How to Know Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Babies

Two Parts:Identifying Safe OilsDiluting Essential Oils for Your Baby

Essential oils are distilled from a plant’s leaves, flowers, bark, stems, or roots.[1] These natural substances are used for a variety of purposes from aiding sleep to treating lice.[2] Although generally safe for adults, essential oils are highly concentrated combinations of different chemical parts that can be dangerous for babies.[3] In fact, they can cause seizures in babies or children if not used properly. But by identifying the best essential oils and properly diluting them before use, you can know and use the safest essential oils on your baby.

Part 1
Identifying Safe Oils

  1. 1
    Recognize what essential oils are. Essential oils are a watery and clear liquid that generally isn’t oily. They come from different parts of plants like lavender or chamomile and can be used for a host of different physical and psychological ailments. Because they are highly concentrated, you only need a small amount to reap an essential oil’s benefits.[4]
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    Make sure your baby is old enough. Although there are no specific guidelines on the best age to start using essential oils, some people suggest not using them on babies under 3 months. Use your best judgment when considering essential oils for your baby. Remember that these powerful oils could be too strong for your baby’s skin or delicate respiratory system.[5]
    • Speak to your doctor or naturopathic doctor about using essential oils on your baby if you have any questions or concerns.[6]
    • Ask other moms about their experiences using essential oils on their babies. They may have suggestions about the best way to reap the benefits of essential oils without exposing your baby to toxic substances.
  3. 3
    Select safe oils for babies 3 months and older. A three month old baby is still relatively new to the world and accordingly delicate. There are only a few essential oils safe for topical use or diffusion on babies. You should only use 1-2 drops of the following essential oils per ounce of carrier oil on your baby:[7]
    • Chamomile
    • Dill
    • Lavender
    • Blue Yarrow
  4. 4
    Choose safe oils for babies 6 months and older. Just like younger babies, those six months and older still have delicate skin and respiratory systems. However, you can use additional essential oils both topically and by diffusion on babies six months and older. Use only 3-5 drops of the following essential oils per ounce of carrier oil on your baby:[8]
    • Bergamot
    • Carrot seed
    • Cedarwood
    • Cinnamon bark, for diffusion only
    • Cinnamon leaf
    • Citronella
    • Coriander
    • Cypress
    • Fir needle
    • Geranium
    • Lemon, for diffusion only
    • Mandarin
    • Neroli
    • Palma Rosa
    • Pine
    • Rose Otto
    • Sandalwood
    • Spruce
    • Tangerine
    • Tea Tree
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    Avoid unsafe oils for baby. While there are many essential oils you could select for your baby, there are also choices that you should always avoid for your baby. These can harm your baby’s skin and respiratory health. Stay away from the following essential oils:[9]
    • Cajuput
    • Chaste tree
    • Clove bud, leaf, or stem
    • Eucalyptus
    • Lemon leaf
    • Lemongrass
    • Marjoram
    • Oregano
    • Peppermint
    • Rosemary
    • Wintergreen
  6. 6
    Read the label. Every essential oil has different properties that may not be ideal for many users, including babies. Because of this, it’s important to read the label of any essential oil you choose for your baby. The packaging can give you information on contraindications and dosing for babies.
    • Make sure that the label says the essential oil is 100% pure and natural essential oil. Adulterated essential oils may be more likely to harm your baby.[10]

Part 2
Diluting Essential Oils for Your Baby

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    Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. You should never use a “neat” or undiluted oil on your baby. Carrier oils dilute the potency of your essential oil and can also help moisturize your baby’s skin. Mild oils such as coconut, almond, avocado, olive, or vegetable are excellent choices as a carrier for your essential oil.[11]
    • Mix 1-3 teaspoons of carrier oil with 1-5 of drops of essential oil, depending on your baby’s age. Use 1-2 drops for babies under six months and 3-5 if your baby is older.
    • Avoid diluting essential oils with water or other liquids because they may not make the mixture adequately mild for your baby.
  2. 2
    Do a patch test. Before you use the essential oil on your baby, it’s important to do a skin patch of the oil mixture. Put 1-2 drops of diluted essential oil on the inside of your elbow. If you see no irritation after 24 hours, it should be safe to use on your baby.[12]
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    Decide on a delivery method. The only two safe ways to use essential oils for babies are topical application and diffusing the scent. Never give a baby an essential oil internally or expose the scent directly to the nose and mouth.[13]
    • Apply the oil topically by bath or with a soothing massage. This can soothe and calm your baby, especially before bedtime. Be aware that many babies' sensitive skin and using an essential oil in bathwater may be too intense for them. Instead, you could try a massage with a mixture of essential and carrier oil.
    • Choose diffusion if you don’t want to apply anything to your baby’s skin. Diffusion means heating the oil and letting the scent waft through your baby’s room or your home. The scent can soothe and calm your baby as well. However, you should never use diffusion on any baby with a respiratory disease or asthma.
  4. 4
    Diffuse the essential oil. Diffusers heat or cool your essential oil of choice so that the scent can circulate through your baby’s room. Remember to not leave the diffuser heating overnight to prevent fires.
    • Consider a cold air vaporizer for the best results with essential oils. Use the same mixture of essential oil and carrier oil when you add it to the diffuser.[14] You can diffuse the oil for up to 15 minutes every hour for best results.[15]
    • Be aware that humidifiers break up essential oils into tiny parts so that you can inhale them. Because inhaling essential oils this can be dangerous for a baby, avoid diffusing the oil in a humidifier or other product not designated for use with an essential oil.[16]
    • Make your own diffuser by putting your chosen essential/ carrier oil mixture in a bowl of hot water. Place it in an area that your baby can’t reach to prevent scalding.[17]
  5. 5
    Watch for an allergic reaction. Although many essential oils are safe for your baby, your baby may still react poorly to them. Keeping an eye out for signs of a possible allergic reaction to an essential oil can ensure you get prompt and proper medical care for your baby. Seek immediate medical attention if you see any of the following signs of an allergic reaction:
    • Redness
    • Hives
    • Blisters
    • Red or warm skin
    • Itching
    • Scratchy throat
    • Swelling[18]
    • Red eyes
    • Respiratory distress[19]


  • Speak to your doctor about using essential oils on your baby if you have any questions or if your baby has any medical issues.
  • Read the labels of every essential oil you want to use. If you have any doubts or concerns about the oil, do not use it. Ask the staff where you buy the oil any questions you may have.

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Categories: Baby Health | Essential Oils