By Marsha Dimalanta
dōTERRA essential oil wellness advocate
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile plant compounds that need to be handled with extreme care. They should be stored away from heat & light, but especially away from a child’s reach at all times. Whether by way of diffusion or topical application, parental supervision is a must anytime oils are being administered to children. Parents need to keep an eye out for any signs of adverse side effects (difficulty breathing, skin irritations/allergens). We suggest no essential oils on or around children before the age of 2 years old, due to their thinner skin and immature immune systems. We recommend a safe, conservative use of all essential oils. Oils should be cycled so as to prevent any chances of sensitization (an allergic immune response that can occur with improper use or overuse). An example of cycling oils would be let’s say you & your family enjoy lavender diffused at bedtime. Rather than diffuse lavender every night, diffuse it every other night or every other week and take turns diffusing a similar oil like clary sage instead.
DIFFUSION GUIDELINES FOR AGES 2-10
Because children can be overly sensitive to aromas and because the body (especially our nervous system) habituates after a period of time, remember LESS IS MORE when it comes to inhalation. Young children need only a few drops of any oil or combination of oils when diffusing. An aroma’s mere essence is all that’s needed to reap its therapeutic benefits. It’s also important to note that our bodies need time to assimilate the oils so that organs don’t become overburdened. So we recommend timed or intermittent diffusion of essential oils for all ages.
2-5 years: Only a few drops of child-friendly essential oils in a diffuser for 15 minutes, then turn off. Diffuse 2-3 times a day as needed.
5-10 years: Intermittent diffusion for 15-30 minutes on, and at least 60 minutes off. Diffuse 2-3 times a day as needed.
10 years-Adults: Intermittent diffusion for 30-60 minutes on, and at least 30-60 minutes off. Note: Very low levels of diffusion (so that the scent is barely noticeable) are fine for any intermittent length of time (like a 10-hour long 5min on/5min off setting).
More direct inhalation methods can be utilized for ages 5+, such as with an aromatherapy inhaler. Apply 5-10 total drops of oil or oil blend on the cotton wick of the inhaler (Remember less is more with inhalation. Younger children will only need about 5 drops in their inhalers, whereas a max of 10 drops can be applied to inhalers for older children, and a max of 15 drops for adult inhalers).
TOPICAL APPLICATION GUIDELINES
After age 2, it’s important to ALWAYS DILUTE & follow proper dilution guidelines according to age for any topical application of essential oils. Diluting essential oils is done by adding a specific amount of drops of the EO to a carrier oil (like fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil). This is a good way to help spread the EO over the skin. It also minimizes adverse reactions and systemic toxicity. Also, avoid any use on broken or tender skin.
RECOMMENDED DILUTIONS FOR DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS
(Based off of Essential Oil Safety, Tisserand & Young)
2 – 6 years = 1-2%
6 – 15 years = 1.5-3%
15+ years = 2.5-5%
In a 5ml roller bottle of carrier oil
Dilution % ~ TOTAL # drops of EO
1% ~ 1.5 drops
1.5% ~ 2.25 drops
2% ~ 3 drops
2.5% ~ 3.75 drops
3% ~ 4.5 drops
3.5% ~ 5.25 drops
4% ~ 6 drops
4.5% ~ 6.75 drops
5% ~ 7.5 drops
In a 10ml roller bottle of carrier oil
Dilution % ~ TOTAL # drops of EO
1% ~ 3 drops
1.5% ~ 4.5 drops
2% ~ 6 drops
2.5% ~ 7.5 drops
3% ~ 9 drops
3.5% ~ 10.5 drops
4% ~ 12 drops
4.5% ~ 13.5 drops
5% ~ 15 drops
EXAMPLE: For an 8 year old, to get 2% dilution of an oil or oil blend in a 10ml roller bottle of carrier oil, add 6 drops TOTAL of essential oil.
The following dōTERRA essential oils are
SAFE for children ages 2-10.
(* = avoid any topical use due to possible skin irritation & photosensitivity)
The following is a list of essential oils to AVOID using on or around children under age 10 & need to be handled with extra care when using at any age as many of these oils are referred to as “HOT” oils, because they create a warming sensation when they come into direct contact with skin. If you experience a “hot” sensation when handling/using an oil — flush the area thoroughly with a carrier oil — such as a high quality, cold-pressed olive oil…or with a fatty liquid like milk. Do not flush with water, as this will push the oil deeper and cause a greater depth of the “hot” sensation to the area. Flush only with a carrier oil as the fat of the oil will draw the essential oil to it. And please be mindful to not touch your mucous membranes (eyes, nose) if you have any residual oil on your hands after handling EOs. 10+ year-olds & adults can still enjoy these oils if young children are present in the home. Again, a personal aromatherapy inhaler is a great solution because you can safely use these essential oils without worrying about affecting the little ones around you.
all dōTERRA blends
(ie: OnGuard, Breathe, etc.)
Other Safety Considerations
- Don’t use EOs in your eyes, ear canal, or on mucous membranes.
- In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control for advice.
- EOs can be flammable. Be sure to store away from heat sources.
- Citrus oils & products containing them can increase sun sensitivity; allow at least 12 hours between application and sun exposure.
- Oil & water don’t mix. Keep this is mind when using oils in a bath or shower. For this reason, we also do not recommend adding oils to drinking water.
- Internal use should be embarked on with careful thought, personal research, or with the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Many oils are not safe for ingestion (arborvitae, cedarwood, cypress, eucalyptus, white fir, wintergreen). If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have liver or immune issues…we advise consulting with your healthcare provider prior to using EOs.
- There are essential oils that are contraindicated with prescription medication. If you are currently taking any over-the-counter or prescription medication, we advise consulting with your healthcare provider to ensure EOs will not potentially interact with your medication.
- Essential oils should be used as needed or to help treat specific concerns. We encourage a holistic approach to wellness where diet, exercise, stress-management, prayer/meditation & the as needed use of essential oils all work synergistically to help you reach and maintain sound health. We do not promote the overuse of EOs as it would be more detrimental to one’s health if sensitization developed with misuse or overuse of these precious gifts of the earth.
- We understand some families may have pets, so take extra caution when using EOs around your furry family members. Particularly, cats may not metabolize essential oils well & are susceptible to toxicity.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
CLINICAL EO STUDIES
Clove, tea tree, oregano, thyme, lemon: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Osmanthus & grapefruit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Essential oil massage: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Ginger & German chamomile: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/