Research & resources
Guide to treating babies and children
Index to the Guide to treating babies and children:
IFPA agrees with the safety information in Essential Oil Safety by Tisserand and Young which states – “Great caution is necessary for infants, since neo-natal skin does not mature until 3 months of age; it is more sensitive and more permeable to essential oils. A new-born is also less equipped to deal with any adverse effects than an adult because of the lower metabolic capacity.”
2. Recommendations for Topical Application
The following table outlines topical application for babies and children when used for general wellness and not recommended for use on a daily basis. “Therapeutic use” refers to use when the child is ill.
Minimum dosage for general wellness. (Not recommended every day).
Maximum dosage for therapeutic use when ill. (Short term use)
0 – 3 months
3 – 24 months
2 – 6 years
6 – 15 years
15 years +
3. Recommendations for Essential Oil choice
The following essential oils are not advised for use topically or through vaporisation for infants under 2 years of age as they are known to slow respiration in children under 2 –
- Mentha piperita (Peppermint)
- Mentha arvensis (Cornmint)
The following four essential oils should not be used in topical applications but may be used in low dilution for vaporisation for short periods. If cineole is required in a blend, use Lavendula x intermedia (Lavandin)
- Eucalyptus globulus
- Ravensara aromatica ct cineole
4. Essential Oils suitable for Infants under 2 years of age
Chamomile Roman Chamaemelum nobile
Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
Lavandin Lavendula x intermedia
Niaouli Melaleuca viridiflora
Tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia
Thyme sweet Thymus vulgaris ct linalool
These essential oils can be considered safe for topical application and vaporisation.
5. Essential oils not suitable for children aged 6 and under
We do not recommend the following essential oils to be used on children under the age of 6 years. Essential oils containing large quantities of the chemical component groups’ phenols, ketones and some aldehydes should not be used as they are known skin irritants.
The following are not advised for topical application or vaporisation:
M. Ethers, Phenols
M. Ethers, Phenols
Thymus vulgaris ct thymol
Methyl salicylate (Ester)
6. Recommendations for Vaporising/Diffusing
Continual vaporisation in a child’s room is not recommended. Intermittent vaporisation of 30 minutes on and 2 hours off is safer and more effective. IFPA does not recommend diffusers with a naked flame due to the flammability of essential oils.