Many parents would love to have their kids gain the benefits of essential oils, but they’re concerned about using the products safely. In fact, the guidelines for using essential oils with kids are similar to - using oils as an adult. However, since children tend to be more sensitive than adults, it’s crucial that you’re familiar with the following dos and don’ts.
Do: Dilute Oils Before Using Them
You should always dilute an essential oil before applying it to the skin, as it’s too potent in its concentrated form. The good news is this means a small bottle of essential oil will last a long time! You can dilute essential oils in a carrier oil such as a lotion, or distilled water.
Remember that you should also dilute essential oils before you add them to bath water. An undiluted oil will sit on the top of the bath water and could cause irritation when it comes in contact with your child’s skin.
Don’t: Allow Essential Oils to Make Contact with Your Child’s Eyes, Ears, or Nose
You can apply essential oils to various body parts. Kids often enjoy a gentle massage with the oils. However, you do need to be careful where you apply oils to avoid contact with the eyes, ears, and nose. On older children, you should be able to safely rub essential oils into pressure points on the face, like the temples or third eye. However, if you’re using oils on younger kids, it’s better to stick to other areas, such as the wrists, feet, and any tense muscles.
Do: Apply Essential Oils to the Skin in the Correct Quantities
It’s important to learn about the correct dosages for your children. You can start using essential oils on infants as young as three months, but make sure you dilute to create a mixture that is no more than 0.25 to 0.5 percent essential oil.
For children between two and six years, you can increase to 1 to 2 percent essential oil. For children aged six to 15 years, use between 1.5 and 3 percent. Teenagers over the age of 15 can use dilutions containing 2.5 to 5 percent essential oil.
Don’t: Use Certain Oils If Your Child Will Be Exposed to Sunlight
Certain oils can increase the risk of sunburn. These include lemon, lime, bergamot, bitter orange, mandarin leaf, and cumin. If your child will be going out in the sun, avoid applying these essential oils to exposed skin.
Do: Allow Your Child to Inhale Essential Oils
Another way to use essential oils is to inhale them. You can use a diffuser in your home to allow everyone to benefit.
Don’t: Allow Children to Ingest Oils
Whereas some essential oils are safe to ingest, it’s best to only use oils topically and for aromatherapy with kids.
Do: Use Essential Oils in Moderation
You’ll see the maximum benefits from essential oils if you don’t overuse them. Apply just one product at a time, whether that’s to the skin, in bath water, or in a diffuser in your home.
Don’t: Use Peppermint Oil on Very Young Children
Peppermint essential oil is only suitable for children aged 30 months and older. If you’re concerned about any risks with this or other oils, you can always talk to your pediatrician before beginning use.
Do: Begin with a Patch Test
Check how your child reacts to an essential oil before introducing a new product. Use a patch test by applying just a small amount first and confirming that your child hasn’t had an adverse reaction 24 hours later. After a patch test, you can start using the essential oil normally
Don’t: Use Essential Oils Near a Heat Source
Always use essential oils away from sources of heat to prevent a fire hazard.
Do: Talk to a Health Provider If You Have Any Doubts
Again, if you’re unsure about whether your child is likely to benefit from a particular essential oil, ask an expert first. A health provider can give you all the information you need about a specific oil and how to use essential oils with your kids safely.
Don’t: Combine Essential Oils with Certain Medications
If your child is taking any prescription medications, always ask a doctor about potential interactions with essential oils. You’ll often find that essential oils even boost the effects of the medication or reduce unpleasant side effects — but it’s critical to check first.
Do: Turn to Essential Oils to Treat a Variety of Health Issues
Essential oils can help kids with a wide array of symptoms and health conditions. For instance, they can reduce nausea, treat headaches, improve sleep quality, and ease anxiety. Basil and citronella (suitable for children aged six months and older) are also great insect repellents.
Don’t: Buy Essential Oils That Are Missing Key Details on Their Labels
The essential oils you purchase should have all their ingredients listed on the label — check that these ingredients are all natural and contain no contaminants. The packaging should also specify the source of the oils, including the country of origin, the part of the plant used, and the extraction method.
Do: Purchase Essential Oils from a Trusted Company
To ensure you’re buying high-quality essential oils, choose a trusted source. You should be able to find reviews from other customers and be able to reach someone at the company with any questions you have.
Don’t: Leave Essential Oils Within Reach of Children
Kids will enjoy the experience of using essential oils, but it’s important that they only ever use them with adult supervision. Store your oils where young children cannot reach them to prevent accidents and misuse — such as applying an oil without diluting it sufficiently first. The best place is a high cupboard where it will remain cool and dry.
Essential oils are one of the best natural ways to boost your immune system, no matter your age. At LaCura, we have a wide range of single oils and blends, including essential oils formulated especially for kids aged 12 and under. Find them all in our online store.