Dos and Don'ts of Essential Oils With Kids

For many households, essential oils are used for their physical and mental therapeutic properties. Besides smelling wonderful, essential oils contain potent, natural healing properties that can directly lift your mood and improve your overall well-being. Essential oils have been found to aid with sleep, stress relief, energy, meditation, and can be used as a natural alternative to heal allergic reactions or skin problems.  

When teaching your own children about how to stay healthy, essential oils are a fun, wonderful smelling way to get kids excited about wellness! Essential oils are very powerful and must be handled safely, which is why we’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to introducing children to essential oils.

DO: Dilute all essential oils that come in contact with your children's skin.

Kids can have very strong reactions to essential oils, so it’s imperative that parents make sure they are properly diluting all essential oils before it comes in contact with their children's skin. Essential oils are extremely concentrated, so improper dilution can result in topical irritation, allergic reactions, and other problems. Always make sure to mix the concentrated essential oils with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil before skin application.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to dilution is:

    .25% for ages 2 to 6 (1 drop of essential oil per 4 teaspoons of carrier oil)

    1% for ages 6+ (1 drop of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil)

Once properly diluted, massage the lotion into your child's feet or on their back or chest.  These massages are great ways to help your child fall asleep, meditate, or relieve allergies or congestion.    

DON'T: Allow your kid to ingest any essential oils.

Keep all essential oils out of reach of children as ingestion can be toxic.  

DO: Consider adding essential oils to a bath or using a diffuser

Instead of adding essential oils straight to your child’s skin you can add oil to their bathwater for a particularly calming bath, or use a diffuser for an easy aromatherapy treatment.

For bath time: Never add essential oils straight to their bathwater, instead dilute with a water soluble carrier, such as raw unfiltered honey or vegetable glycerin. Adding diluted calming oils such as lavender, frankincense, or german chamomile can relax your child and prepare them for a great night of sleep.

DON'T: Use on children under the age of 2

While certain essential oils can be used on children under the age of 2, always consult with your child’s physician about which oils are safe.

DO: Always test essential oils on yourself first

To best avoid skin irritation or allergies, always test the diluted essential oils on yourself first. We recommend placing a small amount on a sensitive part of your skin, such as the inner wrist, and checking to see if you notice any irritations.

DON’T: Apply several essential oils at once

To get the full benefits of the oils and avoid any allergic reactions, introduce the essential oils to your child one at a time. This will allow you to watch your child for any sort of reaction and, if there is a reaction, sort out which essential oils to avoid in the future.

Safe Essential Oils to Use on your Child:

Tea Tree Oil: Antibacterial and antifungal and great to use on cuts, scrapes, bug bites, and burns.

Lavender Oil: Add to their bedtime or bath time routine to take advantage of this oil’s calming properties, apply before your child’s meditation period, or use to soothe sunburns and boost immunity.

Chamomile Oil: This oil’s intense calming properties can help relieve colic, ear infections, or relax your child for bedtime.

Peppermint Oil: Only use peppermint oil on children 6+ and as it is particularly concentrated! Be extra careful with dilution! Peppermint oil is often used as a stimulant to perk up on a long day but has also been found to relieve nausea and indigestion, help with headaches, and clear congestion.

Citrus Oils (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, etc.): Citrus oils are used primarily for their stimulating properties. They’ve been found to be uplifting and can help relieve stress and anxiety. Citrus oils can also aid in increasing happiness and easing congestion issues. The bright scent is perfect for diffusers in bedrooms and playrooms.

Frankincense: Calming qualities make this oil ideal for meditation or nap time.  It’s also antibacterial and can be used on cuts and burns or to help build and maintain a healthy immune system.

St. John's Wort Oil: This antibacterial is extremely handy in helping out with ear aches and can soothe nerves to assist with nervousness and anxiety.

Essential Oils to Avoid Using on your Child:

This list may not be complete so always check with your child’s physician prior to use, some may vary depending on age of the child.

These oils may lead to skin irritation or cause respiration to slow in certain children.

Lemongrass

Black Seed

Cardamon

Cornmint

Fennel

Wintergreen

Birch

Chaste Tree