The Ultimate Guide: Are Essential Oils Safe for Babies and Children?

Are essential oils safe for babies and children? This question often sparks debates. The truth is, essential oils can indeed offer numerous health benefits, but it's crucial to understand how to use them safely, especially when it comes to the delicate skin and developing body systems of infants and young children. 

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts, containing many aromatic compounds. While they provide therapeutic effects, their strong nature requires cautious application, particularly for babies and children. Here's what you need to know to ensure safe usage: 

Understanding Skin Barrier Function

The skin acts as a vital barrier against harmful pathogens. However, in newborns, this barrier isn't fully developed and continues maturing throughout the first year of life. As a result, their skin is more vulnerable to chemical damage and infections. This vulnerability highlights the importance of careful essential oil usage during infancy.

Safety Precautions:

  • Always store essential oils out of children's reach.
  • Never use undiluted essential oils directly on the skin or in the bath.
  • Never place essential oils in the child’s nostrils, even when diluted.
  • Avoid exposing young children to strong essential oil vapours.
  • Exercise caution when diffusing essential oils around children with asthma, ensuring proper ventilation and monitoring for any adverse reactions. 

Specific Considerations for Certain Essential Oils

  • Peppermint essential oil: Avoid use on or near a child's face, for children under two years of age, as it may affect breathing.
  • Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil: While generally safe for diffusion, use caution as it can be too strong around children.
  • Clove essential oil: Avoid topical application on children under two, as it may cause hypersensitivity or skin damage.
  • Cinnamon Bark essential oil (or preparation containing it): should never be diffused around your children and must never be applied to their skin.

Safe Diffusion Practices

  • Diffusing essential oils can be an excellent way to reap their benefits without direct skin contact.
  • Opt for an electric ultrasonic diffuser, adding 8-10 drops of essential oils diluted in water.
  • Ensure the diffuser is placed out of reach of children.
  • Avoid using essential oil burners with candles as they present a fire hazards. 

Age-Appropriate Usage

0-12 weeks old: Avoid applying essential oils directly to the skin. Instead, moisturize with gentle vegetable oils or natural perfume free lotions.

12 weeks to 24 months: Dilute essential oils in a vegetable oil or lotion for topical application but use sparingly to prevent skin irritation. 


Safe Essential Oils for Children

Several essential oils are considered safe for use on children when properly diluted, including: 

  • Roman Chamomile
  • Coriander seed
  • Eucalyptus Radiata
  • Frankincense
  • Howood
  • Lavender
  • Lavandin
  • Lemon
  • Mandarin
  • Palmarosa
  • Sweet Thyme
  • Tea Tree

Essential Oils to Avoid for Children Under 2 years of age

Certain essential oils pose risks for young children and should be avoided, including: 

  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus Globulus
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Red Thyme

In conclusion

Essential oils can be safe and beneficial for babies and children when used correctly and with caution. By following these guidelines and understanding the unique needs of your child, you can harness the power of essential oils for wellness.

Always consult with a professional Aromatherapist before introducing essential oils to infants or children, especially if they have underlying skin or health conditions or sensitivities. 

Here Are Some Essential Oil Recipes To Try

Chesty cough – what to do?

Diffuse a blend of...

  • 3 drops Tea Tree essential oil
  • 3 drops Lavandin essential oil
  • 4 drops Lemon essential oil

Add to your diffuser with water.

Set to intermittent diffusion (if your diffuser has that setting)

And allow these oils to diffuse while the child plays around the house or while sleeping. 

Chest rub:

For children under 2 years:

Add one drop of OBUS Young Support
One drops of Lavandin essential oil

To 10mls of Grapeseed oil

Apply to the child’s back before bedtime. 

For children 2-4 years:

Add three drops of OBUS Young Support
Two drops Lavandin and one drop of Tea Tree

To 10mls of Grapeseed oil

Apply to the child’s back and chest before bedtime. 

Aid sleep – some things to try.

Diffuse a blend of...

3 Drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
4 Drops Lavender essential oil
4 Drops Mandarin essential oil

Add to your diffuser with water.

Set to intermittent diffusion (if your diffuser has that setting)

About an hour before bedtime allow these oils to diffuse in a room where the child is playing and then transfer it to the child’s bedroom. 

Create a wonderful bath time routine.

Blend 10ml of unscented liquid soap with...

3 drops of Roman Chamomile essential oil and
3 drops Mandarin essential oil

Mix well.

Fill bath and add this blend just before the child gets in.

Stir to allow the essential oil and soap to completely disperse in the bath water.

Allow the child to play and enjoy the aroma. 

Build a strong immune system for school going children.

Diffusing essential oils around children as they play or sleep can support the action of their developing immune system.

2 or 3 times a week is sufficient to support the body.

Good oils to choose from are:

  • Tea Tree
  • Lavender
  • Sweet Thyme
  • Palmarosa
  • Lemon

Have fun creating your own favourite aromatic blends and allow yourself to be guided by your nose!