Kid Safe List of Essential Oils

Kid Safe List of Essential Oils.
The following are common oils that are safe to use with kids. This is not an exhaustive list.

These oils are safe to diffuse from 3 months upwards, in a well-ventilated room, for 30 minutes on, 60 minutes off.

For topical application, safe to use for 6 months upwards at no more than 1% dilution. Adults – 2-5% dilution depending on application.


Tisserand, R & Young, R, 2016, “Essential Oil Safety, 2nd edn.,  Elsevier.

Battaglia, S, 2004. “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy”, Perfect Potion, Australia.


Atlas cedarwood, Himalayan cedarwood, Virginian cedarwood

Respiratory support, improves circulation


Citrus (cold-pressed)

Lemon, sweet orange, grapefruit, lime, bergamot (bergaptene-free)

Energizing, uplifting, aids focus

Clears energies


Pines, spruces

Respiratory support, joint and muscle support

Grounding, energising


German chamomile, Roman chamomile, Moroccan chamomile

Calming, sedating, peace

Supports digestive system, supports skin healing, mild analgesic, teething relief

Helps heal the inner child

Frankincense Supports respiratory health, supports immune system, spiritual support
Geranium Skin support, emotional support

Connects with Mother Earth energies

Ginger Digestive support

Warming, increases circulation

Helichryseum Supports skin healing, alleviates bruising

Aids in letting go

Lavender – L. angustifolia Peaceful, calming, sedating

Promotes sleep, supports immune system, supports skin healing

Palmarosa Respiratory support, skin support, immune system support
Rosalina Respiratory support
Rose Self-love, emotional support, spiritual support, call to angels for help
Sandalwood Sedating, calming, respiratory support

Spiritually grounding

Spearmint Digestive support, respiratory support, muscular support, improves circulation

Happiness, sweetness, calming

Tea tree Immune system support, skin healing

Making Aromatherapy Sprays


Aromatherapy Sprays are a simple and effective way to use essential oils to cool you down and help refresh yourself physically and energetically. You can also use them to freshen the air in a room, or from an energetic perspective,

clear any lingering negativity.

Here is how you can make Aromatherapy Sprays at home.You will need:

  1. A spray bottle with a spray nozzle. You can purchase these easily online nowadays – some recommended companies in Australia are here and here. I like them because of the affordable pricing and also no minimum order. You can also purchase small spray bottles from most supermarkets too – these are usually aluminum bottles with a trigger spray, about AUD$2.50.
  2. Essential oil(s). You can use a single oil, or a blend of several essential oils. If you are a newbie, start with a single oil, or a blend of 2-3 oils. Make sure you  have no sensitivities to your selected oils. If you are using around babies and children, make sure you are using kid-safe oils. You can find information on this here.
  3. Cooled boiled water or distilled water
  4. A dispersant: oil and water do not mix, so to make sure your mix does not leave you with undispersed droplets of essential oils on sensitive skin, a dispersant is preferable. You can use a “solubaliser” (this is available from the companies I linked in number 1, or some health stores that also sell essential oils), or ethanol/high-proof vodka. For the occasional home user, you can use plain castille soap.
  5. A preservative: this is highly recommended, because water is a great medium for growing nasties like bacteria, mold and fungi. Even distilled water from a brand new bottle, can grow those nasties if left long enough. You can purchase a preservative from one of the companies I linked in number 1. Ethanol/high-proof vodka is also a preservative at 40% of your final product. You can opt not to use a preservative, but be mindful to use your spray within one week, or store in the refridgerator and use within 2-3 weeks. This is where I recommend using a smaller spray bottle, something that is about 50ml, so you don’t end up throwing product away.

Okay, let’s get started!

For a 50ml bottle:

Step 1: Add 20 drops in total of essential oil(s) into the bottle.I have provided some formulas for essential oil blends below.

Step 2: Depending on your choice of Dispersant, add 10-20 drops of solubaliser, OR 2-3 drops of castille soap. If you are using ethanol or high-proof vodka, add 20ml.

Step 3: If you are using a Preservative, follow the instructions for use. Most effective preservatives on the market require 0.5-2% of the total volume, so essentially you would be looking at 5-40 DROPS of preservative in your 50ml bottle. You can find effective preserving systems that are considered natural in the cosmetics industry, so not all preservatives (chemicals) are bad for you! However, cosmetic products that do not have effective preservative systems CAN harbour dangerous bacteria, mold or fungi, and I can tell you antibiotics to treat THOSE are worse than preservatives. If you are using ethanol or high-proof vodka as your solubaliser, it will do the job of preserving your spray, although I would still put a short shelf-life on it.

Step 4: Swirl, then top up with cooled boiled water or distilled water. Put the spray nozzle on, shake well, and spray about you or around your space.

