More moms than ever before are opting for natural, organic and non-toxic personal care products and finding safer ways to keep their kids healthy is no exception. In fact, 41 percent of millennial moms use natural remedies for their children when theyre sick, a survey by BabyCenter found.
The use of essential oils in particular is becoming trendy among moms with brands like doTerra and Young Living heavily marketing to them.
Although essential oils might be a natural alternative to prescription or over-the-counter remedies, experts say they can be unsafe to use and even downright dangerous.
Moms use essential oils for everything
From seasonal allergies and bug bites, to stomachaches, growing pains and swimmers ear, moms are using essential oils for just about every minor ache and pain their children have.
Theyre even hoping the little vial will help their children sleep through the night or deal with separation anxiety, said Stephanie Fritz, a licensed midwife and a certified professional midwife in Sierra Vista, Ariz. and author of Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies.
There are so many things that you cant use over-the-counter nowadays that you can safely use essential oils for, Fritz, who is a Diamond Wellness Advocate for doTerra, said.
Yet as they become more popular, experts are growing concerned about their safety especially when theyre not used correctly.
In fact, between 2011 and 2015 the number of essential oil exposures doubled and 80 percent of cases were children, according to the Tennessee Poison Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Toxicity typically occurs when essential oils are either undiluted or theyre used excessively, said Justin Loden, Pharm.D., a certified specialist in poison information (CSPI) at the Tennessee Poison Center.
Essential oils can cause skin irritation and children can even develop an allergy to them if theyre used too frequently.
Many parents are using them for asthma without realizing it can actually make it worse, said Dr. Erika Krumbeck, a naturopathic physician who specializes in pediatrics and the founder and owner of Montana Whole Health in Missoula, Mont.