While essential oils can benefit people of all ages, it is important to be cautious when using them on children. Because essential oils are very concentrated and children have such small bodies, it is important to know how to use oils safely with kids.
Essential Oils Safe for Children
There is a lot of controversy about which essential oils should or shouldn’t be used on children. Several oils that are generally considered safe for children include the following:
- Ylang Ylang
*These oils are photosensitive; always dilute, and do not use when skin will be exposed soon to direct sunlight.
**This oil should never be used undiluted on infants or children.
Always Dilute Essential Oils for Children
When using essential oils on children and infants, it is always best to dilute the pure essential oil with a carrier oil. Roll-on bottles work really well for diluting the oils and allowing older children to apply the oils by themselves.
Ways to Use Essential Oils with Children
Essential oils can be used topically and aromatically with children, but they should not be given internally for therapeutic use. Here are a few ways you can use essential oils with children:
- Rub essential oils (diluted with carrier oil or cream) onto feet.
- Diffuse essential oils around the house occasionally. Young children learn about their environment through smell, so be careful not to overload their senses with constant essential oil diffusion.
- Add essential oils to bathtime. A drop of lavender or Roman chamomile added to a bath gel base before mixing with the bathwater can help create a relaxing bath before bed.
- Use essential oils in cooking. When used appropriately in cooking, essential oils are diluted quite a bit and are safe for children to consume.
It is important to keep essential oils out of reach of children. Kids are inherently curious, so if oil bottles are left out, it is very likely your children will try to mimic what they see you do and try to apply the oils to themselves.
Here are a few things you can do if you encounter the following situations:
- Child has poured a bunch of oil on their skin: Rub as off as much oil as possible with a paper towel, then rub on carrier oil to help dilute the essential oil.
- Child got essential oils in their eyes: Saturate a tissue with a carrier oil, and dab the child’s eyes to help dilute the essential oil.
- Child has taken essential oil internally: Give the child milk, yogurt, or honey (if older than 12 months) to help dilute the ingested oil. You also may want to call poison control to see if they have any further instructions.
- Child got oil on clothes, fabric, wood, or furniture: Soak up as much oil as possible with a paper towel; then treat as you would a grease stain.
Essential oils are expensive, so aside from the safety concerns of children using the oils on themselves, you will also want to keep your oils out of reach so they’re not wasted.
Source: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, pp. 247–49.
For more information about essential oils and how to use them on children, please see Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils for more information.
These are a few of our favorite ways you can use essential oils with children: