Using Essential Oils Safely With Babies and Children

Posted by Dima Gouralnik on

As a new mum, I wanted to single handedly protect my gorgeous, fragile perfect baby girl from every single injustice and danger in the world. Nothing artificial, chemical-laden, or toxic could even come near the same zip code as her. If only it were that easy, right? During one of my daughter’s first baths I glanced at the ingredients in her gentle lavender soap only to find a laundry list of toxins. I don’t know about you, but to me any ingredients that take 35 letters and multiple hyphens to spell just can’t be good for my any of us- especially babies!

Fortunately, we live in a time when more and more people are seeking natural wellness in exchange for the artificial, disease-causing products all over store shelves.  Essential oils stand at the forefront of the natural wellness movement thanks to their unbeatable versatility and adaptability.

With that said, the use of essential oils for young children and babies is definitely a controversial issue. Physicians, homeopathic doctors, aromatherapists, and daily EO users have all chimed in to the discussion, and it can be challenging to sift through the information and determine truth from common misconception.  You’ll find everything ranging from, Don’t ever use an essential oil before a child has turned 6, all the way to, I’ve used essential oils from birth with all of my children and had no problem. Everybody is different, and it’s impossible to write one article that can perfectly instruct every parent for every type of child.

Instead, after compiling a great deal of research, I created a few main guidelines to follow for anyone looking to safely use essential oils on children. Keep in mind, I mentioned in The Top 4 Uses of Essential Oils that 1 drop of essential oil is equal to anywhere from 15 to 40 cups of that plant’s tea. Since you wouldn’t force feed your child 25 cups of peppermint tea  in one sitting, it follows that you wouldn’t want to use too much essential oil due to potency. The key to EO use with children is caution so that you can safely help your children attain maximum benefits from essential oils.

Without further ado…

General Guidelines For Safely Using Essential Oils With Babies and Children

  1. Never, ever, ever let babies or children ingest essential oils. Period.
  2. Dilution with a gentle carrier oil is vital! Even if adding essential oils to a bath, they should be blended in a water soluble carrier (like vegetable glycerin or raw honey) first. More on exact dilution ratios down below.
  3. Keep essential oils away from the baby or child’s face. Due to their potency, EO’s can cause respiratory irritation if inhaled too closely.
  4. Introduce essential oils the same way you introduce solid foods- slow and steady, one at a time. That way you can be sure that an oil won’t cause any irritation before adding it to your permanent repertoire.
  5. Don’t use essential oils at all for babies under 3 months old. Their systems just aren’t developed enough to deal with any adverse reactions and their permeable skin can lead to increased sensitivity.
  6. Age and dilution guidelines can be found in the chart below. Remember, these are just general guidelines. Your own care, knowledge, and research is always a good idea before introducing something new to your child.
AGE SAFE OILS DILUTION
3-6 months Chamomile

 

Lavender

0.1% of recipe, or

 

½ to 1 drop EO

per ounce of carrier oil

 

6 months-2 years Bergamot               Rose Otto

 

Cedarwood         Sandalwood

Citronella                Orange

Cypress                  Tea Tree

Geranium              Coriander

Grapefruit              Tangerine

Lemon

Pine

 

 

0.3% of recipe, or

2 drops EO

per ounce (30 mL)

of carrier oil

2 years-6 years Basil                        Myrrh

 

Black Pepper          Oregano

Clary Sage              Marjoram

Clove Bud               Patchouli

Ginger                    Spearmint

Lemongrass            Thyme

Lime                         Tumeric

Lemon Balm            Vetiver

Ylang Ylang             Valarian

1% of recipe, or

 

6 drops EO

per ounce (30 mL)

of carrier oil

6 years-10 years Anise                      Nutmeg

 

Cardamom           Peppermint

Fennel                    Sage

Nutmeg

1.5% of recipe, or

 

10 drops EO

per ounce (30 mL)

of carrier oil

10 years + Eucalyptus

 

Rosemary

2% of recipe, or

 

12 drops EO

per ounce (30 mL)

of carrier oil

The best carrier oils for children are coconut oil and sweet almond oil.

Information paraphrased from Essential Oil Safety – By Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

Now that you’re armed with all of this information, it probably helps to have an idea of how to start utilizing it! Try these safe, gentle recipes below to help your child experience the incredible power of essential oils.

 

Sleepy Baby (3 months +)

-4 drops Lavender

-2 drops Roman Chamomile

-If 3-6 months use 4 ounces Coconut Oil

-If 6 months-2 years use 2 ounces Coconut Oil

-If 2 years+ use 1 ounce Coconut Oil

Massage onto your baby’s feet. For older children you can also massage on legs, arms, back, or stomach.

 

Soothing Calm – For Children with Anxiety (6 months +)

-5 drops Bergamot

-1 drop Lavender

-2 drops Geranium

-For 6 months-2 years use 2 ounces Coconut Oil

-For 2 years + use 1 ounce Coconut Oil

Massage onto feet, back, or stomach. This is also a great blend to diffuse into the air!


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