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3 Essential Oils Safe To Use On Children

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3 Essential Oils Safe To Use On Children

Natural Ways To Stop Sniffles, Help Skin Conditions And Ease Tummy Upsets
Andrea Butje
Andrea Butje More by this author
Nov 28, 2016 at 10:30 AM

As an Aromatherapy educator and the founder of Aromahead Institute, I’m always happy to offer my perspective on using essential oils for children.

If you’re a parent or a caretaker, making homemade Aromatherapy blends for kids can offer real peace of mind. It allows you to know exactly what’s going on your children’s skin or what they’re breathing in, and you can trust that what’s in your blends is pure and natural—no potentially harsh chemicals.

And kids love the way essential oils smell! 

If you search for information about using essential oils for kids, you’ll probably find a lot of differing approaches. At Aromahead Institute, I take a somewhat conservative approach. I like to stick with a few key essential oils that I know to be extremely gentle, and I like to use as little oil as possible to create the therapeutic effects I’m after. I call this “The Aromahead Approach.” 

In my book, The Heart Of Aromatherapy,  I have over 100 recipes for your health. It will be released in early 2017, pre-order it here.

For children younger than five, I often skip using essential oils on their skin. I diffuse them, instead. Little children tend to have sensitive and responsive systems. Diffusing essential oils, and using carrier oils, butters, and hydrosols (aromatic waters) can often be enough to nudge kids who are so young back toward health.

For kids who are older than five, here are three gentle, effective, and versatile essential oils I like to blend with:

•    Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
•    Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
•    Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)


Lavender is famous for its soothing presence. It’s amazing for skin care, and you can use it for bug bites, stings, burns, itching, and other forms of irritation. Lavender can help reduce inflammation and calm everything down! It’s also good if you want to help bruises heal more quickly. (A Lavender bruise blend is great to have around during summer when kids are playing outside.) Lavender loves to support children’s overall health, and can even help them breathe more easily when the sniffles show up. When it’s time for bed (or for easing anxiety throughout the day), you can use Lavender to help kids relax and sleep easily.


Cedarwood’s warm, woody aroma is comforting and reassuring. Cedarwood offers support for skin by calming inflammation, and you can use it for a wide variety of uncomfortable skin issues. This is also one of my first choices in respiratory blends for children. If I’ve got an adult recipe made with Eucalyptus—which is an amazing essential oil for respiratory support but can be a little too strong for children—I’ll often substitute Cedarwood instead of Eucalyptus to create a kid-friendly version of the blend.

Sweet Orange

Children love the scent of Sweet Orange essential oil! It’s familiar and bright, and has a way of making kids say, “Mmm!” (As with all essential oils, be sure to store Sweet Orange in a place where kids can’t reach it.) It’s also relaxing, so you can use it in bedtime blends. Sweet Orange calms inflammation and is a good choice for relieving pain, such as sore muscles, or to soothe kids’ upset stomachs.

Did you notice anything about these three oils? They have a lot of therapeutic properties in common, don’t they? They all support skin and inspire relaxed and happy feelings. They all reduce inflammation (and pain), help you breathe more deeply, and are supportive of overall health and well-being.

These three oils complement one another’s effects. You can choose just one for your blend, or combine all three.

Ready for some recipes?

Skin Soother

You can keep this blend on hand for any little skin issue that pops up, such as a bug bite, bruise, or a small scrape. This blend is made at a 1% dilution. (This is the dilution used for kids’ topical blends in The Aromahead Approach.)

•    1 oz (30 ml) jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
•    4 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
•    2 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle. Pour the jojoba into the bottle, add the essential oils, then shake gently. Apply gently as needed.

I Feel Calm and Happy Inhaler

Aromatherapy inhalers are great for kids, because they can use inhalers all by themselves. 
•    2 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
•    2 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
•    3 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Aromatherapy inhalers are very easy to make. The inhaler itself looks like a lip balm tube, and has a cotton insert inside. The cotton insert is what absorbs the essential oils. Here’s a video where I demonstrate the process for you.

Stop Those Sneezes! Diffuser Blend

Diffusing essential oils for kids is simple! This blend offers relief during a cold, and can help reduce sniffling and stuffiness. If it’s bedtime, you can diffuse this blend for fifteen minutes before tucking the child in.

•    2 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
•    3 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)

All you have to do is drop your essential oils into the diffuser.

My Belly Feels Better Oil

Sometimes kids get upset stomachs, and then what do they say? “My belly hurts!” This is a belly oil that they can massage into their stomachs and low backs to ease indigestion, nausea, or other tummy troubles . . . and then they can say, “My belly feels better.”

•    1 oz (30 ml) jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
•    5 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
•    1 drop Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle. Pour the jojoba into the bottle, add the essential oil, then shake gently. Apply gently as needed.

It can be a lot of fun to let kids help when you’re making these blends! Aromatherapy is a creative activity you can share, and then the products you’ve made together carry an even more special feeling.

In this video I am making an essential oil body wash recipe that can help your sinuses feel clear and open. I love using it in my morning shower! I call it the “Sinus Clear Body Wash.”

I mentioned above that I like to use hydrosols for kids younger than five. Hydrosols are created during distillation, at the same time as the essential oil is produced. The hydrosol is the water portion of the distillation, and it also has a rich aroma and therapeutic properties. 

Some hydrosols you can use for kids are Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), and Calendula (Calendula officinalis). You can spray hydrosols directly on children’s skin to soothe irritation, or spray them on blankets and pillows to support sleep.

Oh, and one final note! Maybe you’ve heard that citrus essential oils are phototoxic, meaning they cause skin reactions in sunlight. This is true for many citrus oils . . . but Sweet Orange is an exception! Sweet Orange is NOT a phototoxic essential oil, and you can feel free to use it without worrying about reactions in sunlight.

Happy blending!

My book, The Heart Of Aromatherapy, contains over 100 recipes. It will be released in early 2017, pre-order it here.

About Author
Andrea Butje
Andrea Butje, LMT, Clinical Aromatherapist and recipient of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists Lifetime Achievement Award for her notable career contributions as an educator, entrepreneur and author. Andrea serves as The Aromahead Insti Continue reading