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16 May 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

Are essential oils safe to use around children?

Here’s how to safely use essential oils to benefit your little ones.

Parents playing with their child.

Many households use essential oils to ensure health and wellness throughout the seasons.

However, essential oils are potent natural products and some parents may worry about the effects on their children. Young people are typically more sensitive to potent products as their systems are still developing, and so you may feel conflicted about whether or not to expose them to essential oils. To put your mind at rest, here’s our guide for safe essential oils use around your kids.

Can essential oils be beneficial for kids?

Essential oils can absolutely be highly beneficial for children in many of the same ways that they can be for adults. Diffusing relaxing oils in the rooms of restless sleepers can help them to sleep through the night. Antibacterial oils can help you to keep your home clean and safe for your kids, whilst decongesting oils can help to open up blocked airways when a child is suffering from a seasonal illness or allergy.

How do I safely use essential oils around my kids?

Diffusion

Diffusing an oil in the living room or your child’s bedroom is a great way to help them experience the benefits of the oil. Always make sure to place the diffuser somewhere that the child can’t knock it over or take it apart, as you don’t want their skin to come into contact with any undiluted oil. Don’t diffuse any oil around children aged six months or younger in a small, confined space – babies have sensitive lungs and the oil in the air may not be beneficial for their airways.

Topical application

Rubbing diluted essential oil on a child’s chest can help to encourage rest and allow them to breathe more easily if they are congested. Whenever you apply an essential oil topically you should always patch test first – especially for a child, in case there are any allergies that haven’t yet revealed themselves.

You should also always heavily dilute with a carrier oil. If the child is younger than two years old, your mixture should contain less than 1% essential oil. You should never apply essential oils topically to children under the age of three months, as their skin is too permeable and delicate.

Storage

This is a simple one – just keep your oils out of reach, and better still, out of sight. Children should never consume essential oils, so be sure to store them somewhere they won’t be investigated.

    Mother and daughter practicing yoga.

    Are there any oils I should not use around children?

    Some people say that peppermint and eucalyptus should not be used around children younger than three years old, due to their potency. However, as every child is different, it’s up to you to determine which oils are right for your child by patch testing and introducing them slowly. With younger children, as a rule, try to aim for gentler oils such as lavender and geranium.

    In summary:

    • Essential oils can be perfectly safe for children when used responsibly.
    • Always heavily dilute your oils, and always do a patch test, just in case.
    • Avoid using essential oils around children younger than three months.
    • Remember – if you follow the safety information then your children can benefit from essential oils in a number of ways.

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