IS EUCALYPTUS OIL SAFE FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS?
Eucalyptus has to be my all time favourite essential oil but is eucalyptus oil safe for babies?
A little look at the google results for this question will no doubt leave you totally confused (unless you clicked here first 😉)
There are so many contradictions but what do the experts actually say about using essential oils around infants?
Caution is a good thing when it comes to our children’s safety.
However, it’s important to understand what the research and experts are actually advising so that we can make well-informed decisions.
The most confusing thing about the ‘Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe For Babies?‘ question is that the various answers all seem to be quoting the same book or at least citing it as their source of information.
They often refer to this book “Essential Oil Safety” by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
It’s considered to be the most evidence based book on the subject and is a must for serious essential oil users.
An example of this misquoting is found on thehippyhomemaker.com where we’re advised that “ALL eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils should be avoided until 10+ years of age”.
www.naturallivingideas.com also includes eucalyptus on their “7 Scary Essential Oil Dangers Not Enough People Know About”. They say that it “should never be used around a young child or baby”.
What do Tisserand and Young actually say..? |Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe For Babies and Toddlers?
In response to being misquoted numerous times Tisserand himself has commented that guidelines perhaps weren’t as clear as they could have been initially.
Is Diffusing Eucalyptus Oil Safe Around Babies?
Tisserand clarifies that:
“They (Eucalyptus Radiata and Eucalyptus Globulus) are safe to diffuse for children, if we are talking about two or three drops in a diffuser for a moderately small bedroom”.
Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe To Use On Skin?
Tisserand goes on to say that “applying undiluted eucalyptus oil to the face – or even to the feet – of an infant would be unwise and risky.”
However, “Eucalyptus oil is safe to use about 1% in a chest rub for small children”.
You’ll often find it added to over-the-counter treatments made specifically for babies.
As with anything though, it would be wise to introduce your baby to a new substance slowly and to speak to your health professional about any concerns.
Be especially cautious if your baby has health problems.
Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe To Ingest?
Essential oils should never be ingested.
Consuming only 3.5 ml of undiluted oil can be fatal.
Is Eucalyptus Oil Dangerous for Babies?
Essential oils are like many other substances…they can either kill or cure…depending on the dose.
The danger comes when people assume that they are safe just because they are natural or ‘therapeutic grade’.
Pure essential oils are made up of hundreds of chemical components.
These natural components are what give essential oils specific therapeutic properties.
There are at least 500 species of Eucalyptus that produce an essential oil. Each oil has its own unique mix of chemical components.
One of the components that makes eucalyptus oil so effective at treating flu-like symptoms and congestion is 1,8 cineole which reacts with mucous membranes to loosen them.
Adverse reactions to Eucalyptus Essential Oil and 1,8 Cineole
Higher-than-normal doses of 1,8 cineole is dangerous and can cause health problems.
Eucalyptus poisoning can cause seizures and muscle weakness. This has prompted some health professionals to declare eucalyptus oil as unsafe.
In fact webmd recommends not using Eucalyptus Oil around infants due to the seriousness of possible (though rare) side effects.
Tisserand states in the book I mentioned above that “There are two reports of serious adverse reactions by children to non-oral eucalyptus oil – ages 4 and 6.
This does not mean that all children in a certain age group are at risk from topical eucalyptus oil”.
(Essential Oil Safety page 274)
He goes on to say…”on the other hand such reports, as well as the ones from nasal instillation, deserve to be considered” and further research would be valuable.
Please, note that instillation is not the same as inhalation and does not pose the same risks.
Instillation is when a substance, in this case an essential oil is inserted directly into the nose using a pipette or inhaler.
Safely Diffusing Eucalyptus Oil Around Babies
- Check with your medical professional before using any new substances around your baby.
- Ensure your room is well ventilated.
- You can use milder oils, such as Fir Needle or Cedarwood if you prefer.
- Always use the recommended dose for infants (Tisserand recommends 2-3 drops of Pure Eucalyptus Radiata or Eucalyptus Globulus) in a diffuser.
- Use a good quality essential oil diffuser. We use this one…
- Diffuse essential oils far away from faces and well out of your child’s reach.
- Store essential oils as you would store medicines.
We use 2 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil in our diffuser for our babies when they have colds.
We actually find that it’s the only thing that helps them to sleep when they have congestion.
I hope this post “Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe For Babies?” has helped you to make an informed decision.