Moms new to natural remedies need to know the essential oils not safe for kids. There are even some essential oils that may harm adults.
But, don’t worry.
Pure essential oils are perfectly safe if you are an informed user.
It’s important to understand what kind of oils you are using, but also the right ways to use them. Children are more sensitive to the properties of the oils, so the delivery method is critical.
Keep reading for our best tips on essential oils not safe for kids, and some super safe options we think you will love.
Essential Oil Delivery Methods for Kids
The most common cited adverse reaction to essential oils is skin irritation. And, in turn, the most common cause is using an undiluted essential oil.
The Tisserand Institute, one of the leading sources of essential oil use and safety information, advises on the dilution rates for various uses.
General Dilution Rates for Adults
- Facial Cosmetics .2-1.5%
- Body Massage 1.5-3%
- Bath and Body Products 1-4%
- Specific Problems 4-10%
- Pain, Wounds 5-20%
Notice, when using essential oils to treat a wound or on a specific problem, it is in a higher concentration, but only used in a limited amount on a small area. Robert Tisserand has been noted to use a drop of pure Tea Tree Essential Oil directly on a wound and feels confident doing so at no risk.
The above dilution rates are great advice, but they apply to adults. Children have a much lower tolerance for topical essential oil use. The following is a dilution chart the Tisserand Institute recommends for children.
Dilution Range for Children by Age
- 0-3 months .1-.2%
- 3-24 months .25-.5%
- 2-6 years 1-2%
- 6-15 years 1.5-3%
- 15 or older 2.5-5%
Some essential oil experts do not recommend using essential oils with children younger than three months. I would err on the side of caution and consult with a pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Essential Oils Not Safe for Kids… and Adults
Several essential oils are thought of as “hot” and are not considered safe to use undiluted topically (on the skin). Clove Essential Oil, Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil, Basil Essential Oil, and Lemongrass Essential Oil are oils that may cause skin irritation if used improperly—AKA undiluted. Yet these are some of the most useful oils for various remedies and diffuser blends.
When it comes to essential oils not safe for kids, two oils need an abundance of caution. Peppermint Essential Oil and Eucalyptus Essential Oil are very effective for congestion and respiratory infection, but may pose some risk.
Too much of these oils can slow breathing and cause neurological problems in some young children. In fact, children under 3 should avoid using Peppermint Essential Oil altogether.
With that being said, children under 3 may use Eucalyptus Essential Oil in a diffuser or topically in a .5% dilution. For children 3-6 years old, use Eucalyptus Essential Oil diffused or up to a 1% dilution rate and Peppermint Essential Oil at a .5% dilution rate.
In general, most essential oils are perfectly safe for adults, children, and pets if they are diffused since they are so diluted.
Additional Risk Factors While Using Essential Oils
There is a common misconception with using essential oils not safe for kids that can be risky for both children and adults. Using an ultrasonic, or cold, diffuser is not the same as dropping essential oils into a bath.
In a cold diffuser, the essential oils keep their properties but are dispensed into very small particles mixed with water vapors. At such a high dilution, this method is extremely safe for most users.
On the other hand, people will unwittingly add essential oil to a bathtub full of water thinking they will have an equally high dilution rate.
This is completely false, and this can make essential oils not safe for kids.
Essential oils are, well, oils. And we all know that oil and water don’t mix. Unlike the ultrasonic action of a diffuser to mix the essential oils into the water vapor, the essential oils in a bathtub sit on the surface of the water.
This brings the same risks as using pure essential oils topically. As previously stated, it is not recommended to use essential oils undiluted and may cause skin irritations.
Children are more susceptible to these side effects.
The following are further cautions on essential oils not safe for kids:
- Do not use essential oils near an open flame.
- Do not leave essential oils where small children may reach them and ingest.
- Do not use essential oils near children’s’ eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Do not overuse essential oils (be aware of all the products you use that may contain essential oils).
Safe Essential Oils for Kids
We’ve gone over all of the don’ts, but now it’s time to talk about the dos.
We do use essential oils regularly with our children. I’ve done my fair share of research and feel super comfortable using them safely. But I do recommend that parents do a patch test on their child to see if they have any reaction and do talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions or doubts.
If you are concerned about essential oils not safe for kids then my biggest DO is to purchase from a reliable source. That’s why my family only uses Spark Naturals. They have the highest quality products at great prices.
In fact, we teamed up with Spark Naturals to share the same blends we use with our children in a Kid Safe Roller Collection. These easy to use rollers are essential oil blends diluted in fractionated coconut oil at the perfect ratio for children.
Homework Helper, Boo Boo Blend, Tummy Buddy, and Sleepy Head are a mommy’s natural medicine cabinet arsenal for all of the challenges we may face throughout the day. They are so easy to use that our older children have learned how to get them and use them themselves. They are super convenient to have on-the-go in your purse or diaper bag and provide comfort and relief to your child when you are away from home.
Final Thoughts on Essential Oils Not Safe for Kids
When it comes to essential oils not safe for kids dilute, dilute, dilute. Using a diffuser is a great way to use essential oils safely for scent and respiratory issues, but if you want the topical benefits of oil it is absolutely vital to use the proper dilution ratio.
The Kid Safe Roller Collection takes the guesswork out of diluting essential oils for kids, and I encourage people that are new to oils to try them out. They are also great to have on hand with babysitters or grandparents that may not be knowledgeable or feel confident using natural remedies.
If you are looking for more information on using essential oils with kids you may be interested in this post on Best Smelling Back to School Essential Oils. And I think you will really enjoy using these 9 Uplifting Fall Essential Oil Blends in a diffuser to fill your home with the delicious scents of the season.