Despite having natural plant origins, Essential Oils are not always entirely safe for use on baby skin, like Camphor is an essential oil and each Essential Oil that is considered to be relatively “safe” should also be used with extreme care. The majority of reports caution parents against using Essential Oils on babies younger than 3 months, while others suggest avoiding their use on all babies younger than 6 months old, as topical products penetrate more easily into the skin of infants of this age. This is because their skin is sensitive and their immune function, respiratory function, central nervous system, and chemosensory systems are still developing at this stage, thus Essential Oils could potentially have harmful effects on their growth. If used improperly, potential side effects include seizures, unconsciousness, and other consequences listed further down in this article. Essential Oils should not be used around pre-mature babies until at least 3 months after their originally projected due date. Some reports strongly suggest avoiding the use of Essential Oils on children younger than 6 years of age, and for parents who would still like to use Essential Oils on young children, it is said that Hydrosols are a far superior choice, especially for children under two years of age.

NDA strongly suggests avoiding the use of Essential Oils on all children under the age of 7.

Because each Essential Oil exhibits diverse properties – even two oils from the same botanical, such as a “Leaf Oil” versus a “Bark Oil” can have vastly different effects on the skin and the senses – it is imperative to conduct thorough research on their benefits and side effects, especially when using them in skincare for children. Not all Essential Oils will carry the same safeness as those that are widely used and those that are believed to be safe for use on or around children, and the oils that are categorized as safe should still be handled with stringent safety measures.

It is of utmost importance to consult with a medical practitioner before using Essential Oils during pregnancy or on or near babies. In addition to this consultation, it is highly recommended to receive supplementary advice from a certified Aromatherapist. The combined expertise will help parents make well-educated decisions for the wellness of their children as well as for the rest of the family. It is also important to choose the safest variety of any given Essential Oil, as some varieties exhibit stronger properties that may be harmful compared to other, relatively milder varieties. This is where it would be highly beneficial to know the Latin botanical name of the markedly “safe” variety.

When Essential Oils are introduced to the child’s environment, the area in which it is used should be an open area with easy access to fresh air. Essential Oils should be introduced one at a time in low doses in order to make it easy to spot the culprit in case of a potential allergic reaction. The correct variety of each Essential Oil should be used, as a variety could be safe for inhalation but unsafe for topical application, or vice versa. Any potential reactions are often experienced within the first 30 minutes of application, whether diffused or applied to the skin, but it is recommended to wait 24 hours before using the skin-tested oil in the preferred manner.


The Essential Oils that are considered to be gentle or “light” and which are thus most commonly-used for children are the oils in the following chart, due to the belief that they are more comfortably endured by vulnerable body systems:

CITRUSGrapefruit Pink Essential Oil (avoid topical application)Citrus paradisiBoosts circulationEncourages a positive moodSupports digestive functionThis oil is phototoxic; use only the distilled variety.
Lime Essential Oil (avoid topical application)Citrus aurantifoliaUplifts mood and energyRefreshesStrengthens and supports nervous systemPromotes better focusStrengthens sense of emotional securityHelps reduce congestionThis oil is phototoxic; use only the distilled variety.
Lemon Essential Oil (avoid topical application)Citrus limonUplifts mood and energyRefreshesPromotes better focusStrengthens sense of emotional securityThis oil is phototoxic; use only the distilled variety.
Mandarin Essential OilCitrus reticulataCalms the mind and bodyMakes an ideal substitute for Lavender OilUplifts the moodIs not phototoxicPromotes restful sleep
Neroli Essential OilCitrus aurantium L.Balances mood for emotional upliftmentSupports digestive function
Sweet Orange Essential OilCitrus sinensisHas relaxing effectPromotes restful sleepEncourages positive mood
Tangerine Essential OilCitrus reticulata blanco var tangerineSupports digestive functionSoothes, reduces, or prevents spasmsHelps to relax body and ease mind
FLORALChamomile Essential Oil (German or Roman)Matricaria chamomillaChamaemelum nobileSoothing effect on mind and bodyPromotes better sleep for sleepless babiesEases discomfort of colicUplifts moodStrengthens sense of emotional security
Clary Sage Essential OilSalvia sclareaSoothes, reduces, or prevents spasmsUplifts moodSupports digestive functionPromotes easier breathing
Jasmine AbsoluteJasminum grandiflorumUplifts energy and moodStrengthens sense of emotional securityEnhances alertnessRelaxes the body and calms the mind
Lavender Essential OilLavandula angustifoliaSedative property helps to relax the body and calm the mindEncourages sleepSoothes itchy skinEases discomfort of colic
Marjoram (Sweet)Marjorana hortensisSupports respiratory and digestive functionPromotes restful sleepStrengthens immune functionStrengthens sense of emotional security
Rose Absolute/Rose OttoRosa damascenaSedative quality helps to calm the mind and relax the bodyStrengthens sense of emotional security and resilienceUplifts the mood
Yarrow Essential Oil (Blue)Achillea millefoliumCalms inflammationPromotes mental clarity to reduce feelings of confusionReassuring scent strengthens sense of emotional security
LEAFBasil, Sweet Essential OilOcimum basilicumRefreshing scentHelps to eliminate or reduce airborne bacteriaRelaxes the bodyEases discomfort of cold and flu symptoms
Hyssop Essential OilHyssopus officinalisRelaxes bodySoothes cough and other cold and flu symptomsPromotes easier breathingSupports digestive function
Marjoram (Sweet)Marjorana hortensis L.Supports digestive and respiratory functionEncourages restful sleepStrengthens immunity
Patchouli Essential OilPogostemon cablinUplifts moodSupports immune functionCalms inflammationEases discomfort of dry, irritated skin
Petitgrain Essential OilCitrus aurantium L. var amaraEncourages sleepStrengthens sense of emotional securityCalms inflammation and spasmsRelaxes the body
Tea Tree Lemon Essential Oil (avoid topical application)Leptospermum petersoniiHelps to reduce or eliminate airborne bacteriaPromotes easier breathing by helping to clear or reduce mucus that causes congestion
RESINCopaiba Basalm Essential OilCopaiba sppCalms inflammationReduces likelihood of developing infectionsStrengthens respiratory function
Frankincense Essential OilBoswellia carteriiUplifts mood and promotes positive sentimentsStrengthens immune functionHelps to clear or reduce congestionCalms the mind and helps to relax the body
Myrrh Essential Oil/ResinoidCommiphora myrrhaStrengthens sense of emotional securityUplifts moodIncreases alertnessEases digestive discomfort
ROOTTurmeric Essential OilCurcuma longaHelps to relax the bodyEncourages positive feelings and emotional balanceCalms inflammationHelps to reduce or eliminate airborne bacteriaClears or reduces congestion
Vetiver Essential OilVetiveria zizanoidesUplifts energyPromotes a sense of tranquilityHelps to keep the body cool when experiencing high temperaturesStrengthens sense of emotional security

Despite the generalizations that are made about the relative safeness of many Essential Oils mentioned in this article, it is important to keep in mind that every individual’s biological makeup is unique and products will interact differently from person to person; accordingly, the physical response will depend on the specific user. Parents who are uncertain or reluctant to use a “safe” oil on or near their children, should disregard the safe lists and follow their own instincts.

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