Essential oils are natural plant extracts that can be used in the bath, in personal care products, or to add fragrance to rooms. Aromatherapy is not just for adults, but can also be helpful for infants and children over three months of age. Use essential oils with your little one to soothe irritability, encourage sleep or foster a good mood, depending upon the oils you choose.
Types of Oils
Many essential oils are safe and appropriate for children. Lavender and Roman chamomile are frequently used in baby products, but citrus fragrances, including bergamot, orange and lemon are safe, bright scents for kids. Essential oils derived from herbs and spices that work for children include rosemary, ginger, thyme, cedarwood, sandalwood, and frankincense. Floral oils include rose otto, geranium and ylang-ylang. Some oils, including ginger, lemon and rosemary, may be too harsh for children under two, reports NaturalBloom.com.
You can use essential oils as room fragrances by placing a few drops into a warmer or onto a ceramic lightbulb ring. Dilute essential oils in a carrier oil, like almond oil, to use for massage or dilute with bath gel to use in a child’s bath. Use a 1 percent dilution for infants, or five drops of essential oil to 2 tbsps. of carrier oil, and a 2 percent dilution for older children, with up to 10 drops of essential oils in 2 tbsps. of carrier oil.
Choosing an Essential Oil
Try lavender or Roman chamomile to relax children or to help them to settle down for sleep. Geranium, mandarin orange or tangerine can be used to create a happy, relaxed mood during the day. Eucalyptus and peppermint may be helpful for congestion associated with colds and flu, either as a massage oil or a room fragrance. Ginger and peppermint oils soothe nausea and other stomach upsets.
While there is limited scientific evidence to support aromatherapy and the use of essential oils, fragrances do impact mood, perception of well-being and energy levels, according to the National Cancer Institute. Integrating the gentle use of aromatherapy into your parenting routines may help to soothe both you and your child through difficult times.
Essential oils should always be diluted when you use them on children, either in a neutral oil for use on the skin or as a room fragrance. Oils should not be ingested and should be stored safely out of reach of children. If you have concerns about the safety of a particular oil, consult an aromatherapist certified by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.