Are Essential Oils Safe for Kids?
Those of us who love using essential oils for ourselves always reach the point of wanting to share them with everyone we love. On our mission to introduce the whole family to these amazing oils, we may wonder if it is safe to use essential oils with children. The simple answer to that question is yes. When the proper safety precautions are taken, children can safely enjoy essential oils in many ways. It is best to start by introducing children to essential oils through aromatherapy before venturing into topical application. Aromatherapy can be fun and helpful for kids when used correctly and thoughtfully. Children can use essential oils to help calm stress, improve sleep, soothe upset stomachs, and a long list of other issues that little ones may face. A great idea is to start with an essential oil like lavender and see how the child reacts. Lavender essential oil is gentle, has a long history of use, and contains many beneficial properties. The calming and soothing effects of lavender can help ease children into aromatherapy without overwhelming the senses. It’s important for children to enjoy the aroma and to use devices they can have fun with, like some of our adorable kid diffusers, shaped like animals.
Essential oils are highly concentrated and can easily cause skin irritation if applied directly. Because essential oils are so concentrated, properly diluting them for topical application is key. Children’s skin is a lot more sensitive than ours and proper dilution can ensure they don't have adverse reactions to the potent and powerful essential oils.
It is very important to dilute essential oils before applying them topically.
- For children 6 & under, a 0.25% dilution is the normal recommendation.
- For children 6 & up, a 1% dilution is the normal recommendation.
DO A PATCH TEST
Outside of a known allergy, it is impossible to know for certain how our children’s skin may react to any particular essential oil. A patch test on the skin gives us the chance to see if an essential oil will cause any irritation before we use it topically all over the body. Our children’s skin is much more sensitive than ours and they haven't been exposed to as many natural chemical components as adults may have. This is why it is always best to do a patch test before using any new essential oil topically. Just apply a small amount of diluted essential oil to a patch of skin on the child’s foot or leg, an area of the body where our skin is a little thicker. Wait 24 hours while closely monitoring the area for any signs of itchiness, blistering, swelling, or redness. If these occur, stop use and wash the area immediately with warm water and soap, contacting your pediatrician for further instructions if irritation continues or worsens after washing. Do not use essential oils topically on children under 2 years old.
NEVER APPLY ESSENTIAL OILS, DILUTED OR NOT, TO A CHILD’S FACE
We must always be sure to keep essential oils away from sensitive areas like the eyes, the skin around the eyes, the inner ear, the inner nose, and any injured or damaged skin. To ensure safety, it is best to keep essential oils away from the eyes, mouth, and face. If seeking to relieve congestion or something involving the face, diffuse, steam, or use on a separate part of the child’s body.
TRY ONE OIL AT A TIME
Go slow, and introduce one essential oil at a time. Monitor how the child reacts to each new oil and make sure to ensure they are continuing to enjoy the process. Be sure to always supervise children when using essential oils. Even if your older child may be familiar with essential oils and proper application, supervising and aiding our children with their essential oils is the best way to ensure their safety.
When diffusing essential oils around children for the first several times, diffuse intermittently. 10 minutes on and 20 minutes off is a good starting point for most children. Place the diffuser across the room and not directly next to the child so that they are introduced to the aroma more gradually.
DO NOT USE ESSENTIAL OILS ON CHILDREN UNDER 6MONTHS OLD
Essential oils safe for children 6+ Months
(It’s recommended that essential oils are not used topically for any children under the age of 2 years old. The essential oils below are safe to be diffused for children over 6 months old and safe to apply topically on children over 2 years old when properly diluted.)
- Basil, Sweet
- Black Pepper
- Chamomile, Roman
- Cinnamon Leaf
- Clary Sage
- Fir Needle
- Juniper Berry
- Palo Santo
- Sweet Orange
- Tea Tree
- Cinnamon Bark (Topical use of Cinnamon Bark is NOT recommended at ANY age, including adults.)
- Cinnamon, Cassia
- Clove Bud
- Litsea cubeba
- Ylang Ylang
- Anise Seed
- Camphor, White
- Sage, Dalmation
Essential oils to NEVER use on children of any age
***Skin sensitivity may occur. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted before applying directly to the skin. Keep essential oils out of reach from children. If pregnant or breastfeeding please ask your doctor before use. If you or your child experience any pain, discomfort, coughing, redness, swelling, irritation, etc. stop use immediately and seek medical attention.
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