Essential oils – aroma OK, but not for ingestion

The Pediatric Insider

© 2018 Roy Benaroch, MD

Anjelika wrote in:

Hi there Dr. Benaroch, I would first just like to thank you for all of the valuable information you have provided over the years (and also the laughs) for so many of us – it means a lot! I was wondering if you had any opinions on essential oil diffusers around babies and toddlers since I have a 3 month old and a 29 month old. I’m only interested in making my house smell good (not looking for topical use or ingestion), but I want to be sure it’s not dangerous for them to be breathing it in.

Anjelika, not to worry. Hypothetically, I suppose a child might be allergic to the volatile aromatic molecules (technically, the “stinky bits”), or some might object to the odor if it’s strong. But smelling essential oils diffused in a room ought to be safe, as long as you’re not talking about gallons of the stuff sprayed about.

Be wary of the diffuser, though. You don’t want kids drinking the oil, or getting their hands on a warming element. Just keep whatever it is that spreads the smell, and its electric cord, up out of the reach of little ones.

Previously: Essential oils: When shady marketing and quackery meet

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