The advantages of essential oils have long been known to humanity, especially in antiquity when people from Egypt all the way to China and India used them for medicinal purposes, treating all sorts of aches and ailments, as well as relied on them for cosmetic and religious purposes.
Throughout the following centuries, this dependence on aromatherapy lessened considerably, though nowadays thanks to the stressful lifestyles, people have started resorting back to this age-old practice.
Yes, I would say we ought to thank stress for this, because essential oils bring about countless benefits, from helping with meditation and calming the mind, improving the quality of sleep and boosting the immune system, to treating allergies, improving the indoor air, treating headaches, nausea and skin conditions among others.
I’ve been a fan of aromatherapy for years, and after becoming a mum I started using essential oils for kids; if you’re a parent who’s new to aromatherapy, rest assured they are safe to use with your little ones, as long as you do everything with care. What I mean by this is it’s your responsibility to do your research and find the 100% pure essential oils with no chemicals or alcohol in them to ensure the well-being of your children.
Other than paying attention to the ingredients, as well as finding out more about the brands, as soon as you’ve found your ideal oils out of a vast variety, it’s important to carefully read the instructions on how to use them, find out the dilution ration, and by all means don’t ever let your kids play with them or use them because it’s easy for them to exaggerate.
The same goes for pets, so if you have any it’s best to keep the oils out of reach. Just the thought of Uno coming anywhere near my oils scares me, which is why I keep them in a safe and dry place – on the upper shelf of the kitchen cupboard. I’ve chosen this spot since Ethan and Noah were toddlers, though nowadays they know aromatherapy isn’t something you should play with.
Where to Start
Not exactly ideal to be used for babies younger than 3 months due to their sensitive skin, essential oils for kids can become a parent’s favourite solution for colicky babies older than this. Additionally, they also come in handy with babies who have trouble sleeping, so with the help of a little bit of chamomile and its soothing effects both you and your baby would have a good night’s sleep.
As there are endless options of oils available, it’s necessary to decide what it is you want to use them for to make the right purchase. For instance, other than solving the sleep issue, perhaps you’d like to have one that would be of help with respiratory congestion, indigestion, fungal infections and microbial issues, in which case you’d require eucalyptus (specifically radiata, not globulus), dill, and tea tree respectively.
When you run out of chamomile, lavender serves as a great replacement but not every child likes the smell, so it’s good to have a supply of mandarin too, more so as it’s also known for its calming effects.
The Importance of Dilution
Unless it’s indicated that the specific essential oil is diluted, you’re going to have to do the dilution yourself when you want to apply it on the child’s skin. You could dilute with carrier oils (carrier because they help carry the essential oils into the skin) or creams, in the likes of coconut oil, and the ratio should be indicated on the oil, as well as how many drops you should use on the skin plus which other oils it blends well with.
The same goes for diffusing, and just because it’s not applied on the skin doesn’t mean it can’t be bad for the well-being when used in large amounts, so the key is in educating yourself and your children on how to use them and how much for the best results.
If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s physician. Now, a word of caution when diffusing, to be able to avoid fire accidents it’s best to get a water-based vaporiser instead of candle diffusers.
Test Before You Use
Testing is mandatory especially when applying essential oils for kids on their sensitive skin, even when they’re diluted because you never know whether or not your child is allergic to them. For this reason it’s advisable to apply just a little bit of the chosen oil on their arm or leg and check for a reaction throughout the day.
Also, there are some areas it’s best to avoid to prevent irritation, like the eyes, the area around the eyes, inner nose and ears as well as injuries and damaged skin. Another thing to have in mind is sun exposure, especially right after applying citrus oils like the mandarin since they can cause irritation.