Like its older brother coconut oil, these days you would be hard pressed to go a day or two without hearing or reading something about essential oils and their many benefits. That's because, well, they smell pretty freaking awesome. And who really wants to deny the possibility of a little Zen in their lives? Not I. But what about your little ones? It's important to know how best to use the oils with kids, for instance, are essential oils in a humidifier safe for babies? Experts have some thoughts.
"A humidifier will get essential oils into the air, but it won’t disperse them as ultra-fine particles that can more easily be breathed in for therapeutic benefit," Stephanie Poe, a doTERRA wellness advocate, tells Romper in an email interview. Poe, who also holds a PhD in immunology, says it's important to note that when you heat essential oils, their therapeutic properties change. "So it’s best to only use diffusers or nebulizers intended for use with essential oils," she explains. "Even then you need to use a good brand that is efficient at breaking the essential oils up into very fine particles."
If you have a humidifier in your home, then you will notice a warning on it that advises you to not use essential oils with the device. Crane, a popular humidifier supplier, noted on its site that essential oils should never be used within the tank of their devices. "When you add essential oils, they clog the nebulizer, causing the humidifier to be unable to produce mist and the water tank to crack," the company stated.
In addition to ruining the device, Kathleen Henderson of Yankee Homestead noted, like Poe, that in the case of a warm humidifier you can also damage any therapeutic properties the oils might provide.
So what are some steps you should take to make sure you do reap the benefits? If you don't have an essential oils diffuser on hand, then you can try mixing oils in a spray bottle with water and misting over furniture, carpet, or linens. I also love to sprinkle a little bit of oil on a cleaning cloth and use it to wipe down common household surfaces, like the kitchen counter and dining room table.
But according to a report by Tennessee poison center, it's important to proceed with caution. That's because between 2011 and 2015, reports of toxic exposures to these oils doubled, putting children increasingly at risk. Experts say consumption or excessive application of oils should be avoided in order to limit risk, and parents should also keep oils out of reach and in a locked cabinet just as they would medicines.
If you are applying oils to your child's skin, it's important to first dilute them with what is known as a carrier oil, such as olive, almond, coconut, or jojoba. According to Mama Natural, if your child is a newborn to 6 months, you should use oils sparingly and use a .25 percent solution when you do apply them, diluting one drop of essential oil per 1.5 tablespoons of carrier oil. The website noted that children 6 months to 2 years should be treated with a .25 percent to .5 percent solution, diluting one drop of essential oil per one tablespoon of carrier oil. Older children and adults can work with different combinations. These applications should be regarded in the case of all essential oils.
It's also important to keep in mind that certain oils are harmful when used on or around young children, like peppermint and clary sage. In addition to lavender, it is safe to diffuse and topically apply (when mixed with a carrier oil) several oils for children 2 years and under, including bergamot, lemon, patchouli, tea tree, and cinnamon leaf. No essential oils should be given orally to children.
The gist? Essential oils can make a wonderful addition to your daily wellness routine, including the one you implement for your little one. And if they are anything like my daughter — who gets nightly lavender and coconut oil foot massages — they will have zero complaints.
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