Are Essential Oils Safe For Babies?
Essential oil can be safe for babies. However, it depends on how you use it and the age of the baby you are using it on. The younger your baby is, the less likely you can use it on her.
At What Age Can Your Baby Use Essential Oils?
Generally, essential oils are generally not recommended for babies under three months old. Those three months are based on your baby’s actual due date. If she was born prematurely, then you have to wait even longer. For example, let’s say your baby was born a month premature. Your baby will have to wait four months before you let even a drop of essential oil near her.
Even though essential oils are natural, there are good reasons why you have to use it with caution with young children. This is especially true if you ever considered feeding your baby with essential oils. It is never safe feeding essential oils to babies. It might not even be safe for adults not to mention children. If you are ever desperate to do so, then only attempt to do so under the supervision of a qualified doctor.
Why Is It Not Safe To Take Essential Oils Internally?
To understand why, you have to first understand what essential oils really are. To sum it up essential oils are basically highly concentrated herbs (extracted from hundreds to thousands of plants just to make a tiny bottle). You can pretty much consider it to be a medicinal extract.
Even though herbal extract and prescription medicine are considered different things, herbal extract is a type of alternative medicine. Normally, even regular herbal formula has to have their dosage reduced before they are considered safe for children.
Considering how potent essential oils are, giving it to your baby is equivalent to overdosing your baby with hundreds to thousands times the regular safe dosage in one shot. That is the same as poisoning your child. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty dangerous to me. If you make an analogy to prescription medicine, imagine yourself taking 1000 tylenol tablets in one sitting.
Not to mention, it is not necessary to take essentials orally. Essential oils are made of small molecules so it can easily penetrate all of the cells in our body even if you apply it topically (on the skin). Of course, the older, and unhealthy you are, the topical effects gets proportionately reduced.
If You Can’t Feed Essential Oils, Is It Safe To Apply It To Your Baby’s Skin?
Yes, you can but you have to do with caution. As I mentioned earlier, it is probably not a good idea to apply any essential oils to any baby younger than three months. You should wait for your baby to be at least three months older than her due date.
The reason is because little babies can develop strong reactions to chemicals and medicines and that includes essential oils. If your baby happens to be allergic to the essential oil you are giving her, you can be endangering her life even though you are just rubbing a tiny bit on her chest.
Can You Apply Pure Essential Oils To Your Baby’s Skin?
Even if your baby is three months and older, the correct way to apply essential oils is to dilute it first with some kind of carrier oil. Carrier oil is basically an oil that is nourishing without causing irritations to your baby’s skin. The more popular ones would be something like olive oil, coconut oil, raw unfiltered honey, or almond oil.
Applying essentials neat, or in other words, undiluted is never recommended for children. It can cause huge skin irritation problems like red skin rashes for example.
Asthma Victims Beware
Essential oils are often used as a replacement for chemical fragrance. One thing you have to be careful of is if your baby has any natural respiratory problems like asthma for example. Asthma is basically a problem in which your lungs closing its airways due to inflammation. In these situations, essential oils can easily trigger those lung inflammations and cause your baby to be unable to breath, so be very careful.
Even if your baby does not have lung problems, try to avoid applying essential oils to her face, or places close to her face. Babies have developing systems, so better be safe than to be sorry.
Make Sure Your Essential Oils Are Pure
Generally, you can tell your essential oils have no impurities by doing the famous “evaporation test”. It is a very simple test. Get a piece of tissue (any tissue is fine), and add a tiny drop of essential oil to it.
Wait for the essential oil to evaporate. If it evaporates without leaving behind a ring, then it is most likely pure. If it leaves behind a ring, then the manufacturer probably cut corners by diluting it with other oils. This method generally works on most essential oils.
Watch Out For Allergic Reactions
According to ewg.org, certain essential oils can cause allergic reactions in some people. This applies to babies of course. In order to test for that, you should do a spot test with your baby before you apply it in larger amounts.
After you have carefully dilute your oils (about a tiny drop mixed with five teaspoons of carrier oil), apply a small amount (about half of the width of a penny) to your baby’s leg area. Wait for a day or two for a reaction. If there are no redness, pain, swollen, then your baby most likely don’t have an allergic reaction to oil you tested.
Remember to use one essential oil at a time. If your baby has an allergic reaction, then you at least know which specific essential oil not to use.
Never “Pre-mix” Your Essential Oils
As I mentioned earlier, essential oils have to be diluted with carrier oils before they are safe to be used. However, never mix them ahead of time. Mix them immediately before you use it. This is for the sake of preventing the oils from going bad or spoiling. You will see what I mean if you premix your oils. It smells really bad after a while. That is not what you want.
What Uses Are There For Essential Oils?
It can be helpful for lots of things. Rosemary can be good for the brain and memory. Lavender, and chamomile oil can be good for creating a relaxing environment that induces sleep. There are many others.
Some companies even use essential oils to be make an all purpose soap, like Dr. Bronners for example. It can be used for laundry, washing food, and killing bed bugs. Check out my best baby detergent article to learn more about that.
If there are anything you want to learn about essential oils, please leave it in the comment section below.