Are Your Essential Oils Kid-Safe? |

Are Your Essential Oils Kid-Safe?

admin April 16, 2015

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:

  • Basil
  • Black seed
  • Cassia
  • Clove
  • Garlic
  • Ginger lily
  • Hyssop*
  • Lemon leaf
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon balm
  • Oregano
  • Saffron
  • Tea leaf
  • Tea tree
  • Verbena
  • Ylang-Ylang

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:

  • Anise*
  • Cajaput*
  • Cardamom*
  • Chaste tree*
  • Cornmint*
  • Fennel*
  • Ravintsara*
  • Marjoram*
  • Myrtle*
  • Peppermint*
  • Rosemary*
  • Sage*

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:

  • Eucalyptus*

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.

are your essential oils kid-safe?

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:

  • Bergamot
  • Carrot seed
  • Catnip
  • Cedarwood
  • Chamomile
  • Citronella
  • Clary sage
  • Copaiba
  • Dill weed
  • Fir needle
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Grapefruit
  • Helichrysm
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Neroli
  • Orange
  • Palmarosa
  • Patchouli
  • Pine
  • Rose
  • Spearmint
  • Tangerine
  • Tansy
  • Vetiver

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.

Are your essential oils kid-safe?

**This post is sponsored by Plant Therapy.**

This is the writings of:

  1. Rosemary oil is incredibly dangerous for epileptics as well.


  2. Hi Kate!

    I am new to the world of essential oils, but would like to start using them to promote my family’s health. I have a two year old and a 14 month old. Both have trouble falling asleep some nights and staying asleep. I noticed that Plant Therapy had several kid synergies that are supposed to deliver a calming effect and promote restful sleep. Do you have a blend that you use and recommend? Also, if I were to use it in an Epsom salt bath as they suggest, would it still be safe to apply your lavender magnesium lotion topically, it would that be too much for them? I just want to make sure what I’m doing is safe, this is all very new to me.

    Finally, I noticed lemongrass is not recommended for children under two. Does this apply in tea form also? I grow lemongrass and make iced tea with it, and my 14 month old tried it and loved it. I was going to use it to help hydrate her (we live in Florida, so we get some hot days) in addition to nursing.

    Thank you! Sorry for the long post!


  3. I had a question. I noticed that there were some ingredients in some of the Kidsafe Synergies that contain ingredients on your list of unsafe ingredients. For example, their Better Than Kisses formula contains Marjoram and Cypress, and it is formulated for ages 2-10. Marjoram was listed on your avoid for under age 6 list. Cypress wasnt anywhere on any of your lists, for oils to avoid or that are safe.

    I realize that no list can be completely comprehehensive, and there will always be differing opinions, but I just get so confused about this topic. I never know who to listen to. And I get so nervous about which oils to use on my children. Any advice?


  4. […] aware of who should and shouldn’t use different oils.  Use them safely in a diffuser to make your home smell nice, lift your mood, or kill germs. […]


  5. […] people do use essential oils with kids.  Check out safe use guidelines so if you do want to use them, you’re doing it […]


  6. Yes | all essential oil is not safe for babies.


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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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