As a clinical aromatherapist, I often hear from my clients that as much as they love using essential oils, they are unsure which ones are safe to use for their babies & children and in what doses. I have also found that most children benefit from aromatherapy as they will be quite willing to tell you which aromas they like and don’t like! They will also respond far quicker than adults to the benefits of the oils as their bodies have a lot less toxins that most have us have been exposed to for years.
However, since they are more susceptible to the oils, more cautions need to be applied particularly to babies & young children. Aromatherapy should never be used with babies under 3 months of age due to the sensitivity of their nasal passages and skin.
Our little ones need a diluted dose of essential oils for the reasons above, remember less is more! A good rule is use half the amount you would use on yourself for children aged 7 and over, a third for children aged 3 to 7 and a quarter or less for babies and children up to the age of 3. Always mix neat essential oils in a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil, both are safe for babies & children.
As oil burners can be dangerous in a children’s room with candles and whatnot, a great solution is to use a spray bottle. Add about 20 drops of your chosen oil for children over 3 and 10 drops for the under 3’s into 100ml of spring or distilled water and spray as a room mist or onto their linen.
Lavender and roman chamomile are the best oils you can use in a spray to calm a crying baby. A blend of mandarin and neroli oils is a favourite blend for mums to keep the baby in a happy mood as both oils have a reputation of being a great mood elevator for children. Niaouli & Calendula are perfect for any skin problems such as nappy rash, cradle cap or just the usual cut or scrape. Tea tree is also good for this but for older children only.
You can also add a few drops of chamomile or lavender oil (diluted in a carrier oil) to a baby’s bath to help prepare for bedtime. The safest aromatherapy oils to use as disinfectants that also purify the air are geranium, lavender and eucalyptus. By spraying onto your babies linen and allowing to dry before baby goes to bed also helps get rid of allergens and dust mites. Eucalyptus is best used for babies and children who have a cold.
But we can’t forget the mums! During pregnancy with a new baby on the way and a new mummy in the making spearmint will help with the morning sickness that lasts all day, a blend of Geranium, Chamomile and Lavender will help sooth those aches & pains and for labour a great blend that is both relaxing yet stimulating enough to focus is neroli, lemon, lavender & bergamot.
Used in a cautious and safe manner, essential oils can not only help you calm and cheer your infant or relieve that early evening madness in your children, but they can also be useful for a new on edge mum or a seasoned patience tested one with the added bonus of masking any unpleasant odours that are always a part of a mother’s life.
Little Scents Aromatherapy for children