A hot topic that’s constantly flooding social media and the internet is the use of essential oils with children. There is so much information as well as misinformation circulating that can make it quite confusing. There are hardly absolutes in life and the same applies to the safe and effective use of essential oils around kids.
There are, however, certain essential oils that are generally regarded as safe for children. Keep in mind that there can be some exceptions. Whenever we work with clients, we always do an intake and assess the client’s age, weight, medications, general health, etc. This holds true of anyone that we work with – even children and infants. The more information that we can gather before moving ahead with recommendations the better. Some adults and children can be allergic to certain essential oils and some aromas are unpleasant to certain people. There are so many variables!
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is generally regarded as a safe essential oil to use with children. Always (yes, here is an always) check the Latin or botanical name before choosing an essential oil to use with children or yourself. There are many different species of Lavender that are being sold, and not all Lavenders are the same. Some Lavenders have different chemical components that are not safe for children.
Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis) is another essential oil that is generally safe to use with children. Once again, please check the Latin or botanical name. Often, you may see a recipe or a blend of essential oils and it may list “Chamomile” in the ingredients. German chamomile (Matricaria chamomila or Matricaria recutita) can be confused with Roman chamomile, but they are not the same, nor interchangeable. They are quite distinct with some similar, but also very different properties. They have different colors, different aromas, and different chemistries.
Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) is another essential oil that we feel is generally safe to use with children. Sweet orange is not phototoxic as some other cold pressed citrus essential oils. Many people think that all citrus essential oils are phototoxic, but they are not.
These 3 essential oils are generally regarded as safe. They can be used in a blend as well as a diffuser safely with kids. These three essential oils may seem ordinary, but they are highly therapeutic on many levels and should not be overlooked.
There are numerous books written specifically about the safety of essential oils around kids. They are wonderful reference books to have in our aromatherapy resource library. We use them regularly as references because there has been quite a bit of research work done. We highly recommend seeking a qualified aromatherapist (who has at least 400 hours of training) for guidance. We all need to make informed choices, seek professional guidance, and use our common sense when using essential oils, no matter who the client.
Finally, keep in mind that most hydrosols are extremely safe to use with children. We have written a blog post about our top picks for hydrosols that you may want to check out. They are highly therapeutic and possess many of the properties of essential oils in a very dilute form. They are quite valuable to have in any toolkit for our overall well being.