My {own personal mama-gut} guidelines for oil safety with kids {based on my own personal research and mama experience}.

1. Aromatic:

Aromatic use of essential oils is a GREAT way for kids to experience their benefits. It’s very safe and highly effective. My kids have a diffuser in each of their bedrooms and ask for their oils at night.

Keep the door open: I always advise that there be airflow in a room when diffusing essential oils with kids. So keep the door at least half way open, especially with young children.

Less is more: doTERRA essential oils are powerful! You only need a few drops to make a big impact.

Young Babies: Please see the section on ‘Babies’ below, for more important aromatic safety tips.

2. Topical:

Topical use is a great way for your kids to experience the many benefits of essential oils, with a few safety tips in mind.
More Dilution: Essential oils should be diluted more than they are for adult application, and more carrier oil should be used the younger the child is.

Baths: When adding essential oils to a bath, they must be diluted in a carrier, like bath salts, bubble bath/body wash, or vegetable glycerin. Adding essential oils straight to bath water puts you at risk of causing irritation to the skin.

Hot Oils: Caution should be taken (more carrier oil, small skin patch test, ect) with any essential oils considered “hot” (see safety article), as they may cause damage or discomfort to the skin.

The Sun & Citrus Oils: Citrus oils, and especially Bergamot essential oil, can be photosensitive (Bergamot is actually phototoxic), and can cause reactions on the skin if applied topically before going out into the sun.

The Face: It’s generally a good idea to keep essential oils away from the face in children, particularly in or around the eyes, nose, and mouth. If you are applying near the face for a specific result (eg: teething), just be sure to dilute, test a small patch first, and keep away from the eyes especially.

The Feet: The safest place to apply essential oils on a child topically, would probably be the feet. You’ll then want to cover the feet with socks, especially with babies, so they aren’t able to suck on their little toes and transfer the oil to their mouth. *Read more in the ‘Babies’ section.

3. Internal:

I’ll say that there are very few occasions where I believe it’s necessary to give children essential oils internally. And so, I stick to Aromatic and Topical uses with kids. For adults, more and more studies are showing that there are incredible benefits to the internal usage of pure therapeutic grade essential oils, and many doctors agree. But in my opinion there is just not nearly enough concrete research out there to prove that it is, or isn’t safe for children.

Kids are not mini adults: I’m simply saying that what we do know, is that physically, children have very different bodies than adults. They are not just tiny versions of us. Their skin and organs are more permeable and sensitive than ours, and they are not as capable of dealing with adverse reactions to things. Also, Aromatic and Topical uses are just so powerful on their own.

My one exception: My kids take doTERRA’s children’s supplement; IQ Mega fish oil, every day. IQ Mega contains Wild Orange essential oil. Other brands of Omega supplements for children contain either artificial flavoring, or lesser-quality essential oils. And so I feel very comfortable with doTERRA’s brand, knowing the quality testing involved.

Babies

Keep out of reach: Store your oils somewhere out of reach of children and babies. Not only can undiluted oils cause skin reactions, but certain essential oils (like Wintergreen) could actually be toxic if ingested.

Age guidelines: In babies under three months of age, I would personally recommend using minimal amounts of essential oil (heavily diluted and less frequently). This rule goes for all young babies, but particular in this age category.

How diluted is diluted?: A good rule of thumb would be a dilution of about 1-2 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil for babies. A little goes a long way.

Oils to avoid: Many sources recommend that you do not use peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and wintergreen essential oils around young children or babies. The reason is because they contain the compounds menthol and 1,8-cineole which have been linked to the slowing of breath in some cases.

Blends: If you choose to use a blend of oils (like ‘Easy Air’, or ‘Breathe’, which contains both Eucalyptus and Peppermint in the blend), the amount of each individual essential oil in one drop is far less than an entire drop of those single oils on their own. I would not advise applying this blend to the chest or back on a baby, but on babies over three months old you could massage a small amount (of your diluted mixture) onto the bottoms of the feet.

Allergies: When it comes to babies, you haven’t yet discovered the things they are allergic to in nature. For this reason, it’s important to introduce essential oils one at a time (not more than one oil per day), to watch your baby for any sort of reaction. This will also give your baby’s body a chance to become acquainted with that essential oil.