There's so much information on the internet about essential oils and most of it is conflicting, right? What's a concerned mama to believe?
I've been using oils on my littles since they were 3 and newborn. Ella Claire will turn 3 in just a few months, and guess what? She hasn't been to the doctor for a sick visit in her entire life! I got my first oils kit when she was about 3 months old and that's the only "medicine" I've ever had to use on her.
Connor had RSV when he was a baby (scariest thing ever, am I right?) and several other nasty colds that he had to have a prescription for, but since we've changed our diet to incorporate more nourishing foods and added some essential oil routines, he hasn't been sick either.
At their last well-check, our pediatrician joked that we were going to just have to start coming by to visit since she never gets to see us.
When I bought my first oils, I didn't believe that essential oils could "heal" anything. I honestly bought a kit just for the diffuser because I had just thrown out all of my beloved air fresheners and candles and I wanted a way to scent my house without synthetic fragrance.
But now? Now I KNOW what these oils (and good food) can do for our bodies and I'm so thankful that I can feel confident caring for my family's health.
I don't panic anymore when someone has a cough or a sniffle, an upset tummy, or a terrible dream. I know what tools to pull out my wellness cabinet and I know how to use them safely.
Essential oils are powerful, but they're nothing to be afraid of. Used smartly, they can be of great benefit to your little ones' wellness.
Be aware of the quality of essential oils you use on your kids.
First, let's talk about essential oil quality. I know you've read the warnings to only use pure, therapeutic- grade oils. The problem with that is there is no standard definition of what pure, therapeutic-grade actually means. So really, any company can make this claim (and most of them do), but it doesn't necessarily mean that the oils are of high quality.
Essential oils are considered cosmetics by the FDA, who is in charge of regulating the safety of consumer products and how they are advertised. There are no set regulations defining the terms "natural" or "organic" in the cosmetic industry, just as there is no regulation for "pure" cosmetics. In fact, "the law doesn’t require cosmetics to have FDA approval before they go on the market."
So a bottle of essential oil can be labeled "organic" or "pure" and still contain carrier oils, synthetic fragrance, or other fillers that are potentially dangerous if you ingest, inhale, or apply them to your skin. You can check out the recommended dilution ratios by age here.
How do I know which essential oil brands are safe for my kids?
Research! As a veggie farmer, I do everything I can to make my business transparent to the community; I don't hide anything from my customers. I post pictures of the gardens, I communicate what's going on at the farm as the seasons change, and I invite them to visit the farm each week to see how their veggies are grown.
I expect the same kind of transparency from the companies that I do business with. If I'm going to eat it, breathe it, or rub it on my skin, then I want to know all about the product.
Some questions to ask as you're researching:
- Does this essential oil company own/oversee their farms, or do they purchase from third-party supply companies?
- Do they distill the oils themselves? What does the distillation process look like?
- Do they add any additional ingredients to their essential oils?
- What does their safety testing look like? Do they test in-house, from a third-party, or both?
- How easily can I talk with customer service and get the answers I need?
- How long has this company been in business?
I use this brand because of their transparency; they run their business the way that I run my farm!
I found a brand that I trust. Now how do I use these oils on my kids safely?
Essential oils do come from plants, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you can slather them all over your babies and kids without thought. Just like we follow basic precautions when introducing solid foods, when taking them to the pool, or when transitioning to a big-kid bed, there's a couple of things to keep in mind when using essential oils on babies or kids:
- Never put essential oils directly into the eyes or ears. Placing a few drops of oil on a cotton ball, then placing the cotton ball in your ear is recommended. You can also apply diluted oils around the outside of your ears.
- Citrus oils are photosensitive. If you apply them to the skin, you will want to avoid direct sunlight for 12 hours so that you don’t burn.
- I always recommend a carrier oil when applying oils topically to children, until you feel comfortable doing otherwise. My favorite carriers are coconut oil and sweet almond oil.
- When using essential oils in the kids' bath, add a few drops to some milk or a tablespoon of soap first, then mix it into bath water. This will help the oils adhere to something and spread throughout the bath, so that they aren't just sitting on top of the water.
- Infant skin is much thinner than adult skin, so dilution is usually a good idea if you're applying essential oils to babies.
- If you're concerned about the safety of Peppermint or Eucalyptus essential oil in young kids, this video is a good resource.
Natural well-care doesn't have to be scary, overwhelming, or elusive. You can feel confident using essential oils on your kids as long as you're certain of the company you're purchasing from and you follow the basic safety advice.
You can do it, Mama. You CAN care for your family's health, you CAN take small steps towards a big goal, you CAN empower your kids to live better lives.
Is it a little scary? Yes. Is it an investment? Yes. Is it worth it? If it means I get to plant flowers with my girl for a lot more years, then absolutely.
Are you the kind of girl who needs a guideline? Grab a copy of the Essential Oil Safety Sheet; I've included the generally recommended dilution ratios for babies and kids.
For a complete resource, I love this book for all of my kids + oils questions.
Do you use essential oils on your kids? What are your favorite blends? Share your wisdom in the comments!