Essential oils hold a lot of benefits for our health and well-being. As a parent, you want to include your children in your approach to natural health. And what a fantastic parenting opportunity that is! In this article, you’ll discover some of the easy and practical tips that help you teach aromatherapy to your children. Learning safe essential oils use for kids will be a joyful experience for everyone involved.
How Can Essential Oils Help Children?
The many health benefits of essential oils are genuinely extraordinary. Children struggle with their own set of emotional and physical needs. From sleeping problems to bug bites; from social anxiety or difficulty focusing at school.
- See also: 5 Oils to Support Your Kids at School
Supporting your children with essential oils will come as a natural extension of your own practice of using essential oils in day to day life. If done correctly and with the appropriate understanding for age appropriate essential oils use on kids, it’s of course completely fine to use essential oils for kids’ aliments, too!
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Why the Special Considerations?
- Children are particularly sensitive to aroma
- Children’s skin is more sensitive to products applied
- Children’s immune systems are still under development
- Children have less body mass to absorb and balance intake of outside influences
A Child’s Timeline for Using Essential Oils
As children grow, so does their immune system and many other parts of their bodily functions. It comes as no surprise then, that aromatherapy for kids is based on an age-appropriate timeline. Please consult with an aromatherapist or medical professional before using essential oils on children under two years of age. The general milestone steps are as follows:
- Under the age of 6 months, absolutely avoid any contact with essential oils.
- From 6-24 months, you may start to consider diffusing kid safe oils for short periods of time and for a specific purpose around your youngster. Do not make a habit of applying essential oils topically yet, except for one-off acute cases (such as a bug bite), and of course ensure appropriate dilution of 0.5% at this age.
- After 2 years, topical dilution at 1% is okay. Essential oil hydrosols are also a gentle way to introduce your child to essential oils, and are safe to use.
- By age 6, most children’s immune system will have matured and their thicker skin provides more protection for most topical essential oil applications 1. 2% dilution is okay for most oils and most kids. Consult a Certified Aromatherapist to make sure.
- A few select essential oils remain avoidable until age 10, but after that age, no more special considerations apply.
Which Essential Oils to Avoid on Kids
Some essential oils are simply not safe to use around children, in no way. Not to inhale, and not topically. This is where it gets a little bit complicated. As there are multiple species (also called “chemotypes”) of an essential oil, you absolutely must pay attention to these fineprints. While some chemotypes may be safe, a different species may be considered troublesome for children. In general, look for high amounts of 1,8-Cineole, which is not safe for kids.
On www.usingeossafely.com, author Lea Jacobson provides a fantastic alphabetical list of essential oils to avoid on kids, and at which ages. Find it here.
From that list, I thought it was especially important to note the top 3 essential oils to avoid with kids:
- Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus Autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii): do not use on children under age 10.
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita): do not use on children under age 6.
- Rosemary 1,8-cineole chemotype (Rosmarinus officinalis) – do not use on children under 10.
Best Essential Oil Sets for Kids
Adults have long been using essential oils for various purposes. But kids have different immune systems and different needs when it comes to supporting them naturally.
As a parent, choose to use essential oils made specifically for kids, which means you won’t have to worry about any tolerance issues or skin rash problems since they are completely safe and custom formulated for the youngsters.
I’ve also created a comprehensive guide on age-appropriate aromatherapy for kids, including safe dilution rates, an age guide, and other supporting information. In this current article, I will focus on introducing 3 kid-safe essential oil starter kits, plus show you how to use them for typical ailments that school-going children face.
Let me introduce you to 3 fantastic essential oil starter kits for kids:
1. Rocky Mountain Oils Kids Daily Essential Oils Kit
The Rocky Mountain Oils’ Kids Line is especially formulated for children aged 2+ and sold in handy roll-on bottles. This means that the essential oils will be pre-diluted to safe rates so you don’t have to worry about applying too much or too little.
The RMO Kids essential oils are stored in a roller application bottle for super easy use. Roll-ons make a fantastic “quick fix” first aid helper for any mom purse when on-the-go! I always have a roll-on or two stashed away for sure!
2. Plant Therapy KidSafe Essential Oils Line
The essential oils brand Edens Garden offers a kid-safe line of essential oils titled OK FOR KIDS™. Formulated by the team of Sylla Sheppard-Hanger (aromatherapist) and Dr. Robert Pappas (essential oil chemist), blends are made to support children AND their parents with the most common ailments during school going months.
Plant Therapy’s KidSafe® line of essential oils is a bit more comprehensive than Rocky Mountain Oils’. Same as RMO, Plant Therapy also offers pre-diluted roll-ons, but additionally they also sell single KidSafe® essential ois, KidSafe® essential oil blends, plus KidSafe® ORGANIC essential oil blends.
