The 8 Most Important Questions About Essential Oils for Kids - Modern Alternative Mama
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The 8 Most Important Questions About Essential Oils for Kids

Jodie February 5, 2016

Are essential Oils safe for Kids?

By Jodie, Contributing Writer

There are oodles of misconceptions creeping all over the internet and in books regarding essential oils. It is enough to leave you running for the hills with confusion. Yet, hitting your stride with the use of essential oils to support health and wellness in your family will open a whole new world; it just takes a bit of practice, good education and confidence!

Are Essential Oils Safe for Kids?

I need you to do ONE thing right now, and that is STOP reading all the crazy information about essential oils on the web. It’s enough to drive you crazy and leave you in the exact same spot before you pressed “I feel lucky”…still wondering if you should use essential oils on your sweet loves.

Here is the deal, I am going to break it down very simply with a little science, some personal experience and answer TOP questions I hear from clients. Just soak it in and be open to possibly a {new explanation} of why I am personally obsessed with using essential oils every single day on my children to encourage a healthy response in their immune system, wrap comfort all over their respiratory tract, initiate peaceful sleep and just make them happy! Before you start any regimen, read from research backed sources and enlist the advice of a certified Aromatherapist. Many have different styles and training, so you decide which one matched you the most.

Why You Need to be Using Essential Oils in Your Home

Essential oils get a bad rap sometimes. First, they are not prescription medications or OTC’s and should never be compared as such. They put chemical-laden products to shame actually. EOs carry the ability to support dramatic changes in your family’s health at the cellular level, which of course is the foundation to everything we experience daily.

The use of essential oils dates back to many ancient cultures and never have oils been needed more than now than in this modern age. Fortunately, you have a choice, and one that is very powerful indeed to bring peace and empowerment to your home.

What Exactly are Essential Oils?

My super simple explanation is they are God’s gift to our bodies. His design, perfect in every way. To science minded people, they are quite simply what allows every living thing to have life. Think of essential oils as the blood inside a plant, shrub, tree, flower etc. They are very complex with compounds that fit like a lock and key into our own cells. Chemicals found in our modern age are very one-dimensional and full of toxic fillers our bodies have a hard time recognizing. Oils are easily assimilated and used readily as they pass thru our skin.

There is a difference in quality and brands…no, really, there is…

It boils down to some very important questions that you need to “vet” your essential oil company about to feel safe using their product.

1. Are They Distilling the Plants Themselves or Just Buying From a Broker?

If they have zero control over the process your red flags should pop up fast! You will never know what was added to that bottle or if the soil was pure, among other questions. A label or trademark that says 100% pure, is not always telling the whole story. If there is an expiration date, you might want to set that oil down.

2. Do They Follow the Right Temperatures and Use a Cone-Shaped Distillation Chamber?

This is important to keep all of those precious compounds intact. Otherwise you might have a nice smelling oil, but not one that helps support your wellness.

3. How Do They Test the Oils?

In house and also 3rd party? You want to look for both, actually. Many companies have very unique technology that actually can distinguish if an oil is missing even just one compound. And if it is, the oil just will not work the same. So ask questions and lots of them!

That is the short list, with plenty more to think about. I encourage you to really research as well as find a good mentor trained in the art and safety of using essential oils on children. If you are an out-of-the-box thinker like me…I tend to take a mixture of science, application and personal experience all into the equation. I always encourage working with someone experienced as you begin your journey for safe use of EO’s. Essential oils bring about an empowerment, and are the one thing {after a good vetting} that they are a very user-friendly tool in your wellness chest.

So Are They Safe? 

My short answer..YES! And you may be missing out on some significant benefits by NOT incorporating EO’s. Long answer…well that will be answered below, but one thing I will say is it really all comes down to purity, solid education and guidance. Yes, there are some precautions, but if you are using an oil with {integrity} you will be just fine and see some incredible results. That integrity comes from the company AND who is guiding you thru your education. Here is a great way to understand some basic parameters around using essential oils.

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photo credit Canva.com

8 Most Important Questions on Essential Oils

#1 Should I Dilute Essential Oils?

