Using Essential Oils with Children

By: Erin Stewart, Veriditas Botanicals

If you love essential oils and you have children, you’ve probably wondered, “Are my essential oils safe to use around my kids?” Good news – many essential oils can be used safely around children if you follow a few simple guidelines. We’re going to outline a few of them for you today.

General Guidelines
1. As with all essential oil use, please follow the general guidelines for safety. (see related article in this publication.)
2. Keep all essential oils and related products out of reach of children.
3. Always take into account the constitution and health of an individual when blending for them, especially with children. A robust, healthy young 5 year old may respond differently to an essential oil than a 5 year old who is normally sensitive to scent or is small for his age.
4. Be aware that some essential oils should not be used at all when pregnant or breastfeeding. (We’ll be posting a full article on the subject of essential oils during pregnancy or breastfeeding next week, so stay tuned for that.)
5. Always dilute essential oils appropriately for use with children.
Babies (Under 2 years)

Essential oils are powerful, potent substances. We recommend avoiding direct skin application for children under two years of age. Babies rarely need something as strong as an essential oil to support their little systems. We recommend using Hydrosols with babies instead of essential oils. A hydrosol is the aromatic water that remains after steam-distilling or hydro-distilling botanical material. They’re gentle, effective, safe, and still provide many therapeutic benefits for our little ones.
When you feel that using a baby-safe essential oil is necessary, you can either diffuse it for a short period of time (15 minutes is plenty), or you can apply it, properly diluted, to your own back instead of to the baby’s skin. This way they’ll still be able to inhale the aroma, but it will be indirect and it will not be touching their skin. Diffusion can be especially effective at nighttime – diffusing a tiny bit of Lavender and/or Chamomile before bed can be incredibly soothing and calming for baby and parents!

Ages 2-5
For healthy children ages 2-5 years, kid-safe oils may be appropriate for use in a diffuser or for short-term first aid use, such as a bit of diluted Lavender to soothe a bug bite. For acute situations, like a bee sting, 1 drop of undiluted, pure organic Lavender essential oil may be applied.
When you do apply essential oils to a child’s skin at this age, they should be blended at a 1% dilution. This means 5-6 total drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. Hydrosols also provide therapeutic benefits and are appropriate for use with children in this age group.
Ages 5-12
For healthy kids in this age group,
diffusion, inhalation (aromatherapy
inhalers are an option – use 10 drops
total in the inhaler), or topical
application at a 1-1.5% dilution
may be appropriate.

Child-Safe Oils
Here is a list of some of our oils that are generally regarded as safe for use around children when used appropriately:
Basil, linalol
Bergamot (phototoxic – use appropriately)
Cedar, Atlas
Chamomile, German & Roman
Citronella
Clary Sage
Coriander
Cypress
Dill
Frankincense
Grapefruit (phototoxic – use appropriately)
Helichrysum
Jasmine Absolute
Juniper Berry
Lavender
Lemon (phototoxic – use appropriately)
Marjoram, Sweet
Neroli
Orange, Sweet
Palmarosa
Patchouli
Pine, Wild Scotch
Sandalwood
Spearmint
Tea Tree
Vanilla Perfume
Vetiver
*Note: Wintergreen and Sweet Birch oils should not be used on or given to children in any amount.
You are responsible for using essential oils safely and for knowing the safety considerations of each essential oil you use.