If you have ever fallen in love with essential oils, then your house may look like mine used to, with tiny bottles dotting every room of the house. For those of us that use them frequently, this is not unusual, since you can use oils for almost anything (have you ever heard the phrase, “there’s an oil for that”? ).
Unfortunately, if your house also contains a curious toddler, this can be a complete safety hazard; one that many of us may not even think of. I mean sure, we are trained from the get-go to stash away prescriptions, medicines, and any poisonous cleaning products. Yet you might completely forget about something as natural as an essential oil, right?
I used to keep my oils and tinctures out in the open, where tiny hands could very easily grab them. I had oils next to my bed, sitting on counter tops, and even on my entertainment center in my living room. I truly never thought that my toddler would be interested in them, nor did I ever think that he would try to open one!
If there’s one thing we mamas DO know though, is that our little people are watching our every move. They are copying us and looking to us for guidance, to show them how to be big people. If you are an essential oils enthusiast, chances are, your toddler has picked up on that. And, if they have seen YOU use the oils, why shouldn’t they, right?
This was *beautifully* demonstrated to me after I purchased a bedtime essential oil about a year ago. My son enjoyed the smell so much, that he stole it off my nightstand and dumped ¼ of the bottle all over my bed…nice. Let’s just say, it was a very interesting sleep with the fan going full blast and the overpowering smell of marjoram and citrus in the air lol.
You would think that this would have been a good lesson to me to put my bottles UP and AWAY from my son, but, sadly, I suppose I needed another lesson before that really sunk in!
What to Do if Your Toddler Gets Into Your Essential Oils (And Ingests Them!)
The second time my son grabbed one of my oils, it was just a few months later. I was happily mixing “potions” with my girls at the table when my son turned into a little sneak and grabbed my cinnamon oil. And OH MY LAWDY, this turned out to be one of those awful moments where you think that you just made a HUGE, HORRIBLE MISTAKE as a parent!
I’m not really sure what his goal was, whether it was to smell or taste it, but the next thing I knew he was screaming bloody murder- one hand rubbing his face like crazy and the other tightly gripping the small bottle. In a matter of seconds his face turned bright red, and as for me, well I think my heart stopped.
What happened next was a series of fast actions- flushing his mouth out with cold water, grabbing a tray of ice cubes, and a thorough mommy inspection (comes with a side of kisses). The next logical step was to do what any mother does in uncertain circumstances…
I asked Google.
This is when I read article after article about oil safety and little ones, and why it says “keep out of reach of children” on the back of the bottle (Oooooooohhh). This lead to a 3 step recommendation for any parent to follow if essential oils have been ingested by children, which is:
#1: Don’t panic. #2: Flush the mouth. And #3: Call poison control.
So poison control graciously informs me that since it’s only cinnamon and it wasn’t a large amount at all (guessing it was only a few drops), that he was probably just fine. Worst case scenario following a cinnamon attack was vomiting and diarrhea…good to know. By the time I got off the phone, my son was back to his normal self- running around the house with his sisters and laughing.
Safety Guidelines for Essential Oils
I’m not telling you this to point out my flaws as parent, but to warn you of some very important things, such as..
- Keep oils out of reach of children…seriously! While my son is old enough now to understand essential oil safety, I am still cautious about where I keep them. I also try to keep all of my oils together in one place now, instead of scattered all over the house like before. Even if your children are old enough to understand basic safety, you may have visitors with a little one, so please keep this in mind when storing your oils.
- Dilute the shiz-nit out of strong oils (such as cinnamon or peppermint), or only use a couple drops at a time. Since oils are so concentrated, using too much can cause major skin irritations, especially to those with sensitive skin. Use all new oils with caution, mixing with a carrier oil when necessary.
- Keep strong warming/cooling oils away from your face (and eyes)! Even though I’ve used peppermint oil more than a handful of times, I’ve still been known to get some in my eye, which I can tell you is NOT FUN. Never put strong oils on a child’s face, as they can rub it right into their eyes. In case of eye contact, flush with a carrier oil and/or wet a washcloth with cold water, placing it over the affected eye. If the problem persists, call a doctor (when I have had oil in my eye, it usually goes away within 10 minutes).
- Only ingest oils that you are 100% sure are safe, and again, DILUTE them! There’s a lot of talk of ingesting oils these days. My personal opinion is that you need to make sure they are safe and come from a good source. It has also been brought to my attention from a friend that ingesting large amounts of oils can damage your liver! Again, these oils are so concentrated that they can actually do the OPPOSITE of what you want them to do! If you decide to ingest, just remember to dilute, dilute, DILUTE.
Essential oils can definitely serve its purpose in your healthy lifestyle, however, just remember that we should not be taking oil usage lightly. Especially if you have small children, please remember to be responsible with your oils! Learn from my mistakes lol, and keep your toddler safe and your oils up high. We don’t need another mama calling poison control in a panic!
Have you ever had a crazy reaction/experience with essential oils? Share in the comments below!