Did you know that the essential oils market is expected to reach almost $12 billion this year! Billion! Probably someone you know has tried their hand in selling doTERRA oils and you’ve probably heard how peppermint oil helps nausea.
Essential oils are big business, but are they safe for your baby or child?
What Are Essential Oils Used For?
You might already be aware of the more popular uses like tea tree oil for acne prevention or citrus oil to prevent bacterial growth. However, essential oil advocates will also share that they are also used for their antimicrobial, antiviral, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Other uses include relieving stress, stabilizing moods, or helping with insomnia.
Do Essential Oils Work?
This is a complicated question. People who use them extol their benefits. However, scientific studies have mixed reviews. This is due to the complication that a lot of essential oils don’t contain one specific component. In an individual oil, up to 400 substances can be identified.1
Are They Safe For Babies and Children?
First, it’s important to note that essential oils don’t require FDA approval.
Second, so far it would appear that there are very few negative side effects when they’re used as directed in children. Unless we’re talking about lavender and tea tree oils which have been linked to breast enlargement in prepubescent boys when applied over long periods of time.2
Will lavender oil help my baby sleep?
The real reason you’re probably reading this… will lavender oil help your child sleep better?
Honestly, I can’t give you a specific yes or no answer. It might, or it might not help at all. It depends on the baby.
Number One Tip – the biggest factor that will help your child sleep is helping them learn independent sleep skills. When your child learns to put themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night, they will experience restorative, restful nights.
So, if you feel comfortable using essential oils safely and find them effective, then go ahead, but you may find that you need a more comprehensive approach to address the main cause of your child’s sleep issues. That’s where we can help.
A sleep coach helps you with a step-by-step plan to help your child sleep through the night.
Essential Oils Safety Guidelines
*According to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
1. Don’t use undiluted oils directly on skin. Oils in their full form can be harmful if applied directly to the skin. Safe dilutions for children generally range from 0.5- 2.5% depending on the condition and the age/weight of the child. Oils can be added to carrier oils, distilled water, and lotions.
2. Don’t add undiluted oils to bathwater. Since oil and water don’t mix, the concentrated form could irritate the skin.
3. Don’t swallow oils. Essential oils are highly concentrated oils that can be toxic if swallowed.
4. Don’t overuse oils. Be mindful of how often and how much you use on your child. For example, don’t use a lotion that contains lavender and then apply an essential oil.
5. Don’t use peppermint oil on children less than 30 months old. Peppermint used on children under 30 months of age can increase a risk for seizures.
6. Don’t use oils near a heat source. Using essential oils near a heat source can cause a fire.
7. Don’t use essential oils near the eyes, ears and nose.
8. Do buy oils from a reliable source. “Check the source of the essential oils to avoid oils that might contain contaminants,” Gujral says. “Look for credible companies that list the scientific name of the oil, source of the oil, and who also list a contact number to answer any questions you might have.”
9. Do avoid sunlight for some essential oils. Always check the caution remarks for each essential oil you use.
10. Do store oils in a cool dry place. Store oils in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight and out of reach of children.
11. Do apply a patch test first. Before using an oil on your child’s skin, apply it on a small area of skin and wait 24 hours to see if there is an adverse reaction before using it again.
12. Do consult an expert. If you have any questions about how to use an oil or the dilution ratios to use on your child, consult an expert before use.
1 Ramsey, J Tyler et al. “Essential Oils and Health.” The Yale journal of biology and medicine vol. 93,2 291-305. 29 Jun. 2020
2 PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. Aromatherapy With Essential Oils (PDQ®): Patient Version. 2021 Oct 26.