Essential Oils Safety for Children and Babies ( Adapted from Robert Tisserand)
Safe Oils for that can be diffused for children 2 and Under
The recommended dilution ratio for this age group is .25% (1 drop per 4 teaspoons carrier oil).
I would not apply essential oils topically to a child under three months old.
As essential oil experts Robert Tisserand says:
"Great caution is necessary for infants. Since neonatal skin does not mature until three months of age, it is more sensitive and more permeable to essential oils.
These cautions apply even more to premature babies, and here it would be prudent to avoid all use of essential oils." (Essential Oil Safety ,p.48-49)
Oils should be (diluted) topical application in children two and under!
- Basil linalool (Ocimum basilicum) - Relaxing, mood lifting, helpful for soothing sore muscles
- Bergamot (Citrusbergamia) - Bright, clean, uplifting citrus scent. Bergamot is phototoxic unless you purchase one that is filtered to be bergaptine-free. If not using bergaptine-free, a maximum dilution of 0.4% (about 5 drops in 4 tablespoons carrier oil) is recommended to avoid phototoxicity. (source: Essential Oil Safety)
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum) - Helpful for soothing achy muscles
- Blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) -Also called Moroccan blue chamomile, this oil has skin soothing properties. It may also promote feelings of being clear-headed when pollen counts are high.
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria) - Relaxing. Supports restful sleep. Also very useful in homemade bug spray.
- Cedarwood Atlantica (Cedrusatlantica) - Calming, smells amazing in my Wild Vanilla No. 2 Solid Perfume Recipe. Skin soothing.
- CedarwoodVirginian (Juniperusvirginiana) woodsy scent, relaxing and good for skin. It's also one of the recommended oils in chest rub.
- Chamomile/German(MatricariachamomillaL)-Relaxing, helpful for sleep, may support clear thinking when pollen counts are high
- Chamomile/Roman(Chamaemelumnobile)-Relaxing, helpful for sleep, helpful for soothing sore muscles
- Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum verum) - NOT cinnamon bark. Smells lovely when diffused during the holidays. Can have a warming effect when applied to the skin, but it can cause irritation if too high a concentration is used. The maximum recommended dilution in Essential Oil Safety is 0.6% (about 7 drops in four tablespoons carrier oil)
- Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus) - Great addition to homemade bug spray. Can also be used to make outdoor citronella candles.
- Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) - Helpful for relaxation and restful sleep.
- Copaiba balsam (Copaifera officinalis) - Supports healthy respiratory function and soothes achy muscles.
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) - Soothes upset tummy's and calms emotions.
- Cypress (Cupressussempervirens) - Supports healthy respiratory function. Thought to have an emotionally grounding effect during challenging experiences.
- Dill weed (Anethum graveolens) - Helpful for digestion. Supports immune function. The maximum recommended dilution for this oil is 1.2% (about 7 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil)
- Eucalyptus, lemon (Eucalyptuscitriodora) - Mood lifting, supports healthy respiratory function, and can also be used in homemade bug spray
- Fir needle (Abiessibirica) - Supports healthy respiratory function
- Frankincense carteri (Boswellia carteri) - Immune support, helpful for soothing cuts, bruises and other injuries, relaxing, also thought to promote youthful looking skin
- Frankincense frereana (Boswellia frereana) - Immune support, helpful for soothing cuts, bruises and other injuries, relaxing, also thought to promote youthful looking skin
- Frankincense serrata (Boswellia serrata) - Calming, thought to promote youthful looking skin
- Geranium bourbon (Pelargonium x asperum) - Very helpful in homemade tick spray
- Ginger root CO2 extract (Zingiber officinalis) - Helpful for digestion and soothing sore muscles
- Grapefruit/Pink(Citrusxparadisi)-Uplifting.Can cause photosensitivity. Maximum recommended topical use is 4% (24dropsintwotablespoonscarrier oil)
- Helichrysum italicum (Helichrysum italicum) - Considered one of the top oils for promoting youthful skin, helpful for scars, and supportive of the immune system. Rare and somewhat expensive.
- Helichrysum splendidum (Helichrysum splendidum) - Considered beneficial for skin, but not as much as Helichrysum italicum. Supports healthy respiratory function.
