FAQs Regarding Use of Essential Oils for Children

November 21, 2018
kids essential faq hero

Are essential oils safe for use around and on children?

Just like adults, children can benefit from aromatherapy through use in a diffuser or properly diluted topical application. However, caution should be used since essential oils naturally are heavily concentrated. Children may have unknown allergies that will make use of certain essential oils off-limits for them, even essential oils that may be deemed generally safe for children of their age. That being said, you should always exercise caution when introducing children to essential oils. When in doubt, get it approved by a licensed practitioner before use. Please consult an essential oil book or other professional reference source for suggested dilution ratios. Also note that some essential oils can make the skin more sensitive in the sun and should not be used outdoors.

Can children ingest NOW® essential oils?

NOW® essential oils are intended solely for use as aromatherapy products; they are not intended for internal use as they are highly concentrated and because of labeling restrictions (see Food Grade FAQ’s for more information). Take care to store the essential oils out of reach of small children; as the oils do smell very good, they may be tempted to ingest.

Is there a difference between topical application dilution and ratios for diffusing?

Dilution ratios for children for both diffusion and topical application are much lower than those for adults, as children are more susceptible to the effects of some essential oils. In general, using a properly diluted essential oil on an adult first and letting the child get used to it through skin contact is a good place to start. When using a diffuser, make sure the room is well ventilated and begin with the minimum number of essential oil drops. You can gradually work your way up to creating a proper dilution in a carrier oil for topical applications ─ anywhere from 0.1 - 2%, depending on their age (once you are certain that your child has no allergies to that particular oil). Caution should always be exercised when combining oils to ensure the proper ratio of essential oil to carrier oil for topical applications or water to oil in a diffuser.

What NOW® essential oils should I NOT use around my children?

As mentioned above, some children may be allergic to even essential oils that are deemed generally safe for their age group. You should exercise caution when using essential oils with your children, ensuring the proper dilution is used and introducing each oil gradually on yourself, through dilution with a carrier oil, or for diffusion. In addition, essential oils or essential oil-containing products should NEVER be applied on or near the face of a child.

The following NOW® Essential Oils should NEVER be used around or on children of different age groups:

Sixteen years and under

  • Wintergreen

Twelve years and under

  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Marjoram (Spanish Type)
  • Rosemary

Five years and under

  • Star Anise
  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Marjoram (Spanish Type)
  • Rosemary

Two years and under

  • Spike Lavender
  • Hyssop
  • Peppermint
  • Camphor
  • Star Anise
  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Marjoram (Spanish Type)
  • Rosemary

What oils do you recommend for use with children?

As mentioned above, you should gradually introduce new oils deemed safe for children. Children may have allergies to essential oils deemed generally safe for their age group.

Here are some essential oils recommended by NOW that are generally safe for children without allergies or impaired immune systems to use in our diffusers:

Quick Reminders:

  • Ensure diffusers are used in an open, well-ventilated area of the home.
  • If diffusing an oil for the first time, carefully monitor your child for the first several minutes to see how they react to the scent. If they show signs of discomfort cease diffusion immediately and air out the area by opening windows and doors.
  • Never leave a running diffuser and a child unattended; diffusion should only be done when you or another adult are present.
  • Keep your essential oils in a secure place where children cannot reach the undiluted product.