Kids and Essential Oil Safety

Pure Essential Oils are Powerful 

Essential oils are tools that can be used to support health and well-being. When proper usage guidelines are followed, essential oils are safe for the entire family. But for kids, what are those proper usage guidelines? Keep reading to find out!

Essential Oils Are Not Noval

While it may seem like essential oils are just the latest and greatest thing, they've actually been used by humans for millennia. Essential oils contain constituents that will be recognized by our body systems and handled appropriately. Rest assured that if you use essential oils on your children, you're not inventing the wheel.

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If You Have Kids in Your House

I bet you are discovering the powerful ways in which doTERRA oils and products can support a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps you're a little nervous to use oils on your kids; maybe you're not sure if they're entirely safe for the younger set. Well, as Dr. Nicole Stevens, a scientist who has studied essential oils for more than 15 years and as a mama to four amazing kids, she assures us that doTERRA's products can be wonderful for children. "We enjoy them daily in our house. If these products are used with care and common sense, you can safely reap all the benefits they have to offer."

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The Science behind using Essential Oils

Scientific research allows experts to evaluate the effects of substances like essential oils in any context that they choose to study them. However, regardless of the conclusions made from scientists about essential oils, our team will not directly make pharmaceutical or disease-related claims about doTERRA products. Nonetheless, it may be important for anyone who is passionate about the field of essential oils to know how to access and understand scientific literature for their own personal education and growth.

At doTERRA Science, we abide by the regulations that are established for our products by the FDA. doTERRA does not market essential oil products as drugs. Instead, we choose to focus on statements about the structure and function of the body, as opposed to statements about disease. Anything that has been published by our corporate team, whether in print or on the web, has been through an extensive review process to ensure that it is compliant with our guidelines.

Since 1950, thousands of scientific research articles have been published on essential oils and their chemical constituents. Most of these studies were published after the year 2000. Through this recent explosion of scientific research, essential oils have shown potential as alternative and complementary health therapies. However, many of these studies are experimental in design rather than human clinical trials. This means that there is still further research to be done before the healthcare industry will openly discuss the benefits of essential oils.

Because of these limitations, many essential oil users and healthcare practitioners have shown increased interest in doing personal research to help them understand the properties of essential oils. Unfortunately, there are several sources on the web containing information that is either misleading, false, or ill-supported by scientific findings. At doTERRA, we encourage the use of scientific research to validate the proper use of essential oils. We have put together a list of a few reliable sources that you can use to educate yourself on the biological activity of essential oils. Many studies housed on these databases provide an abstract but require a paid subscription to view the full text. However, there is still a vast selection of articles that are open to public.

Reliable Sources on Essential Oil Research
1. PubMed
PubMed is a free search tool that you can use to browse the MEDLINE database. Medline is an enormous compilation of research maintained by the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). PubMed is the library of choice for most physicians and scientists looking to find research on any topic in healthcare. Two drawbacks to using PubMed are that some research articles aren't included in the MEDLINE database, and that searches for essential oil research can often be cluttered by unrelated studies.

2. Google Scholar
Google Scholar is also a free search tool that you can use to find any research article on the internet. Like PubMed, one potential drawback is that your results may be cluttered with irrelevant articles.

3. AromaticScience
AromaticScience is a free database devoted specifically to essential oil research publications. This library includes search functionality, article abstracts, and links to full texts. Newly published essential oil research studies are posted to AromaticScience regularly. However, this site is not inclusive of all the research studies that have ever been done on essential oils. 

Essential Oil Safety, Guidelines & Kids 

Are Essential Oils Safe for Kids?

Yes, essential oils are safe to use on children; however, there are a few extra precautions to take when it comes to using essential oils on your little ones. Children have more delicate and sensitive skin than adults, so it is always necessary to dilute oils before applying them topically on your kids. If taking oils internally, children require far less than an adult because they have smaller, more sensitive, developing bodies. 

The most important rule for kids when it comes to using essential oils is to only do so with the help and supervision of an adult. Keep essential oils out of reach of your children so they cannot use them unsupervised.

Before you start using essential oils, make sure that you have a firm understanding of how to apply them, the appropriate dosages and quantities, and which areas to avoid. For example, when applying essential oils topically, avoid application to the eyes, ears, nose, or sensitive areas, and avoid putting essential oils on broken or damaged skin.  

