When I began my Essential oil journey the first thing I needed to know was, are they safe for my children? I am not a doctor, and I don’t have any special degrees. I am just a mom who wants what is best for her children, so I began my research. I learned not only are they safe, but they provide relief from colds, teething, scrapes, sleep issues and helps to build their immune system. I also read several blogs and articles warning of seizures, respiratory issues and the risks of exposing children to Essential Oils. The Essential Oil industry in America is not well regulated and there is a lot misinformation out there. Knowledge is power and as long as you are well informed there is no need to fear the use of Essential Oils.
The common fear when using Essential Oils on children is seizures and respiratory issues. Some oils like eucalyptus and peppermint are respiratory irritants. While these oils can provide relief from congestion and sinus issues, I do not recommend applying them near the chest or face. There are great recipes for shower disks, chest rubs and lotions that provide relief in a safe way. Despite my hours of research, I could not find any research linking seizures to the use of Essential Oils. I found several oils recommended to avoid if you have a seizure disorder. Always follow your doctors recommendations.
Let’s talk about how to safely use Essential Oils with your little ones. Essential Oils like medications should be kept out of the reach of children. Never put oil oils in children’s ears or eyes. Dilution is the key to safely using essential oils with children. To dilute you mix them with a plant based oil known as a carrier oil. Coconut, olive and V6 are the most commonly used carrier oils. The following chart shows dilution rates for a variety of ages. There are three ways to use essential oils ingesting them, topically and diffusing. You need to use special considerations when using each route.
There are several schools of thought on ingesting essential oil. I personally do ingest them. My children on the other hand do not. I firmly believe that the potency of the oils is more than what their bodies can process. When using for oral care such as teething relief and toothpaste use caution and your best judgment. I know several parents that let their older children ingest oils. There is no specific age where it is safe to ingest them, you as the parent have to decide what you are comfortable with. If you choose to let your children ingest oils, always dilute in a capsule.
Topical is my preferred method of using Essential Oils on my children. I use Eucalyptus to relieve congestion, Lavender to help them sleep and Thieves to boost their immune system. After the age of one I no longer dilute for use on their feet. If I am going to use them anywhere else I follow recipes to make sure I have the correct dilution ratios. I also diffuse daily around my children, or in their rooms at night if they are sick. Just remember to keep the room ventilated and follow the instructions that came with the diffuser.
Between their blends and single oils, young living has over 150 oils to choose from. It can be overwhelming, especially when trying to decide what to use on your children. However Young Living makes this easier by offering a kids collection that is pre-diluted and ready to use. If this collection is not an option for you don’t be discouraged. Introduce your children to Essential Oils slowly and start with gentler oils such as Lavender and Peace and Calming. There is no official do and don’t list for Essential Oils and children. Although The American Academy of Pediatrics has not released a statement concerning Essential Oils, you can find several opinion articles and blogs from Pediatricians and Aroma Therapists, along with several safe and not safe lists.
Essential Oils are a great addition to your mommy tool belt. They are gentler then some alternatives, natural, and in my opinion, safer than most over the counter medications. Essential Oils have completely changed my medicine cabinet, and replaced most of my cleaning products. I have great love and respect for modern medicine, but we as a society have forgotten how to naturally take care of our bodies. Instead of reaching for the natural approach we reach for a pill. I feel the risks of Essential Oils are over stated. As long as you are safe and knowledgeable they provide great benefit to children.