- Juniper berry (Juniperuscommunis) - Calming, supports healthy respiratory function
- Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) - Calming
- Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia)- Calming, helpful for soothing bug bites, sunburns, and other skin irritations
- Lemon/expeller-pressed (Citrusxlimon)- Mood-lifting, supports immune function. Can cause photosensitivity. Maximum recommended topical use is 2% (12 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil)
- Lime/expeller-pressed(Citrusxaurantifolia)-Uplifting,supportsimmunefunction.Cancausephotosensitivity.Maximumrecommendedtopicaluseis 0.7% (about 4 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil)
- Mandarin (Citrusreticulata) - Calming
- Neroli (Citrusx aurantium var.amara) - Often used in skincare products due to it's ability to promote beautiful skin. Thought to be helpful for easing emotional tension.
- Orange, Blood (Citrussinensis) - Mood lifting
- Orange, sweet (Citrussinensis) - Mood lifting
- Palmarosa(Cymbopogonmartiniivarmotia)-Digestive support, skin soothing
- Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) - Thought to promote the appearance of youthful skin. Great addition to men's personal care products, like homemade deodorant or body wash.
- Petitgrain(Citrusxaurantium)- beneficial for skin ,especially oily skin.
- Pine (PinusSylvestris) - Supports healthy respiratory function and soothes sore muscles
- Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia) - Supports healthy respiratory function (similar to eucalyptus)
- Sandalwood/Australian(Santalumspicatum)-Calming, helpful for oily skin
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) - Similar to peppermint, but safer for use with small children. Helpful for digestion. Maximum recommended topical use is 1.7% (about 10 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil)
- Spruce (Tsuga canadensis) - Supports healthy respiratory function.
- Tangerine (Citrusreticulata) - Immune support. Bright, uplifting citrus scent
- Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) - Immune support, helpful for cuts and scrapes. Also considered helpful for acne-prone skin.
- Turmeric rhizome CO2 extract (Curcuma longa) - Soothes joint discomfort
- Vanilla CO2 extract (Vanilla planfolia) - Smells amazing in myvanilla body spray recipe, which I spritz on my kids hair after they bathe.
Essential Oils that are Safe for diffusing around Children 2 and Under
- Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) - Clean citrus scent. Great addition to homemade bug spray.
- Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) - Relaxing. Helpful when you're in de-stress mode.
Eucalyptus Radiata and Eucalyptus Globulus
These oils contain - which contains a constituent called 1.8 cineole. Too much can sometimes act negatively on the temperature receptors of children's lungs and cause slowed breathing, so it's often avoided.
However, for children under three, Robert Tisserand says that eucalyptus globula and radiata can be diffused (1-2 drops) and applied topically at a concentration of 0.5% (2 drops in 4 teaspoons carrier oil). Do not apply to the skin of children under 6.
The difference in this category is that many of the oils designated previously designated as "for diffusing only," . . . .
- Jasmine absolute (Jasminum sambac) - Max dermal use of 0.7% (about 4 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil)
- Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) - Max dermal use of 0.6% (about 7 drops in four tablespoons carrier oil)
- Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) - Max dermal use of 0.8% (about 5 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil).
It can be applied topically - when properly diluted - after age two. Unless otherwise noted, the recommended dilution ratio for this age group is 1% . (1 drop per teaspoon of carrier oil)
Special Cases: Peppermint and Eucalyptus Essential Oils
Another favorite for respiratory support is peppermint, which also contains the consitituent (1.8, cineole) that sometimes act negatively on the temperature receptors of children's lungs and cause slowed breathing.
According to Robert Tisserand, peppermint can be diffused with care around 3-6 year olds and applied topically at a concentration of 0.5% (2 drops in 4 teaspoons carrier oil). In the comment section of the above post, he clarified that "with care" means about two drops in the diffuser. For eucalyptus, he recommends a 1% maximum dilution of eucalyptus globula or radiata (4 drops in 4 teaspoons carrier oil) for children ages three to six.
You can find a children's chest rub recipe that follows these guidelines here.
Essential Oils That Are Considered Safe For Children 6 to 10
This category includes every oil in the previous categories, but after age six it is considered appropriate to apply peppermint, eucalyptus radiata, and eucalyptus globulus at a dilution ratio of 1.5% . (1 drop per teaspoon of carrier oil) Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is also considered appropriate after age six .
List adapted from Mommypotomus.