Essential oils are a gentle way to help children through some minor illness and first aid issues but if they don’t respond within a short time seek medical help.
First some ground rules
Do not apply neat to the skin as children have more sensitive skins and are more prone to sensitization.
If a skin reaction does occur discontinue using the oil and apply some vegetable oil, wipe off and apply again. Should you or they get oil in the eye wash the eye out with vegetable oil a couple of times.
If by some chance your child should swallow a large amount of essential oils and this could be as little as 5 or 10mls in the case of a very young child don’t delay. Treat it as a medical emergency and take the child to the nearest emergency room. Don’t try and make them vomit it back up as you may damage their lungs.
Dosage is important with young children, under 2 years keep to 0.5%, for those 2 – 7 years 1% is fine. 7-12 years 1.5%. This translates to 2 drops in 20mls of cold pressed vegetable oil for under 2’s, 4-5 drops for 2-7’s and 8 drops for 7-12’s. Once they reach 12 years you can use the adult dosage of 2.5 or 5 % 10 – 20 drops per 20mls depending on use.
The Essential Oils
When buying essential oils it is important to buy oils with the same botanical name as there are many different lavenders, chamomiles and eucalyptus. These are just some of the oils considered safe for children.
Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
Chamomile German (Matricaria recutita/chamomilla)
Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii) – considered more gentle for children
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii/sacra)
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Lavender (Lavender officinalis/true/angustifolia)
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
You may choose to use one oil or a combination of 2 or 3. If blending remember that the number of drops above is for the total amount of essential oils in the blend.
Chicken pox – Australian sandalwood, German chamomile, geranium, lavender – as a spray, in the bath, compress or gentle massage
Cold – Eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender in a vaporiser or chest rub
Colic – Roman chamomile, mandarin, spearmint – gentle clockwise stomach massage
Constipation – German chamomile, mandarin, spearmint – gentle clockwise stomach massage
Eczema – German chamomile, geranium, lavender – gentle massage or spray or compress
Measles – German chamomile, geranium, lavender – spray, bath, compress or gentle massage
Nappy rash – Roman chamomile, frankincense, geranium, lavender – spray or add 2-4 drops to a 500ml bowl of warm or cool water and clean area.
Teething – Lavender, Roman chamomile – gentle massage into cheeks and jawline
For massage – use number of drops above in cold pressed vegetable oil. Do not use baby oil, mineral oil or sorbolene cream as the oils will not be absorbed.
For spray – Add up to 15 drops in total to 50mls of spring or distilled water or hydrosol in a mist bottle and shake before each use. If you have a solubiliser or oil to water dispersant, follow the instructions and mix the oil and dispersant together before adding to the water.
Compress – Add 2-4 drops to a 500ml bowl of warm or cool water.
Bath – Add 2-4 drops of essential oils to a dispersant or some full fat milk before adding to the bath water. Do not put oils straight into the bath water as there is a chance of the child getting them in their eyes while splashing.
Vaporiser – Up to 4 -6 drops is usually sufficient in a vaporiser.