Aromatherapy offers many benefits to its practicers. To name a few, certain fragrances can improve our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Furthermore, it helps our minds relax, be present, and recharge.
As an essential oil enthusiast, you try to utilize them as much as possible. Perhaps you have a few diffusers throughout the house, whether electronic or reed-based. Maybe you use roll-ons and misters to carry those scents with you all day long.
All that aromatherapy present in your life poses a serious question, especially for mothers—can you use pure essential oils around your baby? Babies have many dietary restrictions due to their developing immune systems.
While some young children can experience the benefits of aromatherapy, it’s important to know the risk of exposing them to essential oils. To help you worry less, here is our guide on the various aspects of using essential oils around babies.
What Are Pure Essential Oils?
It’s important to understand the difference between pure essential oils and other aromatherapy products. “Pure” refers to the contents of the essential oil. Basically, these mixes only contain natural, plant-based materials. There are no synthetics or additives in pure products.
These oils are safe for skin contact, as they rarely cause irritation. The unaltered nature of pure essential oils means they’re more effective—without the presence of chemicals, your body can absorb all the benefits of pure plant-based ingredients, like lavender or mint.
Babies and Dietary/Material Restrictions
Babies are sensitive to many things that adults can easily tolerate. Many young parents toss and turn every night as they worry about all the dangerous materials and substances that their baby might get exposed to. Here are some foods and materials that babies shouldn’t have before their first birthday:
- Honey – contains Clostridium botulinum, which babies can’t digest.
- Animal’s milk – babies can’t digest the enzymes and proteins.
- Citrus – irritates young digestive systems.
- Seafood – many babies have allergies to fish and shellfish.
- Egg whites – eggs harbor large amounts of allergens.
So how does a baby’s dietary restriction relate to pure essential oil use? Much like their digestive systems, the skin of a baby is more sensitive. Plus, many experts advise against exposure to certain plant-based products with young children.
So while pure essential oils are typically less irritating, the concentration of plant matter does threaten the physical well-being of your child. This hazard is even present before birth—it’s recommended that pregnant women avoid certain essential oils. These include aniseed, camphor, sage, tarragon, wormwood, wintergreen, basil, birch, and parsley seed.
There are ways for babies to enjoy the benefits of essential oils safely, but it’s vital to understand instances of dangerous exposure. For starters, children under three months of age are the most sensitive to essential oils.
It’s recommended that you not expose them to any essential oils, especially on the skin. You can place a small diffuser in the corner of their room and dispense relaxing scents to encourage sleep. However, make sure that you set it on a low output setting.
The following pure essential oils are known irritants and shouldn’t be introduced to babies under a year old:
- Clove bud
- Lemon verbena
- Cinnamon (leaves/bark)
In short, it’s best not to expose babies to pure oils. Luckily, there are ways to apply directly to your child’s skin without causing irritation or injury. Furthermore, you can easily enjoy aromatherapy near your child in a safe and fun manner. It’s important to understand what “safe” exposure is concerning pure essential oils.
Pure essential oils have high concentrations of plant materials. And while products with additives are potentially more harmful to skin, no matter the age, pure oils do pose a threat to babies. That’s where dilution comes into play! In aromatherapy, there are mixtures called carrier oils, and they are combined with pure oils to ensure a less irritating experience.
In fact, most adults like the addition of a carrier product to lessen the intensity of a particular scent. Plus, most adults avoid putting pure essential oils on their skin, anyways. You can safely place an adequately diluted oil mixture on a baby’s skin, as long as they are over three months old. If your child is prone to allergic reactions, it’s best to avoid direct contact.
As stated earlier, traditional methods of aromatherapy are safe for young children. Diffusers of all shapes and sizes can easily dispense pure oils that are harmless to babies. If you’re on the fence about introducing pure oils to your child, play it safe and avoid them altogether.
You’re probably wondering if “secondhand” exposure is also potentially harmful to your child. Can you practice aromatherapy around your baby? The answer is quite simple—yes! Diffusers, misters, and all other essential oils are perfectly safe around infants as long as they don’t come into direct contact with each other. And quite obviously, you shouldn’t spray a mister close to a baby.
One exception to this rule is if you’ve recently applied pure essential oils to your own skin. In this instance, ensure that the oils are dry and won’t rub off on your child when you pick them up. The other exception is that some studies show that plant-based materials on your body can show up in breast milk. If you’re still breastfeeding your baby, consider avoiding harsher pure oils.
So, with all that information out of the way, you might still wonder, “can you use pure essential oils around your baby?” Most simply, it’s likely not worth the risk. Newborns are very sensitive to many things, especially certain plant materials. Even babies close to a year old can get irritated from pure oils.
And there are so many other ways to enjoy aromatherapy with your child safely. Simply put, save the pure essential oils for the adults. Luckily, we at Escents offer premiere aromatherapy products, including roll-ons, carrier oils, misters, and diffusers, just to name a few. Plus, many of our products are perfectly suitable for you newborn, toddler, child, or a loved one of any age!