Some Formulas for Essential Oil Blends:

Sleepy night:

10 drops lavender

5 drops bergamot

5 drops geranium

Monster repellent:

5 drops petitgrain

5 drops cedarwood

5 drops lavender

5 drops geranium

Clearing Negativity:

5 drops juniperberry

5 drops peppermint

5 drops lemon

5 drops black pepper

To fill a 100ml bottle, double the recipe above.

*Be aware that some people may be sensitive to alcohol on the skin, so watch out for sensitivities. If you are using alcohol, not spraying directly on sensitive facial skin is a good idea.

1. Aren’t essential oils antiviral and antibacterial? Won’t they preserve the product?
No, because although their antiviral and antibacterial properties are effective against infections on the skin and in growth mediums, they do not extend to preserving a whole product. Add to the fact that oils and water do not mix, essential oils’ antiviral and antibacterial properties do not extend to the water phase. Using higher concentrations of essential oils, say 20-25% may act to preserve the product, we are then looking at possible skin sensitisation at those levels, as well as the economics and sustainability of it (25% of 50ml is 12.5ml of essential oils!)

2. My oil company says our oils are so pure that they dissolve in water
Pure or not, essential oils are volatile organic compounds made up of mainly hydrogen and carbon atoms. Most of these molecules are hydrophobic – meaning they do not mix with water. SOME parts of the molecules may dissolve in water, but the majority will not. It is why when you leave your oil and water mix for a while, the oil settles at the top of the water. Shaking the crap out of it will help mix it up, but not fully. The oil and water will eventually separate. Shaking it before use each time can minimise skin sensitisation, but if we are using essential oils that are phototoxic, or contain skin-sensitising molecules, we may still get droplets of essential oils on our skin, which may harm us. For example, we use lemon essential oil or limonene compounds in spray products to degrease surfaces. If they are effective enough to degrease surfaces, they are effective enough to affect our skin, which is made up of lipids (fats).

3. My oils are so pure, they cannot cause sensitisation. Some detoxing may occur, but it is not sensitisation.
Skin sensitisation is very real – it can also happen with essential oils that are generally known as safe, like lavender or chamomile. Skin sensitisation can occur in your first use, or it can occur after prolonged and repeated use, safely diluted or not. While purity is important, and skin sensitisation is more likely to occur with adulterated oils or oils that have been poorly stored leading to oxidisation, people have reported sensitisation to pure essential oils. Once sensitisation occurs, it is likely you may not be able to continue using that oil, and in serious cases, it can extend to other essential oils that contain similar chemical constituents as the one you are sensitised to. So my perspective is, keep to safe dilutions, regardless of purity, so you can continue to use those essential oils. You can read more about sensitisation here, here, and here.

4. Can I use honey as a dispersant and preservative?
No. Although honey is antibacterial, its properties do not extend to preserving a product, especially one that contains water. When honey is added to water, it is actually a sugary environment perfect for bacterial growth. While it CAN help disperse essential oils, you will still need a really good preservative. Read this blog as it explains it so much better than I (the bloggist is a cosmetic formulator highly regarded in cosmetic formulation circles).

5. Can I use Epsom salts, glycerine or bicarb soda as a dispersant?
Some older aromatherapy texts do suggest Epsom salts, glycerine or bicarb soda as a dispersant. While these changes the “wetness” of water, meaning they weaken the water bonds so they may “blend” better with essential oils, they are still not effective dispersants. Personally, for home use to make aromatherapy sprays, they may be adequate substitutes, because you are not using high amounts of essential oils and you are not spraying profusely. Just avoid spraying on sensitive facial skin or on children and babies. If you wish to read more about dispersants, this is a good article written in by the Tisserand Institute in partnership with Deborah Kallevig, a cosmetic formulator. The article is specifically about dispersing essential oils in bath water, but it explains beautifully how to effectively (and not) disperse oils in water.

I hope I have not scared you off making aromatherapy sprays, after all of those cautions! It seriously is a simple process, granted more simple than the safety considerations, but I truly wish to leave you with the idea that essential oils are wonderful and therapeutic CHEMICALS that can heal AND harm. Simply be aware of risks, and aim to use essential oils safely, and you are good to go! If you have any questions, feel free to ask/comment, I will do my best to answer.

For a list of Kid-Safe Essential Oils, go here.

Diffusing Essential Oils – 5 Reasons I Don’t Own a Diffuser, and I am a Clinical Aromatherapist

Recently, I was asked a question, “What do you diffuse?”

My answer? I don’t. I don’t even own a diffuser, and I said so to the person who asked the question. They almost fell off their chair.

So here are 5 reasons why I don’t own a diffuser, as I explained to my friend:

  1. I have a toddler. More specifically, my practice of not possessing a diffuser came from before her birth, as I was mindful of limiting the use of essential oils during pregnancy (I was studying my Diploma in Clinical Aromatherapy then, so was exposed to a fair amount of essential oils already). Then, I was cautious about diffusing around a newborn – there was simply so much conflicting information out there about essential oil safety, and as a sleep-deprived new mum, I simply chose to err on the side of caution. What I did find that worked was passive diffusion – this is when you place a drop of an essential on a piece of tissue or cloth, and simply inhale. Or sniff straight from the bottle, or from a necklace diffuser. When I saw how placing one drop of tea tree oil on a muslin cloth, then leaving this close to my baby’s nose when she was asleep, was enough to unblock her nose and expel snot, that was good enough for me. As she got older, she is a curious one, and she climbs everywhere, and I know I would be *that* mother who left water and essential oil in a diffuser where the toddler could get to it and tip it over, or worse, drink that water…. 
  2. I have a cat. Actually, correct that, I have two cats now. And a dog. And chickens that continually insist on walking into the house. And this past week, a duckling. We care for duckling/s indoors about 1-2 times a year. The research on essential oils with animals is still quite limited, and the data out there currently informs that cats lack the liver enzymes to process essential oil constituents, in particular phenolic compounds. Given that I had a rescue kitten go into liver toxicity on me the day I adopted her from a rescuer, because the rescuer had used tea tree oil in water to wipe it down in an attempt to get rid of fleas (recall that oil and water do not mix, so essentially the kitten had undiluted tea tree oil applied to it), I am even more cautious about avoiding using essential oils around my animals. Simply because, I do not know enough about it, I have not studied it, numerous vets have told me essential oils are toxic to cats and birds, and I have no need to use essential oils on my animals when the medications work for us with no side effects.
  3. In clinic work, I select essential oils to use specific to each client on the day of consult. Therefore, I do not diffuse essential oils into the air because I do not know if a client, in particular a new client, would react to particular oils, or whether the oils are contraindicated with a particular issue they are experiencing that day. Often, I will have clients remark that the room smells lovely, even if they are the first client of the day, and the last clinic session was 4 days prior. Essential oil molecules can stay in an unventilated room, in the fabric and carpet of the room, and also in the air, so limiting exposure is part of safety for me. My clinic space is technically a public area for me, and diffusing essential oils in public can cause reactions (see this for a news report on the dangers of diffusing in a public space).
  4. I don’t have the money to spare. Like seriously, currently a good diffuser with a timer costs upwards of A$100. We are a young family living on a farm with budding businesses (no pun intended, haha) – this just is not a priority for now. The reason I would opt for a diffuser with a timer that allows for intermittent diffusing is because current safety recommendations suggest the following (plus, I would be the person who forgets to turn it off): “Intermittent diffusion is much more effective, as well as being safer, than continuous diffusion. Intermittent means 30-60 minutes on, then 30-60 minutes off. This is because our body, especially our nervous system, habituates after this length of time. With continuous diffusion, while benefits do not increase, there is evidence that the body becomes stressed in various ways.” (Tisserand Institute, 2017). This is if you are diffusing for a specific purpose – to treat respiratory conditions or you wish to disinfect the air if there is illness in the house. Low level diffusion, where you can barely smell the essential oil, is fine “anywhere, for any length of time”, according to Tisserand. However, it comes back to me preferring to reduce exposure to essential oils to an “as-needed” basis.
  5. My fifth reason is a bit more complex. In recent years, I am more mindful of how I use essential oils, because sustainability over the resources that go into making the oils is getting to be a concern. Lately, I am also more mindful about my purchases. A diffuser is not something I will use often, given the reasons listed above, so I do not want to add to the consumerism, or to the landfill when it breaks. If I want to freshen the air, I open the doors and windows for fresh air. We live on a farm, with low population density and an abundance of trees, so we are lucky to have fresh, clean air all the time. In  my clinic, I have indoor plants, and I open the windows after treatments. If I need to “disinfect” the air in the house, I boil vinegar on the stove and add spices like cinnamon, clove, black pepper, and bay or eucalyptus leaves (these two are in abundance on our farm!). I also reach for the charcoal disc and incense, or homemade dried herb bundles, if I need to cleanse the house energetically. So, in short, I make do with what I have, and the traditional forms of plant medicine first, before reaching for the essential oils.

    View outside our front door, on a rainy day

So there you have my five reasons for not owning a diffuser. If you already own one, or aim to purchase one, by all means, use a diffuser, because only you will know how or why it would fit in with your home, family and lifestyle. What I do hope, in writing this article, that it may get you to look at how or why casual and continuous diffusing may not be as risk-free as one may think, and how there are other ways we can use plant medicine. If you wish to read more about Plant Medicine beyond essential oils, have a look at this article. As always, I would love to hear your perspective – do you use a diffuser, or not?