Essential Oil Care for Children & Babies

The information on this page is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be used to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, illness or injury. Seek professional medical attention if your child appears to have any disease, illness or injury.

When using essential oils on babies and children, it is always best to dilute 1-2 drops of pure essential oils with 1/2-1 tsp. vegetable oil. If the oils are used in a bath, always use Sunshine Concentrate base as a dispersing agent for the oils.

Keep essential oils out of children’s reach. If an oil is ever ingested, give the child an oil-soluble liquid such as milk, cream, or half & half. Then call your local poison control center or seek emergency medical attention. A few drops of pure essential oil shouldn’t be life-threatening, but for your protection, it is best to take these precautions.

In Shirley Price’s book, Aromatherapy for Babies and Children, she mentions oils that are safe for children. These oils are:

  • Bergamot*
  • Chamomile, Roman
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemon *
  • Red Mandarin *
  • Marjoram
  • Tea Tree
  • Rosemary**
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Thyme
  • Ylang Ylang
  • *These oils are photosensative; always dilute. To prevent a rash or pigmentation of the skin, do not use citrus oils when exposed to direct sunlight.

**These oils should never be used undiluted on babies and children.

Caution: Do not use synthetic or adulterated oils. Do not use oils with different botanical names until the safety data has been thoroughly reviewed.

Essential Oil Uses for Babies and Children

Colic: Bergamot, ginger, mandarin, marjoram, Roman chamomile, rosemary, or ylang ylang. Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. Almond oil with 1 drop Roman chamomile, 1 drop lavender, and 1 drop geranium. Mix and apply to stomach and back. Note: Burping the baby, and keeping the abdomen warm with a warm (not hot) water bottle will often bring relief.

Common Cold: Lemon, Tee Trea, rosemary, rose, sandalwood, or thyme. Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil with 2 drops Tea Tree, 1 drop lemon, and 1 drop rose. Massage a little of the blend on neck and chest.

Constipation: Red mandarin, or rosemary. Dilute one of the oils and massage on stomach and feet.

Cradle Cap: Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. almond oil with 1 drop lemon and 1 drop geranium and 1 sandalwood. Mix and apply a small amount on head.

Croup: Marjoram, sandalwood, or thyme. Dilute for massage or diffuse. Bundle baby or child up and take outside to breathe cold air.

Crying: Frankincense, geranium, lavender, Roman chamomile, rose, or ylang ylang. Dilute for massage or diffuse.

Diaper Rash: Lavender (dilute and apply). Blend: Combine 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop lavender with vegetable oil and apply.

Digestion (sluggish): Lemon or mandarin. Dilute and massage feet and stomach.

Dry Skin: Rose, neroli, or sandalwood. Dilute and apply.

Earache: Lavender, Tea Tree, Roman chamomile, or thyme Linelol. Put a diluted drop of oil on a cotton ball and place on the surface of the ear; rub a little bit of diluted oil behind the ear. Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil with 2 drops lavender, 1 drop Roman chamomile, and 1 drop Tea Tree. Put a drop on a cotton ball and put on surface of the ear, rub behind the ear and on the ear reflex feet points.

Fever: Lavender. Dilute in vegetable oil and massage baby or child (back of neck, feet, behind ear, etc.). Peppermint (diffuse only).

Flu: Lemon, Tee Tree oil. Dilute 1 drop of each in 1 Tbsp. bath gel base for a bath or diffuse.

Hiccoughs: Mandarin. Diffuse

Jaundice: Geranium, lemon, mandarin, or rosemary. Dilute and apply on the liver area and on the liver reflexology foot points.

Premature: Since premature babies have very thin and sensitive skin, it is best to avoid the use of essential oils.

Rashes: Lavender, Roman chamomile, rose, or sandalwood. Dilute and apply.

Teeth Grinding: Lavender (rub on feet).

Tonsillitis: Lavender, lemon, or Tea Tree, Roman chamomile. Dilute and apply.

Thrush: Geranium, lavender, lemon, Tea Tree, rose, or thyme. Dilute and apply. Blend: 2 Tbsp. garlic oil, 8 drops lavender, 8 drops Tea Tree, 1 ml. Vitamin E oil. Apply to nipples just before nursing, or with a clean finger into baby’s mouth.

For more information on the use of essential oils and aromatherapy for babies and children, see also the books Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby by Allison England, and Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood.