Essential oils can be used in babies and children, but caution should be a constant in such usage. Though essential oils are regarded high for their therapeutic value, they can play havoc with a child’s life or health if not used properly.
Essential oils for babies: According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), it is best to avoid use of essential oils in children under the age of two due to a number of reasons. Some of these reasons are:
1. Liver and kidney damages: A baby’s liver and kidneys are still under the stage of development when the baby is below 2 years old. Since essential oils stay in the body for a longer period of time, babies may have problem excreting them in case of a heavy dose.
2. Silicone and mineral based: Essential oils may bind to the components in silicone and mineral based baby products, making it difficult for absorption of oils by the body. Also, the body loses its ability to eliminate such oils.
3. Skin barriers: A baby’s skin pores are smaller than in adults. When too many lotions, soaps and oils are used on it, the skin pores may get clogged, making it difficult for the skin to eliminate body wastes. This is why it is advised that babies, toddlers and children should be given only oils with lesser dilutions.
However, the TGA does not rule out the use of essential oils in babies under medical supervision. Before you plan to subject your baby to aromatherapy, consult a licensed aromatherapist on the options available. Essential oils can remove diaper rashes, cure skin disorders, colic problems, common cold and a wide assortment of ailments or conditions in a baby or child.
Safest essential oils: Due to the above reasons, it is better if you operate on well-known safe oils. To start with, you need to experiment with one or two oils on your baby. Also, you need to ensure that you know the proper application techniques and dilution methods. Essential oils should not be applied without diluting them with carrier oils, however over-proportion of carrier oils can result clogging of pores. So, use the right kind of oils in the right measures. Below are a few safe essential oils you can use for your baby or child:
1. Jojoba oil: Both a carrier oil and an essential oil, jojoba is safe for skin and is highly recommended for babies. It is effective in treating skin disorders in children, including diaper rashes, skin sensitivities etc.
2. Lavender oil: Most of the baby products have lavender oil in their ingredients. A mild and delicate oil, it has a pleasant and soothing aroma and produces a relaxing effect on the baby’s nerves. It can be used to cure sleeping disorders in babies.
3. Almond oil: Ideal oil for baby skin care. It can protect the baby from possible skin conditions by regular usage, by adding to your baby’s bath or regularly massaging after bath. The nut ingredients in the oil can be allergic to certain babies, so ensure that your baby is not allergic to almond oil by doing a skin patch test before application.
4. Chamomile oil: This oil provides skin care and pain relief in infants. Several baby products have chamomile as their main ingredient owing to its natural healing properties. It prevents dampness in baby’s bottom and cures diaper rashes. It also heals sores, inflammations and other serious skin conditions.
5. Rosemary oil: A popular herb, it can be used in skin care in babies and children. The oil also stimulates the immune system and enhances digestive and circulatory functions of the body.