Just because something is “natural” doesn’t make it safe for all ages. Not all essential oils are safe for babies and kids. Keep reading to learn the safe oils for babies and children.
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 the dangers of white sugar 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, I finally feel equipped to really invest my time in using essential oils.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Kids?
A few years ago, when 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).
RELATED: Pneumonia Home Remedies.
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.
I admit that I’m nervous for him every time we head into sick season again.
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 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 hydrosol 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.
Safe 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.
Safe Essential Oils for Kids
As I read about different blends and remedies, I make notes and consider for a while whether I’d really use them. When something comes up over and over on my list, I order it. I’ve been trying to make sure I have “the basics” on hand, and I’m really happy with these purchases. Here’s my new collection of kid-safe essential oils
Chamomile (German and Roman) Essential Oil
I keep seeing these two versions of chamomile oil, particularly related to sleep – which is why I asked for a diffuser for Christmas. The Kimball kids are well known throughout the world for being terrible sleepers, and I’m a bit desperate to do something about that.
They also are both recommended for stress and joint aches…not that I deal with either of those #bloggerbutt #wantatreadmilldesk
Cedarwood Essential Oil
This is another substitute for some of my non-kid-safe oils that I rely on. Both Cedarwood and Fir Needle are intended to alleviate congestion and improve respiratory distress, and you know – ’tis the season! My 4yo particularly has lung weaknesses in my opinion, and every cold he gets really goes deep into his lungs and impacts his breathing. I will do anything I can to support him and help him through each virus!
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense is supposed to enhance the properties of other oils and make them more effective, and it’s often in blends that I want to make for our family’s health. I saw it again and again, and it can be very, very expensive – but Plant Therapy‘s price is super affordable. #thanksforthat
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is in everything, it seems. Cleaning, calming, illness battles, teething, relaxing, and more – and it’s one of the most kid-safe oils out there. I have gone through a couple small bottles and wanted to get a big one to last a while.
Germ Destroyer & Sniffle Stopper
I have relied on other brands with blends to fight germs and congestion for years, applying topically (diluted of course!) and diffusing. The more I learned, the more I realized that some of the oils in those blends weren’t necessarily safe for kids, and we still have teeny tiny babes around here. I decided that it made zero sense to have oils around at all that I wasn’t comfortable using with my kids – therefore many of my lists of “oils I want” were the ones I was reading about that had similar properties to the oils I already knew how to use, but yet were safe for kids of all ages.
Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly.
Sure, you know not to use EOs straight (neat). But do you know the 1-2-3 math so it’s not too strong or weak?
Print this chart to keep with your oils so you never have to do math in the middle of the night when your LO is congested:
You can read more about why it’s so important to dilute essential oils here, and I know the little chart will be helpful!
I was starting to stockpile individual oils for germs and congestion, and then I found Plant Therapy’s KidSafe synergy line, formulated by Robert Tisserand – they shot to the top of my list quickly!
It’s a good time for a little disclaimer. You’re in the middle of a story here – just a story. From someone who makes sure she knows enough about essential oils to avoid misusing them, but barely the tip of the iceberg about HOW to really use them well. Please don’t take any of this as medical or health advice; it’s just something I’m doing right now and I thought I’d share.
More in the Aromahead Course
Want to see what I learned? I’m excited 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.
If you’re wondering what else you’ll 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)
RELATED: catch this great interview with an aromatherapist from Plant Therapy about Kid-Safe oils!
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.
Essential Oils and the Brain
Watch this quick video for info on the vagus nerve, how essential oils can be a “backdoor” entry to health, and the importance to your whole family of getting into a parasympathetic state more often:
Can’t see the video? Watch Essential Oils and the Brain here on YouTube.
And the oil she held up in the video is one of her own special blends, appropriately called Parasympathetic. You can get your own hands on some here.