline and great care should be taken to research each essential oil’s maximum dermal use individually before use. The maximum recommended amount of essential oils used on babies 6+ months topically, should not exceed .5% of the recipe, or 3-5 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
- Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)
- Cedarwood, Atlas/Virginia (Cedrus atlantica, Cedrus deodora, Juniperus virginiana)
- Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum verum)
- Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus)
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
- Cypress (Cupressus sempervires)
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
- Helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium, Helichrysum italicum)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Marjoram (Marjorana hortensis)
- Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
- Neroli (Citrus aurantium)
- Palma Rosa (Cymbopogon martinii)
- Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium)
- Pine (pinus divaricata, pinus resinosa, pinus strobus, pinus sylvestris)
- Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
- Rose Otto (Rosa damascena)
- Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
- Spruce (picea abies, picea glauca, picea mariana, picea rubens)
- Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)
- Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Essential oils safe for topical use/diffusion on children 2+ years
This is just a general guideline and great care should be taken to research each essential oil’s maximum dermal use individually before use. The maximum recommended amount of essential oils used on children 2+ years topically, should not exceed 2% of the recipe, or 20 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
- Basil, Lemon (Ociumum x citriodorum)
- Basil, Sweet (Ocimum basilicum)
- Benzoin (Styrax benzoin, Styrax paralleloneurus)
- Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
- Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
- Clove Bud/Clove Leaf (Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia aromatica, Eugenia caryophyllata)
- Copaiba Basalm (Copaifera officinalis)
- Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
- Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
- Lemongrass (Andropogon citratus, Andropogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon flexuosus)
- Lime (Citrus x aurantifolia)
- Melissa/Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
- Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
- Oregano (Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, Origanum compactum, Origanum hirtum, Thymbra capitata, Thymus capitatus, Coridothymus capitatus, Satureeja capitata)
- Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
- Spearmint (Mentha cardiaca, Mentha spicata)
- Tea Tree, Lemon (Leptospermum petersonii, Leptospermum citratum, Leptospermum liversidgei)
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris, Thymus Zygis)
- Tumeric (Curcuma longa)
- Verbena, Lemon (Aloysia triphylla, Aloysia citriodora, Lippa citriodora, Lippa triphylla)
- Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
- Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
Essential oils safe for topical use/diffusion on children 6+ years
This is just a general guideline and great care should be taken to research each essential oil’s maximum dermal use individually before use. The maximum recommended amount of essential oils used on children 6+ years topically, should not exceed 3% of the recipe, or 30 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
- Anise/Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
- Anise, Star (Illicium verum)
- Cajeput (Melaleuca cajuputi, Melaleuca leucadendron)
- Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
- Cornmint (Mentha arvensis, Mentha canadensis)
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii)
- Fennel, sweet and bitter (Foeniculum vulgare)
- Laurel Leaf/Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
- Marjoram, Spanish (Thymus mastichina)
- Niaouli (cineole chemotype)
- Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis, Salvia fruiticosa, Salvia tribola, Salvia apiana)