Sometimes, knowledge is power.
Other times, it’s just paralyzing.
When I finally started really digging into essential oils and learned that many of them aren’t recommended for kids, I freaked out a little bit. I had already used many on the list around and with my kids! Turns out essential oils aren’t necessarily free of side effects.
I felt like a horrible mom, like I might have hurt them while only trying to help. (I bet a lot of parents feel that way when their eyes are opened to Big Pharma and food processing realities, too…but that’s getting off subject here.)
My first instinct was just to pull back.
To quit, mostly.
I didn’t want to use any oils that might hurt my kids, so I didn’t use any at all for a few months.
Then I finally regained the bandwidth to read a bit more, and I added a few super safe oils back to my repertoire.
Now just this month, I finally feel equipped to really invest my time in using essential oils – and just in time, too, as cold and flu season is rapidly approaching.
The Boy Who Breathed Too Fast
Last year, whenever my then two-and-a-half-year-old would get a cold, it seriously affected his breathing – and even his heart rate.
Like, scare-the-parents-out-of-their-wits fast, inhaling about once every two seconds or faster. And his heart would just race like crazy, probably about 2 beats per second. You could hear him struggling to push out his breaths while talking, and while it didn’t hurt him and he didn’t complain at all – he pretty much acted like a normal boy with a little cold – it seemed really serious.
I could tell almost as soon as he got the sniffles if it was going to “go into his lungs” as I described it. What would start as a simple cold acquired from his sister would turn into a hot mess for this one.
I used whatever natural remedies I knew of for the first 24 hours of the cold and then felt compelled to take him to a doctor to make sure nothing uber-serious was going on. It was no big deal, and I learned what to watch for as far as breathing rate (over 40/second and we should call the doc so she can hear it herself).
Did any of the essential oils I had used in a steamy shower during his coughing episodes, some of which are not recommended for kids, permanently impact his lungs?
I had a lot of mommy guilt, even though I know it’s highly unlikely that his “weak lungs” could have been prevented or were caused by anything we did.
As we head into sick season again, I admit that I’m nervous for him.
I’ve found that if I catch the cold at its earliest, before it really digs its claws into him, and knock it out with heavy probiotics, immune boosters from TriLight Health, and immediate essential oil diffusion, I can usually “win” before anything sinks into his lungs. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of chances to test my theory since he’s starting preschool on Monday.
I’m determined not to let his heart rate get so high, so I’m going to have some kid-safe essential oil blends on hand – and I’m learning to make them myself.
I gained access to a 3-hour course on blending essential oils for cold and flu season (put on by the Aromahead Institute), and I admit I was hesitant at first. I saw the list of 5 essential oils to be used and instantly recognized one of them (eucalyptus) as a no-no for kids.
Do I really want to bother with this course? I thought.
I ended up emailing the instructor, certified aromatherapist Andrea Butje, and asked her how she addressed EO safety for kids.
Her answer was above and beyond.
She not only assured me that every blend in her course has a child-safe alternative (and now that I’m in it I see most have two!), but she also sent me an article she’d written all about aromatherapy oils and children.
That’s where I learned about hydrosols, which are healing aromatic water that’s a by-product of the essential oil distillation process.
Hydrosols have a lot of healing powers but they’re much gentler than EOs. Babies’ systems are very delicate and they don’t need a very strong substance to influence them to healing. Andrea uses German Chamomile and Lavender hydrosol – they can go on baby’s skin for a diaper rash or in bath water or on a blanket for aromatherapy.
She did say that one could use EOs with babies but that diffusing those same 2 very gentle ones for only about 15 minutes (before bed, for example) would be plenty. No need to leave the diffuser running overnight.
Recommended Essential Oils for Babies/Infants
- Lavender hydrosol.
- German Chamomile hydrosol.
- Lavender essential oil.
- Cedarwood essential oil.
- Roman Chamomile essential oil.
See below for a separate list and uses for EOs for children.
Do you know how to properly dilute essential oils?
Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly. Knowing you’re supposed to dilute essential oils for use on the skin is a good start – but as usual, I did it wrong for a few years before I got smart enough to find some resources and do the math.
I took a moment to make a one-page printable for you so you can snip an easy-to-read chart and tape it right onto your medicine cabinet door – wherever you keep your essential oils – so it’s always handy. It includes all the dilutions in drops of EO + tsp. or Tbs. of carrier oil for babies, toddlers, younger and older children, and adults. You shouldn’t have to do any math when you need a remedy now (you’re welcome).
My New Wish List Oils Instead of the White Fir
Want to see what I learned? I took a minute this morning to give YOU a sneak peek into the Aromahead cold and flu course so you can see exactly what you’re getting. Check it out:
If you can’t view the video above, see it on YouTube HERE.
More in Aromahead
If you’re wondering what you’d learn in the Aromahead course, here’s a bit more:
EACH recipe has an adult and child version!
- No One Gets Sick in This House, daytime diffuser blend
- Everyone Gets a Good Night’s Sleep, nighttime diffuser blend
- Your Sinuses will Love You, daytime inhaler blend
- Sleep Without Tissues, nighttime inhaler blend
- We Love Being Germ Free! an aloe vera hand cleanser
- Blissful Sleep Salt, nighttime bath salt blend
- I Fee Great! daytime chest and neck blend
- Deep Deep Sleep, nighttime chest and neck blend
If it seems like buying enough oils to blend your own would be too pricey, I have found Plant Therapy to be very inexpensive compared to other equal quality brands, and they have free shipping offered everyday. See for yourself:
- Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
- Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
- Thyme ct. linalol (Thymus vulgaris ct linalol) (but I’m not positive this is the right one – it doesn’t say ct. linalol!)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Cedarwood (Juniperus Virginiana)
Favorite Essential Oils for Children
I promised I’d share these tips from Andrea on essential oils that are recommended for kids under 10 and even some uses for them. It’s a chart I’m printing to hang inside my medicine cabinet!
Thanks to Andrea at the Aromahead Institute for permission to share this info with you!!!
EDIT: I’m surprised to see peppermint there because I’d always heard that it’s not recommended for little ones. In this post the note on peppermint says not to use it on kids under 6 in any fashion, so I’d stick with that! Always better on the safe side.
There’s a Vintage Remedies Course too!
If you wanted even more info, Vintage Remedies is also offering an essential oil class that is extensive – you’ll be amazed.
Vintage Remedies is well respected in the field for being a very balanced source of information, and in fact the entire first module is on how to properly find information. Love. That!
Wanna see inside?
If you can’t see the video above, click HERE to see it on YouTube.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Aromahead Institute, Vintage Remedies and Plant Therapy.