Essential oils should always be diluted so that your skin and body can acclimate, think if it as a “patch test”. For many people they experience a detox-like effect. This is most commonly from the oil cleaning out the junk in our bodies. But many EO’s are hot and spicy and should be used with caution or heavily diluted on the skin.

In very rare cases people have experienced skin irritations, however there has never been one recorded case of harm from essential oils used with {common sense}. Common sense people. This is where a random google search will do you a huge disservice because some articles state oils can be dangerous, however the context is skewed. When all else fails the best approach is a conservative one.

Use some carrier oils like olive, jojoba, fractionated coconut, vitamin E or almond oil to dilute anywhere from a 10:1 ratio until you feel comfortable with your personal preference of application.  (For babies and very young children, many recommend diluting 100:1 or even 200:1.) Recommendations HERE.

Great places to start are the bottom of the feet! It’s super strong and oils assimilate easily into the bloodstream. Diffusing is another passive way to experience oils. Always remember that oils are “the great detoxifiers” and experiencing detox from oils can be confused with other types of below the line experiences. Remember, they are powerful vessels of compounds that many of us need to work up to.

#2 Is There a Risk to Using Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lavender or Tea Tree Oils on Children?

This is a topic of contention. Remember, research and educate yourself with a variety of sources. We have to look at science but also make sure it is not flawed or skewed. For the most part when it comes to peppermint and eucalyptus, these are not even oils that “must” be used on babies and children. There are hundreds of other options should you choose to avoid these.

Here are a few things to consider before deciding whether or not you are comfortable using these oils:

  • What is the source of the article you read? Many things are written purely on opinion or they appear “scientific” yet have another agenda. Makes you wonder what they are getting out of it?
  • The purity of the oil. Often, risks are derived from an adjuvant or filler in an otherwise pure substance.
  • Age of the child, location of application and dilution. Remember some basic safety guidelines and always dilute heavily. Even if you look up a condition like {sinus congestion} and it recommends peppermint, you do not have to use that one! There are hundreds of other plants to choose from that will support they area you are targeting safely.

Here is the problem~Researchers often focus their articles on things like the estrogenic properties of lavender and tea tree oil but did not identify the grade of oil, compounds present (or missing most likely), how it was distilled and grown. So they actually miss studying the chemistry of the oil and composition.  Neither did they determine the concentration of essential oils contained in the products, which would be a crucial bit of information for drawing valid conclusions.

Often, they do zero studies on the products themselves – only on the {general} properties of lavender and tea tree oils. Essential oils are extremely complex, you simply cannot study one property and expect to receive an appropriate and safe answer. If I were to look at the individual properties of cocoa, flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and eggs, without regard to their amounts in a recipe, can one ascertain the properties of a brownie? Nope.

#3 Is Lavender Safe for Boys?

See #2! Ok no really, here are a few examples of why we need to apply “context” to any claim:

In the 7-year-old boy’s case, he was using a lavender-scented soap and body lotion following which he developed gynecomastia. His twin brother also used the soap and lotion, but did not manifest any such symptoms. Here, again, the composition and brand of the scented products were not noted in the article. The condition disappeared completely a few months after discontinued use of the soap and lotion.

In the 10-year-old boy’s case, his gynecomastia was reported as having been present for about five months when his mother brought him to the doctor for an opinion. He was regularly applying a styling gel to his hair and scalp and also used a shampoo, both containing lavender and tea tree oils. As in the other two reports, the researchers failed to identify the brands and composition of the products containing the oils. Within nine months after discontinuing use of the gel and shampoo, the condition was no longer present.

Read more HERE

As well as the dangers of chemicals in self-care products that are endocrine disruptors HERE

If the above stories were presented in a different way, it would lead the consumer to believe lavender essential oil was dangerous, when in fact pure lavender has a great number of benefits. Know your grower, know your company.

#4 Can I Over-Do it? Or Use too Much?

Common Sense people, common sense. Again, lets go back to #1, is the oil pure and are you following basic safety principles? The chemical composition of the oil is huge! Also, listen to your body or be in tune to your child’s state. If you need to apply more, do it. If you wish to dilute then dilute. I am a firm believe of never discounting someone own personal experiences with EO’s and what works for them.

