Essential Oils and Children
Lots of mums get nervous about using essential oils on their children with good reason. These oils are highly concentrated and certain ones can certainly be toxic for small children if used incorrectly.
That’s why we did some research on the best and safest practices when using essential oils on children. When using some simple precautions, you can be completely comfortable introducing essential oils to your children.
Here’s what we found:
Only Use Essential Oils on Babies Over 3 Months Old
While there is no set rule for the exact age a child can begin using essential oils, most experts agree that it’s probably a good idea to wait until a child is at least 4 months of age. Babies’ skin is extremely sensitive and under-developed in the early months and could have adverse reactions to any foreign substance.
But even at 4 months, particular oils should be avoided.
Peppermint should only be used on children ages 5 and up.
Rosemary, eucalyptus and cinnamon should be avoided until age 10.
Carefully Test for Allergens
If your child has any known plant allergies, you’ll obviously want to avoid the oils derived from those plants, but if you’re not sure, just start slowly with one oil at a time. Use very small diluted amounts on the leg or arm and keep an eye out for redness or swelling. If the child shows no signs of allergies, you can safely use that oil with the child. It’s best to do this even before diffusing essential oils as allergic reactions in the airway can be harder to detect than a skin reaction.
Reduce Amounts of Essential Oils Used
Amounts of essential oils used on children should always be reduced. For topical application, one or two drops in a tablespoon of carrier oil should suffice. Milder oils such as lavender can be used in a little more volume, but care should always be taken to dilute the oils properly.
Essential Oils for ADD/ADHD
Because so many children are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, a lot of mums are turning to more natural methods for treating it. In many cases, prescription medication can be avoided altogether by using the proper combinations of essential oils.
The best essential oils for ADD/ADHD symptoms are:
- Roman chamomile: calming, comforting
- Frankincense: mental clarity
- Bergamot: mental clarity, peacefulness
- Lavender: calming
- Vetiver: improves focus, calming
- Ylang Ylang: sedative, calming
These essential oils or combinations of any of the oils can be used in amounts of 3-4 drops diluted with a carrier oil. The blends can then be applied to the bottoms of the feet, wrists, and back of neck daily.
Essential Oils for the Outdoors
When summer holiday rolls around, kids naturally want to be outdoors. The trick is finding a way to keep them insect, germ and sunburn free while they enjoy being children. Essential oils are great natural products to help keep your children protected.
Citrus oils work great for repelling insects. You can make a spray by combining 10 drops of lemon and orange in a spray bottle of water and lightly misting the skin. For children over 6, you can also add 2-3 drops of peppermint for an even stronger potion.
To soothe your child’s aching sunburn, make a spray of 10-15 drops of lavender, 10 drops of frankincense and 50 ml of water. Mist skin once or twice daily.
For minor cuts, scrapes and burns, combine 2 drops tea tree oil and 2 drops lavender with 5 ml of a carrier oil such as grapeseed. Apply to wounds once daily to kill germs and speed healing.
Essential Oils for Sleep
Just like adults, some children have trouble falling asleep for any number of reasons. Anxiety and restlessness are not exclusively adult issues. For little ones who have trouble getting their rest, aromatherapy can be a great natural way to lull them to sleep.
Lavender and cedarwood are the kings of the “sleepy oils.” Diffusing a few drops by your child’s bed will have them snoozing away in no time. For an added boost, one or two drops of each with a carrier oil can also be applied to the bottoms of their feet.
While it’s important to use caution when introducing any substance to your child’s body, essential oils are much safer than many over-the-counter and prescription remedies they can be exposed to. If you use the right precautions and always use the proper amounts, they can be used effectively for most common childhood ailments and conditions.