Internal use is probably the most potent way to use essential oils and although safe when used appropriately, for children you may want to start with aromatic or topical application instead. If taking an oil internally, make sure that it is approved for internal use.

How Much Oil to Use on a Child

Dosage, which is how much of an essential oil you use at once, is a big part of using oils safely. If too much oil is used, it can cause your body to react negatively. So how do you make sure that you are using the right amount of oil? 

For children, a good rule of thumb is to start with just one drop of an essential oil, and as we said before, make sure it is diluted for topical application. From there, you can decide if the oil had the effect you wanted or if you need a second drop. It is not recommended to apply more than two drops at a time on a child. Remember, when it comes to using essential oils, less is often more. Using small amounts multiple times a day is better than using a large amount once a day.

What to Do If Your Child Has an Adverse Reaction

Although uncommon, some people experience sensitivity to essential oils. This can include: 

  • Pain, swelling, or tenderness of the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Hives, rash, or boils
  • Digestive upset
  • Difficulty breathing

If your child experiences a reaction to essential oils, discontinue use immediately. Do not apply any other essential oils. If the reaction is severe, prolonged, or worsens over time, seek immediate medical attention from a trained professional.

How to Use EO's with our Kids

1. Kids are not tiny adults. Remember that oils are potent, and you only need a very small amount to achieve efficacy, especially when it comes to children. A little bit goes a very long way. Adjust amounts accordingly.
2. Dilute. Kids' skin is different from adult skin; it's thinner and generally more sensitive. Even though most oils tend to be non-irritating on the skin (especially on the bottom of the feet, where the skin is thickest), it's a great idea to dilute essential oil in a good carrier oil before applying to children. You'll still get the same benefits of the essential oil; you're just adding extra moisture and pampering delicate child skin. The doTERRA Touch products are great for this, as they are prediluted for you.
3. Diffuse. Aromatherapy is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of essential oil without the worry of skin reactions. Inhaled oils have long been studied for their ability to enhance feelings of relaxation, encouragement, excitement, focus, and well-being. Additionally, diffused oils may support a healthier indoor environment. That's always a bonus when you've got a houseful of kids.
4. Oils FOR kids, not BY kids. The labels on doTERRA's oil bottles remind us to keep them out of reach of children. Kids won't understand the potency of the essential oils; they only know that these lovely liquids smell divine, and may go overboard in using them. Adults, not children, should always be doing the oil applications, and judiciously at that.
5. Be informed. doTERRA has mountains of information about safe usage of essential oils on their websites. There's an entire team of support staff who answer questions about essential oils and products (just email And don't be afraid to chat about oil usage with your family doctor or pediatrician - medical professionals like having a holistic picture of their patients' health situation, and they have access to other medical literature that can help guide your decisions.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of the favorite doTERRA products in our house, and ways they can be used with children.
1. doTERRA Touch®These products are awesome because they come pre-diluted. Young skin is different from adult skin - it's thinner, more delicate, and generally more sensitive. It's a great idea to dilute any essential oils before applying them to children, and this kit takes the mess out of dilution.
2. doTERRA OnGuard® productsWe love all the products containing doTERRA OnGuard, and they are very kid-friendly. The toothpaste is wonderful. My kids enjoy the taste and I enjoy that it's not full of chemicals that even I can't pronounce. The cleaner concentrate makes the bathroom fresh and I don't have to worry about toxic residue. And, of course, we diffuse doTERRA OnGuard like crazy during the winter months.
3. doTERRA Balance® and doTERRA Serenity®These blends have done wonders for our family. Especially when our kids are having trouble sleeping. A nice massage with these oils (diluted and applied to soles of feet) helped everyone feel relaxed and grounded. We often return to these blends when the stresses of life have everyone worked up.
4. Citrus oils. We diffuse oils every day, and the citrus oils are my kids' favorite. They are so uplifting and energizing; perfect for the dreary winter days when no one feels like rolling out of bed. It's a natural way to chase off the post-holiday blues. Our favorites are Wild OrangeLemon, Lime and Grapefruit. We even apply the oils to the palms of our hands and cup them to our noses for an easy scent tent. (Just be sure to avoid sun exposure after applying citrus oils topically!)
5. Correct-X®. We always have this product on hand during our outdoor adventures; it's great to have something natural and effective, yet gentle and non-irritating, for sensitive young skin.

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Understanding essential oils, how they work, what to use, how to safely use them, knowing the facts, and the science behind it is of the utmost importance. 

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