Essential oils, when properly distilled promote great health because they are natural plant compound, so our bodies almost {crave} the goodness locked away inside that plant. The goodness permeates the cells, and any excess is excreted immediately. So it all depends on how you are using them, what you are using and are you working with someone to guide you?

Of course, as with anything, you can use too much if you’re excessive, and allergies/sensitivities are possible.  Start with a small dose, you can always add more if needed.

#5 Where Should I Place the Oils Topically?

There are some really great resources to know where to apply an oil based on need. They are typically referred to as vita flex points. A good rule of thumb for children especially is to utilize the bottom of feet. It is easy and away from the eyes, hands and sensitive parts of the body. My other favorite areas are in the bath water, down the spine and on the top of the head to support focus and thought processes. When push come to shove, you place the oil where you are led.

The areas off limits? The eyes, ears and skin that is very thin. And above all dilute to err on the side of caution.

#6 What Oils Should I Avoid?

This is an area of great debate among many different schools of thought in aromatherapy. In general spicy oils like clove, cinnamon bark, cassia, peppermint, mountain savory, thyme and oregano to name a few must be diluted for comfort level or you’ll have a screaming toddler on your hands. I would never recommend oils straight on the body without dilution first!

Here is a general list of oils to avoid with children. This by all means does not mean you have to. There have been plenty of situations where I felt the need to use an oil on my children and was very happy I did! With the hundreds of varieties of oils, there is surely a substitute to anything you may not want to use.

#7 What Will Oils Help With?

The sky is the limit, and your imagination is the only thing getting in the way! Because essential oils have been used for centuries in every culture around the globe, you can bet oils have been used in thousands of ways.

  • Hands down nothing supports your emotional state like EO’s, and your emotions are the key to what state your heath is in, and yes, even your children. They have emotions too.
  • Your digestive tract; assisting in excreting damage from our modern world and allowing for that unique ecosystem to flourish and support a healthy immune system.
  • The ability to expel environmental waste, which then translates to a healthy functioning body!
  • A clean home without the use of dangerous chemicals
  • Amazingly clear and smooth skin, again without the use of endocrine disrupting chemicals found in pretty much all cosmetic and beauty products. Why not start your children out with good skin!? It will probably make those middle school years a WHOLE lot easier on you!
  • Focus in school. Many research studies are exploring the science behind why EO’s support a healthy brain.

#8 What Type of Routine Should I Have?

Here is our handy dandy guide to what we do in a 24 hour period to support the health of our children ages 3, 6, 8.

Before school its “feet up” and slather on an immune supporting blend of cinnamon, clove, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus. A dab of cedar wood on the brain stem for some super charged focus in class, a bit of citrus in their stainless steel water bottles to clean out the junk building up from chemical exposures at school. (I mean really, do we have to pour clorox all over the tables and silently kill our children’s respiratory tracts?)

After school pick-me-up of a citrus blend and frankincense in the diffuser to kick that homework’s butt. Don’t forget a large spraying of some germ-fighting oils after school on their clothes, backpacks, and head!

Nighttime begins with a drop of some calming oils in a baking soda detox bath and then anointing and prayer with a special all-body support blend of ancient scripture oils. Top it all off with the diffuser going in each room bursting out amazing smells and healthy compounds from bergamot, lavender and sandalwood. The nights we {used} to have of waking, crying and nightmares are a thing of the past!

So you can see, that incorporating essential oils into your daily wellness regimen is not only SAFE, but its fun, enjoyable and easy!

Disclaimer: Keep in mind this is how our family enjoys oils and I am also trained in Aromatherapy, love educating in classes and a mentor to many regarding the use of oils. I encourage you to begin slow, research and use caution when first beginning an oil routine.

What are your favorite ways to use essential oils with kids?

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  1. […] years of recovery, we have not used a single synthetic or OTC in over three years (we use essential oils extensively for this healing process). Our children’s immune systems are healthy and strong, […]

    Reply

  2. What brand oil do you use! Ive been going insane bc there are all kinds of articles recommending all kinds of brands. Im so confused. I am 38 weeks preggo and i need your help! Thank you!

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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