How to use Essential Oils on Young Children for Better Sleep

Are you having challenges putting your children to sleep or keeping them asleep? Essential oils can be beneficial for young children as it helps to promote calmness, reducing hyperactivity, improve mood, improve focus and induce faster onset of sleep.

Identify the essential oils that are safe to be used on children (not an exhaustive list):

  • Bergamot
  • Blue tansy
  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense (Carterii)
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine absolute (diffuse only)
  • Lavender
  • Mandarin
  • Neroli
  • Petitgrain
  • Rose absolute
  • Sandalwood
  • Spearmint
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Sweet orange
  • Tangerine
  • Virginian Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang (diffuse only)

Identify the essential oils that are not safe to be used on children (not an exhaustive list):

  • Basil
  • Bay
  • Benzoin
  • Cardamom
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Hyssop
  • Lemon myrtle
  • Lemongrass
  • May Chang
  • Melissa
  • Oakmoss
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Peru balsam
  • Rosemary
  • Savory
  • Styrax
  • Sweet birch
  • Sweet verbena
  • Thyme
  • Tuberose
  • Turpentine
  • Wild sage
  • Wintergreen

Know the topical dilution ratio for children of various ages. Be wary when using essential oils on the skin. Always carry out a patch test before proceeding with topical usage to avoid adverse reactions. The skins of young children, especially those who are under 10 years old, are more susceptible to sensitivity and irritation. Never use essential oils on infants and children under 3 months old.

Age range of child/childrenDilution percentageCarrier to essential oil ratio
3 months old – 2 years old0.2% – 0.5%1-3 drops of essential oils diluted into 2 tablespoons carrier oil
2 – 6 years old0.5% – 1%3-6 drops of essential oils diluted into 2 tablespoons of carrier oil
6 – 15 years old1% – 2%6-12 drops of essential oils diluted into 2 tablespoons of carrier oil
Above 15 years old2 – 2.5%12-15 drops of essential oils diluted into 2 tablespoons of carrier oil

An effective way to massage diluted essential oils onto your child’s body is to massage gently on the soles of the feet, the belly or the chest, not the entire body. Never apply them on the face, neck and the ears. If they’re struggling with congestion or a headache, it’s safer to simply diffuse them or lightly rub their chest with diluted essential oils.

Diffuse your choice of child-safe essential oil 15-30 minutes before bedtime in an open or well ventilated space to create a peaceful atmosphere for your child, allowing them to relax and get ready for bed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the amount of essential oil to diffuse.

Don’t overuse essential oils. If you’re already applying a body lotion on your child that contains essential oils (such as the popular chamomile, geranium, lavender, lemon, rose and etc.), then you don’t need to apply additional essential oils. Overusing essential oils will do more harm than good.

For additional safety, you can consult your pediatrician or a qualified aromatherapist for further questions about using essential oils on your children. Make sure to buy unadulterated essential oils from a trusted and reliable source, and keep the essential oils out of your children’s reach.