Fatherly: Are Essential Oils Safe For Babies? What Parents Need to Know.
By Christian Dashiell
Essential oils are an $18 Billion industry. So there’s a good chance that a baby could come in contact with them, either in their own home or the home of a family member or relative. With that in mind, parents should consider infant safety: Are essential oils safe for babies to be around? Do they even have therapeutic uses for the littlest humans?
Unfortunately, it turns out that essential oils aren’t typically safe for babies according to Dr. Anna Esparham, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, who has been trained in aromatherapy. She notes that essential oils are too potent for general use with babies younger than nine months.
“Essential oils can affect their secretions and their respiratory function,” Esparham explains. “Babies absorb a whole lot more due to their body surface area.”
There are some caveats, however. And there are also essential oil alternatives.
A handful of oils can be used for kids older than nine months, but they require a 1.25% dilution. But most essential oils aren’t safe for use in kids under five. Because essential oils typically don’t contain precise warning labels regarding babies, it’s difficult for parents to know which oils may have contraindications or carry the risk of side effects.
Dr. Esparham recommends consulting an aromatherapist who has been certified by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy to help guide your use of these products. “It is tough to find the precautions unless you have actual textbooks for the essential oils,” she cautions. “Each essential oil can contain hundreds of different chemicals. You have to be mindful of the properties all these chemicals have and it’s hard to figure out unless you study it.”
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