The popularity of essential oils has significantly risen in the last 10 to 15 years. While it’s awesome that the amazing benefits of the oils are being used to heal all sorts of ailments, proper education about the oils seems to have been lost in translation.
It used to be that the people advising about and selling the oils were in majority, certified aromatherapists. These days, many people selling them have not been provided with the knowledge that they should have to be recommending particular oils, especially in regards to pregnant women and children.
Essential oils are potent, obviously, that’s why they are so great at healing so many afflictions, be it emotional, physical or mental. Because of this, it’s important that people know how to use these oils safely. And for the record, it’s not about one brand being better or safer than another (as people sometimes claim).
There is one reference guide that is my go to for research and that is "Essential Oil Safety" by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Tisserand is THE single most respected authority for so many things pertaining to aromatherapy and essential oils but particularly when it is a question of safety. He has been studying, researching and writing about this subject for very many years. This book sits beside my desk — and I have many aromatherapy books that aren't in this revered spot — so I can easily reach over and check, double check everything whether I am making up a blend, writing a blog, commenting on a social media site or just curious — the answers are always (yes, always) there and easily found. He has given the world of aromatherapy what no one else could — legitimacy and safety.
What Essential Oils Should You Use in Diffusers for Your Children?
I get asked frequently about the "avoid" list and what that means as far as what essential oils CAN be used. Here are some of the common essential oils that are safe to use for children.
Citrus family oils are wonderful room deodorizers and air fresheners. Safe for age 2 years and up. These include: Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Grapefruit (Citrus paradisii), Lemon (Citrus limonum), Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), Neroli/Orange Blossom (Citrus aurantium), Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis), Tangerine (Citrus reticulata), Lemongrass, which is not a citrus but has deodorizing properties (Cymbopogon flexuosus), Andropogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon citratus and Andropogon citratus.
Herb and flower family oils for anxiety, relaxation and sleep — safe for age 2 years and up. They include Lemon basil (Ocimum x citriodorum) — avoid topical use on children under 2; German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Rose (Rosa damascene), Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides), Ylang-Ylang and Cananga odorata.
Mint family oils are beneficial for respiratory health. Safe for age 6 years and up. They include: Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus Autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii, Peppermint Mentha x Piperita, Rosemary (1,8-cineole chemotype) Rosmarinus officinalis and Spearmint (Mentha spicata).
More about peppermint oil and children (From the NAHA Safety Note for Peppermint Essential Oil):
• Avoid use on children under 30 months of age. The nasal mucosa is an autonomic reflexogen organ, which has a distance action to the heart, lungs and circulation and may lead to sudden apnoea and glottal constriction.
• Direct application of peppermint oil to the nasal area or chest to infants should be avoided because of the risk of apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasms, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis and respiratory arrest.
• Do not apply undiluted peppermint essential oils to the feet, particularly on infants and children under the age of 12.
• Inhalation of large doses of menthol may lead to dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness, nausea and double vision. (Natural Standard Research Collaboration, peppermint oil)
Spice family oils are useful for fighting germs and bacteria. Safe for age 6 years and up in very small quantities. These are generally found in a blend known as THIEVES, and include: Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Clove Bud, Clove Leaf, Clove Stem (Syzygium aromaticum), Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia aromatica and Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum).
The knowledge of the Latin names for essential oils is extremely important when differentiating between safe and unsafe oils, which is why I have listed them with the common names (in parentheses when common names are given). I realize this is a lot of information to absorb, and that is why you should always do extensive research or consult a certified aromatherapist before using any essential oils on or around children.
General: As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted, in eyes or mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep stored away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.