7 Tips For Safely Using Essential Oils on Kids


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I am very passionate in this area because this is how I started using essential oils. My main goal was to help my first baby sleep (so that I could get some sleep). The very first night that I applied Lavender essential oil on my baby’s feet, she slept 13 hours that night for the first time ever! She was 13 months and I was losing my mind with lack of sleep and needing to function throughout the day. As a natural skeptic, my first thought was that it was a coincidence. But we kept having success after success with oils. Here are a few examples of our victories using essential oils on a baby as a new mom: 

Eva, the baby I mentioned earlier, was also an early walker and fell and got a black eye. We were able to use Frankincense and Lavender and she was immediately comforted from that scary incident and the bruise healed in record time. I was starting to grow more curious about the use of essential oils and its effects on the body. As a nurse, I love to know how things work in the body and I wanted to take a natural approach as much as possible in supporting my children in their health and wellness. So I dove into the research and began expanding my usage of essential oils on myself and my family as “test subjects.” This was such a fun time of learning and experimenting. 

And.... NOW I am a believer!

The experience that really made me a believer on the use of essential oils on kids, was when Eva got croup for the first time. Have you experienced a small child with croup? Croup is a viral infection of the upper airway that causes an obstruction, which results in the classic "barking" cough. There is nothing like that seal barking cough and the look of your child struggling to get oxygen into their lungs. Because it is a viral issue, there isn’t much that the medical community can do besides comfort measures for the symptoms the person is experiencing and just wait it out. I realized I had some powerful gifts at my disposal and I was going to make her more comfortable. I was able to support every cell in her body as well as her immune system to do what it needed to do to heal itself. We were able to help support her tiny airways and she didn’t appear to struggle for oxygen any longer. 

"But, Missy... I once read on the internet (where EVERYTHING is true) that if I use Essential Oils on my kids they WILL DIE"

When I was doing my research, I commonly came across some scary information. Like "YOUR CHILD WILL DIE IF YOU PUT ESSENTIAL OILS ON THEM!!" There seems to be a camp of people that believe that essential oils are going to poison your child if you apply them. Now, there are many many essential oil options out there these days and let me tell you the majority of them are not good- or not to be used in how I am referring to essential oils in this blog or this post. Make sure the essential oils you are using have had some very important tests done by an outside third party lab; such as, Stability, Heavy Metal, TCP/Microbial, Pesticide Analysis, Chiral GC, Isotope Carbon 14, Biochemical Pairing, Taxonomy, VOC Volatile Carbon Analysis, Thin Layer Chromatography, LC/LCMS. If the company you are using can't confirm to you that these tests are done third party with the report, then you need to use a different company. I take natural health and holistic options seriously and the market has exploded over that last few years because of the popularity of essential oils. Most companies are not going to the extent I mentioned to ensure that every aspect of the planting, harvesting, distilling, and testing is done appropriately and ethically primarily because they are purchasing their oil stock from a "middle man" and it is quite expensive to pay a laboratory outside the company to perform and ensure quality and purity.

Anything is poisonous in excess, even water. I am totally about reserve, moderation, and safe practices. I am also about the research and not just reading the click bait headlines. The "studies" that reference injury and death from essential oils are not actual research studies, they are case events and very apparent that unsafe, excessive, and not typical usage of essential oils were used. Like injecting 5cc's (or approximately 85 drops) of peppermint essential oil into the abdomen of a rat. Don't you think this might elicit a negative response? This is why education on essential oils is key and you must be committed to learning about them and their safe uses. (That is my amazing job! And I LOVE it!!)

Here are my 7 tips for safe usage of essential oil on kids.

  1. Essential oils are not a fad. Plant essence has been used for health purposes as long as there have been plants on this planet (say that 10 times as fast as you can). Used from anything from health remedies, salves, fragrance, and embalming procedures. There is more documented historical use of plant based medicine than any other medical remedy out there. This was the primary form of health care from the very beginning and is still used today. Be confident that plant compounds work with your children’s cells and work for their good (and yours too!).
  2. Children are not tiny adults. They don’t need as much of a dose of essential oils to have a big impact. Here is a great chart on Recommended Ideal Amounts for both adults and children.
  3. Dilute. Dilute. Dilute. Kids’ skin is different from adult skin; it’s thinner and generally more sensitive. Even though most oils tend to be non-irritating on the skin (especially on the bottom of the feet, where the skin is thickest), it’s a great idea to dilute essential oil in a good carrier oil before applying to children. You’ll still get the same benefits of the essential oil—you’re just adding extra moisture and pampering delicate child skin. The doTERRA Touch products are great for this, by the way. They’re our favorites!
  4. Diffuse. Aromatherapy is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils without the worry of skin reactions. Inhaled oils have long been studied for their ability to enhance feelings of relaxation, encouragement, excitement, focus, and well-being. Additionally, diffused oils may support a healthier indoor environment. That’s always a bonus when you’ve got a houseful of kids.
  5. Keep out of reach of children. Essential oils are potent and are meant to be used judiciously. My kids love to roll essential oils onto their feet, but we do so with adult supervision. My daughter touched an oregano bottle and touched her eye and it must have had residue on the outside of the bottle. This immediately started to burn her eye and surrounding skin. We were able to apply a carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil, and the burning sensation ceased immediately. We now keep our oils out of reach from little grabby hands, especially those "hot" feeling oils like oregano, lemongrass, cinnamon, and thyme.
  6. Be informed. Do your research and be cautious of things you read on the internet, especially if they seem to be fragrant claims without data to back it up (like death). Don't be afraid to discuss the usage of essential oils with your healthcare provider. Most providers are interested in the different modalities you are using with your kids and are open to learning something new. I have had wonderful conversations with my children's pediatricians and have been able to educate them and provide literature on the rationale and discretion on when and how to use oils in our home. They have been fascinated and thankful for the information. Not all providers are supportive of natural modalities, however, so be prepared for that. Don't let them scare you. If they are also making fragrant claims to get you to not use them, have them back their claims up with data and research. 
  7. Have fun! Nothing feels better as a mom than to help assist your kids' emotional and physical well being. When my son falls and scrapes his knee (every other day it seems), I can apply frankincense diluted to help the wound, but I am also— at the same time— supporting his emotional needs at that time to help calm his nerves and his autonomic nervous system.

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