The Pediatric Guide to Essential Oils
Essential oils are all the rage, and with good reason. When used properly, they can yield some amazing benefits for everything from runny noses to attention issues. While essential oils can help people of all ages, I want to focus on some great essential oil uses for kids.
First, a few ground rules:
- Quality matters. The stuff found at the bed and bath store is probably not going to be pure and safe for you or your children.
- Use topically or aromatically. Pure essential oils are safe for use aromatically or topically on children.
- Dilute for topical use. Always, always, always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or almond oil, when topically applying them on your kids. Their skin is more sensitive and using oils “neat” can lead to sensitivities and rashes.
- Diffuse oils for aromatic use. When diffusing oils, use a diffuser that is made for essential oils. It shouldn’t heat the oil at all because that would denature it. Also don’t put oils in humidifiers or nebulizers as those aren’t made of plastics of high enough grade to not be ruined by the oils. When diffusing oils for yourself or your kids, make sure air can flow – either diffuse in a large open room, or keep doors open in bedrooms or other smaller rooms.
- Never ever put essential oils directly in the ears, eyes or nose. Along those lines, when you apply essential oils topically on the kids, make sure they can’t touch the oils and then accidentally rub their eyes. If that ever happens, use fractionated coconut oil to ease the burn.
- Keep all EO’s out of reach of kids. If they ever accidentally “get into” your oils, call poison control and consider a trip to the ER. They are potent and could cause some harm if ingested or applied to sensitive body parts without dilution and supervision.
Now onto the good stuff: Essential oil uses for kids!
Since we’re coming up on allergy season, I thought we could start there. Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint, mixed together in equal parts, are amazing for those pesky seasonal symptoms. Apply on the spine 2-3 times a day, or on the bottoms of the feet for kids under 3. Adults can take part in this too, with application on the spine, the feet, or over the sinuses. If you’re avoiding peppermint for a specific reason, Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil) can be a decent substitute in this combination.
Owie’s or Boo-Boo’s
Melaleuca (Tea Tree) essential oil has antiseptic properties and can help “clean up” any scrape or cut. Lavender is soothing, and Frankincense is amazing for wound healing. You can make a spray in a 10 mL glass spray bottle, with water and 10 drops of each of these oils for a boo-boo blend.
Respiratory blends containing Eucalyptus, Peppermint, lemon and Melaleuca (Tea Tree) oils are really great for opening airways and improving congested breathing. They can be diffused or applied on the chest diluted. You can also put a couple of drops in the shower and let the steam “diffuse” them. If you’re concerned about applying these oils to the chest, you can get great effects by applying them on the feet.
Most ear infections are caused by viruses and they are self-limited. Even most bacterial ear infections will clear on their own. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t use essential oils to help the process. Melaleuca essential oil, diluted and applied around the ears is a great way to combat any infectious culprits in those ears. You can do this 3-4 times per day. If that alone doesn’t help with pain, Grapefruit essential oil is great for discomfort in and around the ears. Just dilute and apply around the ears. And don’t forget the garlic oil (one drop in the ear 3 times a day). If after 24-48 hours of this your child is still really uncomfortable or has high fever or vomiting, it might be time for antibiotics.
Itchy watery eyes are no fun. Lavender can be diluted and applied around the eye socket.
Protective blends containing Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils are really great for soothing sore throats. If the child is old enough to gargle, put a mouthful of warm water in a shot-sized glass and add 2-5 drops of a protective blend with oils as noted above. Your child can gargle this liquid and spit it out. Do as much as needed to help with the symptoms. If the child is too young to gargle, dilute this oil blend and apply to the neck and jawline.
Immune System Support and Surface Cleansing
The same Protective blends mentioned above are amazing for supporting a healthy immune response. Apply to the feet or the spine daily. You can also use these blends to sanitize hands and surfaces like countertops and doorknobs.
Diluted lavender oil applied along the jawline is soothing for a teething child. Some people feel comfortable dabbing lavender or clove oil directly on the gums. If just dabbing, this would be okay 1-2 times a day at the most.
Attention and Focus
A Focus Blend containing Amyris, Patchouli, Frankincense, Lime, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, and Chamomile essential oils might be just the ticket for getting your child to focus better at school or during homework time. Apply diluted to the wrists for all-day support. Also consider Vetiver, Frankincense, Lemon, or Cedarwood essential oils alone or in combination to help your kiddo focus.
Healthy Sleep or Calming
Reassuring blends of Vetiver, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Clary Sage, Marjoram, Labdanum and Spearmint are incredibly calming both during a tantrum or meltdown, or at bedtime. Apply diluted to the spine or feet to get that effect of calming. I use this blend myself at night when it’s time to settle my mind down and get some zzz’s.
For kids who have a tougher time with transitions or in social situations, several oils can help. Cedarwood helps improve connections with others. Geranium is great for adapting to new situations or for transitions between activities. Juniper Berry is great for calming night terrors or for helping when loud noises cause distress. Bergamot calms agitation, improves appetite, and calms emotional stress. Sandalwood quiets the mind and is great in the middle of a meltdown.
I just touched on a few ways that essential oils can help your child. There are so many other ways oils can be of amazing use in your home and for the health of your children. One of my favorite things about taking care of patients at CentreSpringMD is I get to make sure each patient I take care of gets personalized essential oils recommendations in their very thorough treatment plan.
The statements in this blog have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned above are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
|Dr. Jamilet Alegria, M.D., joined the CentreSpring MD team of providers in the fall of 2016 after spending years as a Pediatric Hospitalist at both CHOC Children’s in Orange County and at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Inpatient Pediatrics Unit in Southern California.|
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit with Dr. Jamilet Alegria, M.D..
Categories: Pediatric Wellness