Using Essential Oils Safely with Kids
Posted by Bloomy Lotus, 4th November 2020
Aromatherapy can bring joy to people of all ages, but there are certain precautions that should be taken with children. Here’s your guide!
One of the most interesting things about our sense of smell is its ability to directly communicate with the brain to elicit emotion. This means we can use aromatherapeutic scents in our environment to trigger emotional responses like relaxation, joy, gratitude, focus, determination, and more. The best part? Kids benefit just as much as adults, but there are some safety measures that should be considered before using aromatherapy around them.
What you can do to ensure safe use
1. Play it Safe
In general, it’s best to refrain from using essential oils on or around children under the age of 2. It’s also not recommended to use peppermint oil on children under 30 months of age.
2. Don’t Overuse
As with all things in life, you can have too much of a good thing. Essential oils are extremely powerful plant extracts, so a little goes a long way and using too much can be harmful. In general, safe dilutions of essential oils in carrier oils, water, and lotions range from 0.25%-2.5%.
It’s also important to make sure you are only diffusing periodically in a well-ventilated area.According to the EPA,all scents (including natural ones) release something called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). While generally not harmful on their own, VOCs can react with gases that are naturally present in our homes, slowly creating small amounts of some nasty and toxic byproducts. Allowing these to build up can create negative health effects for ourselves, our spouses, our children, and our furry friends.
While this sounds scary, we only need to take a few simple steps in order to use scents safely: regularly get fresh air into our homes, avoid continuous use of scents in rooms with poor ventilation, and stock up on houseplants, which cleanse the air of VOCs while providing many other health benefits.
"We can use aromatherapeutic scents in our environment to trigger emotional responses like relaxation, joy, gratitude, focus, determination, and more."
3. Be Mindful When Using Topically
In general, citrus oils (bergamot, lemon, orange, grapefruit) should not be used on the skin if you or your child plans on being outside. These oils contain compounds called furocoumarins, which can increase skin sensitivity and lead to severe burns when exposed to sunlight.
It may also be a good idea to refrain from using lavender and tea tree oils topically on prepubescent children. One study found that these two oils may negatively affect the functioning of the endocrine system.
Lastly, remember to dilute! Not only will this make your oils last longer, it will also decrease the chance of skin irritation. This is especially important before using essential oils in a bath. Since water and oils don’t mix, undiluted essential oils are more likely to irritate the skin. Johns Hopkins recommends diluting them as follows:
- 3 months-24 months: 0.25%-0.5%
- 2-6 years: 1-2%
- 6-15 years: 1.5%-3%
- Over 15 years of age: 2.5%-5%
4. Do Not Ingest
Essential oils should be treated like medication are stored in a safe place, out of reach from children. Some oils, like wintergreen, can be extremely toxic (especially to children) if swallowed. Never use oils as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Talk with your healthcare provider for more details!
Where to Begin
To remove the guesswork, we’ve crafted specially formulated blends just for kids! They contain a safe concentration of oils that have been deemed safe for children.
We’ve also created a playful diffuser just for kids! The whimsical JungleFUN® Aroma Diffuser Collection inspires playful bedtimes stories while creating a relaxing atmosphere for your little one. This innovative 3-in-1 gadget is an aroma diffuser, humidifier and musical night light in one ultra-adorable package!