The topic of using essential oils with children and babies comes up quite often. Are essential oils safe for babies to inhale? The short answer is, some are. I will go into more detail throughout this article, but you need to remember one thing.
Safety comes first.
So don’t act without being very sure about what you’re doing. Essential oils are highly concentrated and powerful. If misused, they do pose a health risk. But don’t let that scare you off, there are plenty of applications when it comes to babies.
Never Let a Baby or Child Ingest Essential Oils
There are no circumstances when babies should be ingesting oils. You should keep your oils well out of reach as you do with other harmful chemicals around the home. You shouldn’t be ingesting oils either, there are some rare occasions where it’s applicable. But I never recommend it personally.
Always Dilute Essential Oils
Essential oils should always be diluted with a carrier oil before using. They are too powerful in their concentrated form. You don’t need to use the undiluted form around babies. You are probably well aware how powerful the oils are for your use. Babies and children need the oil diluted to a much less potent form.
Even in diluted form you should not be using oils near the child’s face and nose. It’s still too strong, and there is the risk of the oil touching the delicate areas on their face. You may have used a chest rub for a cold for example.
Always Check for Allergies and Reactions
When introducing essential oils to babies always check for any allergic reactions. Use a tiny bit of one oil and give it a few hours and look for any changes in the skin or your baby’s behaviour. If you see any form of reaction at all consult a doctor as soon as possible.
What Age Can Babies Safely Use Essential Oils?
This is a tough question to answer. After doing a lot of research and talking with other people who have experience using oils around babies. I can say that 3 months is the absolute youngest age a baby should be exposed to essential oils. It still comes down to your judgement, and I’d advise seeking advice from a doctor. Oils should come with some instruction and guidance on the label of the bottle too, always pay attention to this.
Diffusing Essential Oils Around Babies
If your baby has a cold or a cough you’re probably wondering is eucalyptus oil safe for babies to breathe through diffusing. Personally, I would recommend buying some vapour rub that’s been specially formulated to help with infant coughs and colds.
These products contain a safe dilution of eucalyptus essential oil in a form ready to rub into their chests. It’s a safer, and easier way to know just how much of the properties your baby is absorbing.
Using Essential Oils with Babies 3 Months and Over
As mentioned earlier, the youngest a baby should be when first introduced to any oils is 3 months old. You should be using highly diluted mixtures and acting with extreme care. The oil you have should have some guidelines on the bottle. Look into the following oils:
Using Essential Oils with Babies 6 Months and Over
Again, you should research the oils individually per brand and the amount to dilute. Here are some of the oils that can be used safely with babies 6 months and older:
- Cinnamon bark and leaf
Using Essential Oils with Babies 24 Months and Over
Again, you should research the oils individually per brand and the amount to dilute. Here are some of the oils that can be used safely with babies 2 years and older:
- Black Pepper
- Clary Sage
- Sweet Marjoram
- Ylang Ylang
Using Essential Oils with Babies 6 years and Over
Again, you should research the oils individually per brand and the amount to dilute. Here are some of the oils that can be used safely with babies 6 years and older:
Peppermint Oils Safety
There needs to be special attention regarding the use of peppermint oil. It can be very dangerous if used on children younger than 2 years of age. Peppermint can disrupt the breathing, have an impact on the heart, and can lead to some serious health conditions.
Peppermint and eucalyptus are often the oils people turn to if they have coughs and colds. These are powerful oils that are fine for adults but are dangerous to babies and children. As mentioned above, there are specific vapour rub products designed for this purpose.
Once again I will stress that the information in this post, and in all my posts, are just guidance. You need to seek professional advice if you have any concerns. You should always act responsibly and with caution when it comes to the safety of babies and children, with no exceptions. With all of this in mind, you shouldn’t have any problems and there is a lot of fun and health benefits to be had from essential oils.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.