Are Essential Oils Safe for Babies and Young Children?
(Please note, the information below are suggestions ONLY. To learn more, we recommend doing your own research on the internet before choosing to use essential oils on children less than two.)
As a new mom, you may often be asked if your baby sleeps through the night. Most people understand that babies may need to be fed and changed in the middle of the night for several months. However, when your baby is older (8 to 18 months) and is still having problems with extended hours of sleep, you may be looking for ways to help them.
When searching the internet for ideas to help your baby, or even a toddler, sleep longer hours, you may have come across suggestions to use essential oils. Some bloggers who will tell you that some essential oils are safe for children who are very young. Others will suggest that you not use essential oils with babies and toddlers at all. With the wide range of those using them, some suggesting caution, and some saying “no” emphatically, you may wonder what the truth is about essential oils and babies. Hopefully, we’ll be able to give you guidelines to help you decide for yourself and your family.
Are essential oils safe to use on babies and small children?
It is not recommended to use ANY essential oils on children less than three months of age. Baby’s skin isn’t as permeable as older children or adult’s skin, so they may have sensitivities to essential oils or anything with a fragrance. If your child was premature, it would be best to wait until a minimum of three months AFTER their due date. Hydrosols, which are produced by distilling fresh flowers, leaves, or fruits with water, are similar to essential oils but are much less concentrated and, therefore, considered safer for babies and children.
Do essential oils have to be diluted for babies and small children?
Most essential oil experts will advise that you never use essential oils undiluted, or ‘neat.’ They recommend that ALL essentials oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, avocado oil, or some other type of oil that would be used for massages.
3 to 6 months - After a baby reaches three months, it is best to use a 0.2% dilution. This would be 1 or 2 drops of essential oil for every ounce of carrier oil you choose. This is the maximum recommended dose to use on babies. The required dilution will change as your child gets older.
Oils that are considered safe for babies three to six months are Chamomile, Dill, Lavender, and Yarrow. You can learn more about these essential oils by searching the internet.
6 months to 2 years - The essential oil dilution for babies over six months is 0.5% which is 3 to 5 drops of essential oil for each ounce of carrier oil.
Oils that are considered safe for babies over six months include the oils above and the following: Cypress, Geranium, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Tangerine, and Tea Tree. There are other oils considered safe, but I didn’t list them here because they can cause skin irritation or phototoxic reactions if you spend time in the sun.
2 to 6 years – Dilution recommendations for essential oils for children in this age range is 2%, which is a total of 20 drops of essential oil for a full ounce of carrier oil. This is the maximum dilution recommended for this age.
Oils considered to be safe for this age range include the previous oils mentioned and the following: Sweet Basil, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Hyssop, Lime, Myrrh, Spearmint, Turmeric, and Vetiver.
We hope the previous information was helpful. From our research, we can see that you should NOT use essential oils on babies younger than 3 months but can start using them in very diluted form after 3 months. Of course, you will want to do your own research and then decide for your own family.