Using Essential Oils Safely for Infants and Toddlers
At Botanical Delights we believe in empowering our customers with safe essential oil information to ensure they get the most out of all their essential oils. For those of you who are familiar with our Botanical Kids line of essential oils, you probably already know that they were formulated for common concerns faced by parents with children 2 and up. But what about children under the age of 2? Can I use essential oils on children under 2? What oils can I use? Is it safe? What dilution rates would I use? These are some of the questions we get asked by our customers a lot, and we have decided it is time to provide a solid, informed response.
Can I use essential oils on children under 2?
The simple answer, yes! Essential oils can be used on and around children under the age of 2. But there are some things to take into consideration.
Which essential oils can I use?
We took the guesswork out of determining which essential oils are safe to use with our little ones. These are the top essential oils for kids through age 10:
Bergamot Citrus bergamia, Citrus aurantium – diffuse for daytime calming
Cedarwood (Atlas) Cedrus atlantica – diffuse for nighttime sedating
Copaiba Copaifera officinalis, Copaifera langsdorfii – apply diluted topically for pain
Fir Needle (Siberian) Abies sibirica – diffuse for respiratory issues
Frankincense Boswellia carterii/sacra/frereana/serrata – apply diluted topically for skin damage
Geranium Pelargonium graveolens, Pelargonium x asperum – diffuse for crankiness
Helichrysum –Helichrysum italicum (Helichrysum angustifolium); Helchrysum stoechas – apply diluted topically for pain
Lavender (Bulgarian) Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula vera – diffuse for calming or sedating, apply diluted topically for pain
Lemon Citrus limon – diffuse to elevate mood, or use in cleaning recipes
Orange (Sweet) Citrus sinensis, Citrus aurantium var sinensis – diffuse for digestive issues
Sandalwood (Australian) Santalum spicatum, Santalum cyngnorum – diffuse for nighttime sedating and apply diluted topically for pain
Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia – diffuse for clearing the air of germs
Signs You Are Overdoing Topical Use:
Some negative reactions can be seen right away:
redness, irritation, itching
This could be due to one of the following:
Using oxidized essential oils
Not diluting the essential oil enough before applying to the skin
Using an essential oil that you are allergic to
Or a combination of the above.
If you notice any of this happening, apply a carrier oil (jojoba, almond, coconut oil) to the site in question, then wash off with warm, soapy water. Re-apply a carrier oil on top to soothe the skin – don't re-apply essential oils on the skin for a few days.
What dilution rate should I use?
The dilution rate you use is one of the most important things to take into consideration when using essential oils with children under 2. As always, we recommend starting with the lowest dilution and working your way up as necessary. Here are the dilution guidelines you should follow for infants and toddlers:
For children ages 0-3 months, we recommend using 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of a carrier oil when used for whole body application. This would leave you with a dilution of 0.1%-0.2%.
For spot usage, you can use 3-9 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier.
For children ages 3-24 months, we recommend using 2-4 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier when used for whole body application. This would leave you with a dilution of 0.25%-0.5%.
For spot usage, you can use 9-27 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce carrier.
Why are essential oils and dilution rates important?
Using essential oils and low dilution rates is important when used on children under the age of 2 for the same reasons it’s important for children 2 and up. Younger children have super sensitive skin. The thin, sensitive skin is much more permeable to essential oils than the skin of an older child or adult. Too high a dilution could cause skin irritation and other problems later down the road.
Are there gentler options?
Having spoken briefly about the risks of using essential oils topically on our little ones, you may be asking… are there gentler options available? The answer is yes!
One of our favorite ways to share essential oils with our little ones creates an emotional and physical bond between baby and parent through touch. To use this method, all you have to do is apply kid safe essential oils to yourself using a low, 1% dilution and then snuggling your baby closely. This allows the baby to obtain the essential oils benefits in an easy, gentle way.
Hydrosols are another great option for babies and can be used for a variety of things. Lavender hydrosol is great to help promote sleep and relaxation for even the fussiest babies. You can spritz the lavender hydrosol directly on the baby, or you can spritz the baby’s bed right before bedtime.
Our Chamomile hydrosol is excellent at providing some gentle, soothing comfort that typically accompanies teething. Soak a clean, warm washcloth in our chamomile hydrosols and gently rub it on the gums or outer jawline.
If your little one develops some skin sensitivity or irritation, our Helichrysum hydrosol is gentle, soothing, and perfect for your little one.
You can also use infused carrier oils (or just plain carrier oils!) on your little one without any added essential oils. I love infusing a carrier oil with organic lavender buds for a gentle, relaxing massage oil. Just fill a sterile jar halfway with organic lavender buds, and then fill it with our Organic Jojoba carrier oil, or another carrier oil of your choice. Let it sit and infuse in a dark, cool place for a couple of weeks. Once you’ve let it infuse, strain the lavender buds, and use as needed.
So what about diffusion?
We’ve talked about how to use essential oils safely through topical application, as well as other safe ways to use essential oils on little ones, but what about diffusion? We recommend diffusing kid safe essential oils for 30-60 minutes a few times a day.
Keep in mind that whenever you have doubts, questions, or just need some reassurance using essential oils on your infants and toddlers, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.