Veriditas By Pranarom

Using Essential Oils with Children

If you love essential oils and you have children, you've probably wondered, "Are my essential oils safe to use around my kids?" Good news - many essential oils can be used safely around children if you follow a few simple guidelines. We're going to outline a few of them for you today. 

General Guidelines
  1. As with all essential oil use, please follow the general guidelines for safety.
  2. Keep all essential oils and related products out of reach of children.
  3. Always take into account the constitution and health of an individual when blending for them, especially with children. A robust, healthy young 5 year old may respond differently to an essential oil than a 5 year old who is normally sensitive to scent or is small for his age.
  4. Be aware that some essential oils should not be used at all when pregnant or breastfeeding. (We'll be posting a full article on the subject of essential oils during pregnancy or breastfeeding next week, so stay tuned for that.)
  5.  Always dilute essential oils appropriately for use with children.
Babies (Under 2 years)

Essential oils are powerful, potent substances. We recommend avoiding direct skin application for children under two years of age. Babies rarely need something as strong as an essential oil to support their little systems. We recommend using Hydrosols with babies instead of essential oils. They're gentle, effective, safe, and still provide many therapeutic benefits for our little ones.

When you feel that using a baby-safe essential oil is necessary, you can either diffuse it for a short period of time (15 minutes is plenty) or you can apply it, properly diluted, to your own back instead of to the baby's skin. This way they'll still be able to inhale the aroma but it will be indirect and it will not be touching their skin. Diffusion can be especially effective at nighttime - diffusing a tiny bit of Lavender and/or Chamomile before bed can be incredibly soothing and calming for baby and parents!  

Ages 2-5

For healthy children ages 2-5 years, kid-safe oils may be appropriate for use in a diffuser or for short-term first aid use, such as a bit of diluted Lavender to soothe a bug bite. For acute situations, like a bee sting, 1 drop of undiluted, pure organic Lavender essential oil may be applied.

When you do apply essential oils to a child's skin at this age, they should be blended at a 1% dilution. This means 5-6 total drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. Hydrosols also provide therapeutic benefits and are appropriate for use with children in this age group. 

Ages 5-12

For healthy kids in this age group, diffusion, inhalation (aromatherapy inhalers are an option - use 10 drops total in the inhaler), or topical application at a 1-1.5% dilution may be appropriate.

Child-Safe Oils

Here is a list of some of our oils that are generally regarded as safe for use around children when used appropriately:
  • Basil, linalol
  • Bergamot (phototoxic - use appropriately)
  • Cedar, Atlas
  • Chamomile, German & Roman
  • Citronella
  • Clary Sage
  • Coriander
  • Cypress
  • Dill
  • Frankincense
  • Grapefruit (phototoxic - use appropriately)
  • Helichrysum
  • Jasmine Absolute
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Lemon (phototoxic - use appropriately)
  • Marjoram, Sweet
  • Neroli
  • Orange, Sweet
  • Palmarosa
  • Patchouli
  • Pine, Wild Scotch
  • Sandalwood
  • Spearmint
  • Tea Tree
  • Vanilla Perfume
  • Vetiver
*Note: Wintergreen and Sweet Birch oils should not be used on or given to children in any amount.

You are responsible for using essential oils safely and for knowing the safety considerations of each essential oil you use.


  1. Why are wintergreen and sweet birch not recommended?

    1. In the book, "Essential Oil Safety: Second Edition" by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, page 656, the author states:

      "Sweet Birch and Wintergreen oils should not be used on or given to children in any amount due to the risk of developing Reye's Syndrome."

      Hope that answers your question!
      Much love,
      Erin | blogging for Veriditas

  2. I woukd love to make a homemade vapor rub or something similar to apply to my 4 yr old daughter's feet or chest for her cough. Any recommendations or recipes you have I could follow with your oils? Thank you, Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,

      Great question! My favorite decongesting oil for kids is Cedar. You can use it in the diffuser for 15 minutes at a time to see if it brings her some relief. Lemon can also be great in the diffuser (bonus - it helps to clean the air) and Roman Chamomile would be a great addition as well, especially before bedtime. =) Cedar is known to have decongestant properties, Lemon has antibacterial & immune stimulating characteristics, and Roman Chamomile has antispasmodic properties.

      If you are wanting something to apply topically, I would recommend Cedar Atlas and/or Roman Chamomile at a total dilution of 1% (5-6 drops of essential oil for each ounce of carrier). You can use our Vapor Rub recipe to make your base: Just eliminate the essential oil it calls for and use your 1% dilution of Cedar/Roman Chamomile instead. =)

      Hope that helps!
      Much love,
      Erin | blogging for Veriditas

  3. Thank you Erin for the reply. Very helpful information and will definitely try the oils in the diffuser.

    1. You're welcome! Let us know if it helps her. =)

      Much love,