A lot of people want to use essential oils for their families. Which is great! More natural options, fewer pharmaceuticals.
The problem is, not all essential oils are truly kid-safe. Some shouldn’t be used under age 2. Some shouldn’t be used under age 6. Some, not under age 10.
That can get confusing. How are you supposed to know which ones to use, and when? (Isn’t there enough to deal with, trying to figure out what each oil is good for in the first place?) Plus, why does it matter? Essential oils are natural, so surely they’re safe?
Let’s find out what the recommendations are, and why!
Aren’t Essential Oils Natural?
Yes, essential oils are natural. But they’re also super-concentrated and can have strong effects. They contain natural chemicals which can impact people strongly. Some of these chemicals, when isolated, are used in the preparation of pharmaceuticals.
Essential oils aren’t isolated, of course, so they’re safer (in general). But they should still be treated with caution. Some essential oils have effects that we don’t want for children.
It’s important to know which oils aren’t so safe, and why they’re not — as well as which oils are safe and how to use them.
Which Oils Should Children Avoid?
We’ll break this down by age, for simplicity!
Avoid Under Age 2
These are oils that you should not use in infants or toddlers under age 2:
- Black seed
- Ginger lily
- Lemon leaf
- Lemon balm
- Tea leaf
- Tea tree
Please note that many of these are “no topical use” and in a diffuser would be okay. Only hyssop should not be used at all. These are oils that, while they should be avoided, I would not worry about if you had them in a blend, especially highly diluted (like you’ve been using them already without knowing). Stick to the diffuser for now and use them topically only on older children.
Avoid Under Age 6
These essential oils should be avoided with children under age 6:
- Chaste tree*
None of these essential oils should be used at all, not even in a diffuser, under age 6. Many could cause breathing difficulties.
Avoid Under Age 10
These essential oils should be avoided in children under age 10:
This oil should be avoided completely. Also, chaste tree and wintergreen should be avoided in all children/teens until after puberty.
A Note on Avoiding Oils
Some will say, “But ____ brand is safe.” No. These oils are not safe for these ages, no matter what brand they come from. It has to do with the chemistry of the oil, and not who bottles it. A quality brand will advise you with caution about using essential oils with children, or during pregnancy, and will give you the information you need about which ones are safe, which ones are not, and how best to use them. Any brand that claims that “they’re all safe” should not be trusted.
Essential Oils That Are Kid-Safe
It’s great to know what’s not safe, but what about which oils are safe? Luckily, that list is pretty long!
The following oils have no known contraindications and are safe for children:
- Carrot seed
- Clary sage
- Dill weed
- Fir needle
That’s a good long list!
Despite that these oils are safe for children, proper dilution is still important. They should be diluted between 0.5% and 2%, depending on how old the child is and what kind of use. Infants need the most dilution; kids over age 6 are most likely okay with 2% unless they are sensitive. Use in a diffuser is fine.
Why I Choose Plant Therapy
I purchase my oils from Plant Therapy. It took me a long time to find a company that I truly felt comfortable purchasing from — that I felt was giving me complete, honest information, good quality, and that had a price I could afford. I finally found that in Plant Therapy.
Plant Therapy works with Robert Tisserand, a respected expert in the field of essential oils. He created an entire line of kid-safe essential oil blends. They also label their oils “kid-safe” if they are. They’re very up front about safe use and how important that is. I appreciate this transparency.
Check out their kid-safe synergies (that’s what they call blends). They also offer all the oils listed above as single oils.