When you’re a parent, the health and safety of your children is a primary concern. With the new trend in using essential oils, many parents are finding themselves using these products. Since essential oils are not always well-understood, parents may want to know if essential oils are safe to use around babies and children. Since their systems are not fully developed, children can be more sensitive.
To get a better idea of what’s safe to use around your children, this information may be helpful.
Never Allow Children to Ingest Essential Oils
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy and topical applications, but some people may ingest them. They can be used for digestive disorders, for example, and some have found significant benefits. However, when it comes to children or babies, essential oils are not safe. As you may know, essential oils are highly concentrated and are not designed to be ingested by an immature immune system. Even a very small amount could be toxic to your baby. If you’re new to using essential oils, then you need to do some research on essential oils. Websites like AromEssential provide thorough information about essential oils including how to use them, how they’re made, and much more.
Introduce Essential Oils Slowly
Although essential oils can often be used externally with babies and children, you’ll want to follow a few principles. Always make sure that you dilute essential oils. Never use them plain as this can be harmful to your children. Most people will dilute a small amount of oil in vegetable glycerin or other oil. Also, keep any essential oils away from a baby’s face where it can get into their eyes or nose. Secondly, read the warning labels and only use one essential oil at a time. Allergies aren’t any fun and babies can be allergic to certain oils. Since you don’t know until the allergen is introduced, only use one at a time and see if your child appears sensitive to that oil. Also, introduce a very small amount. Your child will probably show some sort of reaction within 15-30 minutes. This is a good idea to note when using aromatherapy or essential oil topically.
Are There Age Limits?
Although it’s not a bad idea to wait until your child is older, you should not use any essential oils on babies that are younger than three months. Their skin is still extremely permeable and more sensitive. For children that were born prematurely, you’ll want to wait until they’re three months past their due date. It may be a good idea to start with oils such as lavender, yarrow, or chamomile as these are “gentler” oils.
Topical Use and Diffusion
Since your child may be more sensitive, it’s a good idea to use one drop of essential oil per one ounce of carrier oil. For older children that are six months and up, you can increase to 3-5 drops of oil per ounce. When your child reaches six months, you can try essential oils such as bergamot, carrot seed, cedarwood, cinnamon, citronella, lemon, and tea tree oil. These oils should still be used with caution, especially cinnamon as it may be slightly irritating to some skin types.
When your children reach two years of age, you can increase the concentration of essential oils in most cases. It may be safe to use up to 20 drops of an essential oil for every ounce of the carrier oil. However, in this age group, you should still research each essential oil and read about the maximum dermal use before trying it. Also, since some children may be more sensitive, don’t increase the concentration if your child has not been tolerating lower doses. Some of the essential oils you can start using at two years or older include basil, cassia, cloverbud, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass.
Essential Oils to Avoid
Although all essential oils need to be used with caution, it is recommended to avoid any thieves blends in children under the age of 10. While these blends provide many benefits for adults, these anti-bacterial blends often contain eucalyptus and rosemary. If you’re interested in finding an essential oil blend that is safe for children, you can often make up your own blend. However, you will need to make sure that each individual oil is safe. Make sure that your child tolerates each individual oil before blending them together.
Most people have a few ways that they use essential oils. Aromatherapy and diffusing the oils is usually the way that people start using oils. Although you should still take note of which oils cannot be used on or around young children, this may be a good way to start introducing oils. Make sure that you’re sticking with the dilution guidelines to avoid any problems.
For younger children and babies, applying the oil topically can be a good idea. Many parents will dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil and then massage the feet of young babies to get the benefits of the oil. In adults, you often use the oil on your chest and back area. However, due to the differences in skin, the feet are usually the safest spot to use the oils and will still provide the benefits you desire.
Using Safe Oils
You can easily find a variety of essential oils to purchase in stores and online. However, not all essential oils are created equally. Some may be imposters and others may not be pure. You’ll want to do your research into every essential oil before purchasing. One quick tip that can also be handy is to read the latin name of the essential oil. This will make sure that you’re getting the consistent oil.
Although essential oils can be used safely on babies and children, you should use caution. Since children have more sensitivities and less developed skin than adults, being cautious with essential oil use can help to prevent any negative side effects. Always make sure to read any warning labels before use and start with small doses for maximum safety.