Essential Oil Care for Children & Babies
The information on this page is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be used to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, illness or injury. Seek professional medical attention if your child appears to have any disease, illness or injury.
When using essential oils on babies and children, it is always best to dilute 1-2 drops of pure essential oils with 1/2-1 tsp. vegetable oil. If the oils are used in a bath, always use a bath gel base as a dispersing agent for the oils.
Keep essential oils out of children's reach. If an oil is ever ingested, give the child an oil-soluble liquid such as milk, cream, or half & half. Then call your local poison control center or seek emergency medical attention. A few drops of pure essential oil shouldn't be life-threatening, but for your protection, it is best to take these precautions.
In Shirley Price's book, Aromatherapy for Babies and Children, she mentions 19 oils that are safe for children. These oils are:
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)*
- Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)**
- Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile)
- Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
- Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)*
- Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)*
- Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
- Melaleuca-Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Orange (Citrus aurantium)*
- Rose Otto (Rosa damascena)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)**
- Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
- Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- Thyme (Thumus vulgaris CT linalol)
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
*These oils are photosensative; always dilute. To prevent a rash or pigmentation of the skin, do not use citrus oils when exposed to direct sunlight.
**These oils should never be used undiluted on babies and children.
Caution: Do not use synthetic or adulterated oils. Do not use oils with different botanical names until the safety data has been thoroughly reviewed.
Essential Oil Uses for Babies and Children
See the Common and Botanical Name Index for the botanical name of each oil listed below.
Colic: Bergamot, ginger, mandarin, marjoram, Roman chamomile, rosemary, or ylang ylang. Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. Almond oil with 1 drop Roman chamomile, 1 drop lavender, and 1 drop geranium. Mix and apply to stomach and back. Note: Burping the baby, and keeping the abdomen warm with a warm (not hot) water bottle will often bring relief.
Common Cold: Cedarwood, lemon, Melaleuca ericifolia, rosemary, rose, sandalwood, or thyme. Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil with 2 drops melaleuca (Tea Tree), 1 drop lemon, and 1 drop rose otto. Massage a little of the blend on neck and chest.
Constipation: Ginger, mandarin, orange, or rosemary. Dilute one of the oils and massage on stomach and feet.
Cradle Cap: Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. almond oil with 1 drop lemon and 1 drop geranium or with 1 drop cedarwood and 1 sandalwood. Mix and apply a small amount on head.
Croup: Marjoram, ravensara, rosewood, sandalwood, or thyme. Dilute for massage or diffuse. Bundle baby or child up and take outside to breathe cold air.
Crying: Cypress, frankincense, geranium, lavender, Roman chamomile, rose otto, or ylang ylang. Dilute for massage or diffuse.
Diaper Rash: Lavender (dilute and apply). Blend: Combine 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop lavender with vegetable oil and apply.
Digestion (sluggish): Lemon or orange. Dilute and massage feet and stomach.
Dry Skin: Rosewood or sandalwood. Dilute and apply.
Earache: Lavender, melaleuca (Tea Tree), Melaleuca ericifolia, Roman chamomile, or thyme (sweet). Put a diluted drop of oil on a cotton ball and place on the surface of the ear; rub a little bit of diluted oil behind the ear. Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil with 2 drops lavender, 1 drop Roman chamomile, and 1 drop melaleuca (Tea Tree). Put a drop on a cotton ball and put on surface of the ear, rub behind the ear and on the ear Vita Flex feet points.
Fever: Lavender. Dilute in vegetable oil and massage baby or child (back of neck, feet, behind ear, etc.). Peppermint (diffuse only).
Flu: Cypress, lemon, Melaleuca ericifolia. Dilute 1 drop of each in 1 Tbsp. bath gel base for a bath or diffuse.
Hiccoughs: Mandarin. Diffuse
Jaundice: Geranium, lemon, lime, mandarin, or rosemary. Dilute and apply on the liver area and on the liver Vita Flex feet points.
Premature: Since premature babies have very thin and sensitive skin, it is best to avoid the use of essential oils.
Rashes: Lavender, Roman chamomile, rose otto, or sandalwood. Dilute and apply.
Teeth Grinding: Lavender (rub on feet).
Tonsillitis: Ginger, lavender, lemon, or melaleuca (Tea Tree), Roman chamomile. Dilute and apply.
Thrush: Geranium, lavender, lemon, melaleuca (Tea Tree), Melaleuca ericifolia, rosewood, or thyme. Dilute and apply. Blend: 2 Tbsp. garlic oil, 8 drops lavender, 8 drops Melaleuca ericifolia, 1 ml. Vitamin E oil. Apply to nipples just before nursing, or with a clean finger into baby's mouth.
For more information on the use of essential oils and aromatherapy for babies and children, see also the books Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby by Allison England, and Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood.
The information on this page is an abridgement from the Reference Guide for Essential Oils "Personal Guide" section by Connie and Alan Higley, ©1998-2002. This information has been designed to help educate the reader in regard to the subject matter covered. This information is provided with the understanding that the publisher, the authors, and Abundant Health, LLC are not liable for the misconception or misuse of the information provided. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition of the body. The authors, publisher, and Abundant Health LLC shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this information. The information presented is in no way inteded as a substitute for medical counseling. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should consult a qualified health care professional.