If your pre-schooler already has a diffuser in his or her bedroom, these oils are the perfect back to school motivational gift to encourage better focus for homework, help support a sniffly nose, or combat feelings of classroom anxiety.
The Plant Therapy KidSafe line is rated safe for children aged 2+.
3. Edens Garden OK for Kids Essential Oils
The OK For Kids collection is safe to be used on kids and adults 2+. They can be used on children younger than two, however it is recommended to work with your child’s pediatrician and preferably an aromatherapist as well who can analyze your child’s medical intake, and provide safe and effective guidelines that meet your child’s specific needs.
The younger the child, the more sensitive they are to essential oils, so for this reason, special special precautions are recommended with kids younger than 2.
The Ok for Kids line includes essential oil roll-ons, essential oil blends, and essential oil kits. No single “Ok for Kids” oils are sold, only Plant Therapy does that.
Combined with ultra-fun graphic labels and packaging, Edens Gardens’ essential oils for kids are sure to be a back to school hit.
Essential Oils for Calming Kids
- Lavender oil possesses an extremely distinctive yet soothing scent. It has almost become a symbol of aromatherapy itself! Use it for sleep, calming, relaxation and topically for bug bites, scratches and bruises. Lavender essential oils may also be added to steam showers or a huge basin of hot water for your kid to inhale (to ease chest congestion). Please note you should never apply essential oils (not even Lavender) neat to your skin.
Essential Oils for ADHD Kids
- Diffuse gentle Chamomile oil to aid your child’s hyperactivity and help them control impulse behavior. Both varieties of German and Roman Chamomile are fine to use. They are naturally soothing and can also be used to aid insomnia in both adults and babies. Chamomile paired with Lavender may relieve symptoms of colic 4.
Essential Oils for Indigestion in Kids
When your son or daughter comes home feeling a little fatigued and is starting to get congested, your heart may sink. The first and easiest supporting home remedies are to have him or her drink enough water, and get enough rest. If you wish to use your aromatherapy knowledge (and stash of essential oils!) to aid a crampy tummy, you can also use PoopEase™ from Plant Therapy.
- Use Plant Therapy’s PoopEase™ blend to help with troublesome bowel movements. Not only can indigestion and constipation be painful, but it can also lead to potty anxiety in your child. Dilute 2% of the blend into a carrier oil of choice and massage in a clockwise circular motion to the lower abdomen. Best applied 1-2 times daily, especially prior to bedtime. Use over the course of a few days to notice results.
How to Apply Essential Oils on Children
If you’re wondering how, and how often, to apply oils on your children, this is an incredibly tough question to answer. It depends on which oils you plan to use, and for how long of a time period. It also depends on the overall condition of your child. If you want a finite answer, consult your local Certified Aromatherapist for an individual assessment and treatment plan.
As a generalization, the best comparison I like to give, is like this: Using essential oils is like eating food: strive for a balanced diet. If you’ve been using Lavender for a day or two (or three), switch it up on the fourth day. You wouldn’t eat spaghetti and meat balls for a week straight either, would you?!
Definitely make sure to always dilute essential oils appropriately, and read all special safety precautions or notes on the particular oil you’re going to use. Just like regular medicines, a lot of essential oils oils have cautions for pregnancy and nursing, too.
Signs of Essential Oils Overdose
Essential oils absorb quickly into our body. The smells reach our brain in just a few seconds. Through topical application, it takes about 15-30 minutes on average for the essential oils to make it into your blood stream ². If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with an essential oils overdose ³:
- Skin irritation (rashes, red spots, itchiness)
- Shortness of breath (wheezing)
- Gagging/choking or a persistent cough
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
Please call for immediate medical assistance if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Babies?
Aromatherapy for babies isn’t all that widely practiced, but latest studies have demonstrated that it can have excellent impacts on the well-being of your infant. More information to follow. In the meantime, the following book is a fantastic reference written by a registered nurse trained in herbal medicine, reflexology and massage.
It’s simple for your children to have fun with aromatherapy, and also to keep your kids safe around your oils. Once you’ve decided what natural health means to your family, educate yourself well, and then go and grow from there! Parents all want the very best for their babies and, in regards to essential oils, be sure to get the freshest and healthiest essential oils available. Last but not least, be sure to follow the guidelines for safe use of oils around kids such as proper dilution rates, not ingesting oils and avoiding certain oils for certain ages.
¹ Using Essential Oils Safely with Children: https://www.usingeossafely.com/essential-oils-and-children/
² Dermal Absorption of Essential Oils: https://ndnr.com/mindbody/dermal-absorption-of-essential-oils/
³ Essential oils – Health warning: https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Essential-oils
4 Safe Essential Oils for Babies and How to Use Them: https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/essential-oils-for-babies