Children can also reap the rewards of using essential oils with a few safety precautions and research you'll be on your way to natural solutions for your kids!
Here are a few simple safety rules when using essential oils with children:
- Do not use on infants under 24 months unless under the advice of a Certified Aromatherapist or Medical Doctor.
- Do not use internally unless under the advice of a Certified Aromatherapist or Medical Doctor. Also, do not use essential oils in the mouth for teething.
- Consult your doctor or a Certified Aromatherapist prior to using oils if you have an existing health condition, take medication, are pregnant or nursing.
- Photosensitization and phototoxicity can occur when certain essential oils, primarily citrus oils, are exposed to UV light – whether from sunlight or tanning beds. Reactions such as blistering, severe sunburn, changes to skin color or swelling can occur when applying phototoxic oils and then spending time in UV light. You can be susceptible for sometimes up to 72 hours after using certain oils; and therefore should stay out of the sun or cover your skin. Reactions can be temporary or permanent and may not present themselves immediately.
- Prior to diffusing oils in an area where a child is asthmatic or epileptic, research what oils are safe.
More safety tips and more can be found in our "Using Essential Oils with Kids" Tear Sheet Pads.
Essential Oils to AVOID
- Anise (under age 5 which includes during pregnancy and when breastfeeding)
- Clary Sage
- Fennel (under age 5 which includes during pregnancy and when breastfeeding)
- Idaho Tansy
- Peppermint (under age 3)
Under Age 3
- Eucalyptus (only at 0.5% dilution or less)
Over Age 3
- Eucalyptus (only at 1% dilution or less)
- Peppermint (only at 1% dilution or less)
Safer Alternatives to Peppermint or Eucalyptus: Pine, Spruce
Precautions for Children and Pregnant or Nursing Mothers using Fennel Essential Oil
Alarming, yet interesting reads about Fennel Essential Oil which is a known convulsant [1, 2, 3, 7] and hormone modulator that should be avoided all together if pregnant, nursing or in children under 6 [3, 4, 5, 6, 7].
Doctors won't place nursing mothers on birth control containing estrogen since it alters hormones; Fennel also can alter hormones. The capability for Fennel to increase milk production is a moot point as safety of baby and mother outweigh the potential benefit. A safe option would be Basil Essential Oil.
Other known essential oil convulsants  include but are not limited to: eucalyptus, fennel, hyssop, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, savin, tansy, thuja, turpentine, and wormwood.
Just remember, just because essential oils are made from plants (as Alcohol and Tobacco are) doesn't mean they cannot harm you. Research what oil you want to use prior to using it. We recommend Robert Tisserand's Essential Oil Safety.
These tips and more can be found in our "Using Essential Oils with Kids" Tear Sheet Pads.
- Epileptic seizure induced by fennel essential oil
- Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem
- Q & A with Robert Tisserand: "Are some essential oils hormone disruptors for children?"
- Fennel Essential Oil to Increase Mother's Milk? Is it Safe?
- Fennel use while Breasfeeding
- Aromatherapy during pregnancy and nursing... what's safe?
- Dr. Axe: Fennel Essential Oil Risks