There is nothing more frustrating when you’re getting started with using essential oils with your children than all the conflicting information out there on the internet. Right? Some say not to use them at all and others are practically bathing their kids in it daily. Fortunately, there IS solid information available that will help us use essential oils safe for kids in an effective way.
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We’ve talked about some basic tips for using essential oils with your children. In a few days I’ll go over some more detailed dilution and usage recommendations as well. Today, I want to talk about WHICH essential oils we should (and which oils we shouldn’t) be using on kids.
Essential Oils Safe for Kids
Again, there is a lot of conflicting information out there. When in doubt about a certain oil, I tend to err on the side of caution. My two go-to’s for information are the Aromahead Institute and Tisserand’s book Essential Oils Safety. It’s important to note that even the most highly trained and respected experts can have differing opinions on this, but these two sources are credible and conservative, so I balance my approach based on their recommendations.
With these and other resources, I look up the properties, cautions, and recommendations for each oil that I’m considering using. If you are wandering from the newbie state into an intermediate or power user status with oils, it’s worth investing some time and money into those resources. In the meantime, I’m going to share with you my own approach and a little cheat sheet on essential oils safe for kids.
Essential Oils Safe for Kids Under 2 Years Old
Generally, I don’t use many oils on kids under about two years old. If you’s like to, just remember to dilute well and use with caution. Another option for these youngest ages are hydrosols. Aromahead actually goes so far as to suggest that essential oils aren’t necessary for the highly responsive and sensitive systems of children under 5, and instead recommend hydrosols, butters, and the natural therapeutic properties of carrier oils alone for those ages.
Personally, I occasionally use some appropriately diluted oils like lavender or kid blends (1% or less) or diffuse some for my kids once they are 1 or older. We also love hydrosols of German Chamomile and Lavender hydrosols, which are particularly versatile and helpful for those ages.
Essential Oils Safe for Kids 2-10 Years Old
There are many oils that are safe to use for kids about 2-10 years old. If you are concerned about sensitivity with your child, you may want to wait until they are about 5. Some people also wait to expand to more “intense” oils than what’s on this list until about 12. This is not an exhaustive list, but it includes many common choices.
(Download the cheat sheet below!)
- Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) – energizing, stimulates appetite, stomach problems, pain relief, support circulatory system
- Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) – anxiety, sleep, uplifting, mood swings, respiratory health
- Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus) – anti-fungal, head lice, skin issues, bug repellent
- Frankincense (carterii and serrata) – anxiety, mood swings, cold, cough, decongestant, immune system, uplifting,
- German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – anti-inflammatory, helps with ADHD, allergies
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) – anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, mood swings, head lice, immune system
- Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) – allergies, calming, first aid, immune system, skin issues
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – pain relief, anxiety, antibacterial, antimicrobial, mood swings, allergies, calming, first aid, head lice, sleep, immune system, skin issues, bug bites
- Lemon (Citrus x limon) – mood swings, immune system, uplifting
- Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) – pest repellent, uplifting, anxiety
- Mandarin (Citrus nobilis) – anti-fungal, mood swings
- Marjoram (Origanum majorana) – immune system, stomach problems, respiratory health, anxiety, sleep
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – mood swings, allergies, calming, sleep, stomach problems
- Sandalwood (Santalum album) – skin issues, anxiety, uplifting, mood swings, sore muscles, pain relief
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – anti-fungal, immune system, stomach problems
- Orange (Citrus sinensis) – anxiety, antimicrobial, mood swings, calming, immune system, stomach problems
- Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) – anxiety, stomach problems, skin issues, scalp problems, insect bites, calming, focus
- Tangerine (Citrus reticulata Blanco) – anxiety, uplifting, immune system, respiratory health, supports cardiovascular system
- Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, allergies, first aid, head lice, skin issues
- Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) – supports circulatory system, focus, energizing, skin issues, pain relief, anxiety
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) – skin issues, anxiety, calming, pain relief, supports circulatory system, respiratory health
A Few Cautions:
- Check out my big list of essential oils NOT safe for kids.
- “Lemongrass, Citronella, May Chang and tea-tree should not be used on children under two years old or on sensitive skin” (Tisserand)
- Bergamot and other phototoxic essential oils should not be used topically before exposure to the sun
My Top Choices for Kid-Safe Oils
I used to spend a lot of time researching good oils and blends to use with my kids. When Rocky Mountain Oils came out with their Kids Line, it saved me a TON of time, money, and worry! I found that their special blends for kids were comprised only of kid-safe oils, and come pre-diluted in convenient roller bottles. SCORE! Plus, I don’t have to buy that one oil I wouldn’t likely use for anything else just to make an aweomse blend.
I now rely on the Kids Line from RMO almost exclusively for topical application use for my kids. I LOVE them! I even use them on myself right now since they WORK and are safe for pregnant and nursing moms as well.
Seriously, if you want to get started with using essential oils for your kids, or just want a fast way to use them grab some the RMO Kids Line! You can stash them in your cupboard or purse for quick use. They smell great and work so well!
Download the Essential Oils Safe for Kids Cheat Sheet!
Download the Cheat Sheet
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How Much Oil to Use?
When you’re dealing with children, safety is obviously in issue. Both which oils and how much oil you use are very important factors. Generally, a 1 – 2% dilution is great for kids. In the next post in this series, we go into that in more detail, talking about how much oils to use (dilution rates) and a few tips on methods of usage for younger kids.
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This Post Has 4 Comments
amanda8 Sep 2016
Thanks for this! I just started EOs with my kids this week, and I’m guessing too much
Corinne9 Sep 2016
I love Rocky Mountain Oils and I’m thrilled they’ve come out with a kids’ line. Thanks for the cheat sheet! Super handy.
Jen24 Nov 2019
I’m so glad to find your info! Thank you for all the clarification.
Is there info somewhere about Essential oils for babies? Is it ok to diffuse lavender oil, for example, with a baby under 6 months old?
Tauna Meyer3 Jan 2020
Yes! You can find a list with that information here >> https://www.proverbialhomemaker.com/essential-oils-not-safe-kids.html