Calls To Poison Control For Essential Oils Exposures Doubles Over Last 4 Years

Essential oils are the oil of the plant from which they were extracted and are often used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to household cleaning products.

Essential Oils

Over the past few years their use has increased in popularity, but so has the risk.

So much so, the Tennessee Poison Center is reporting that the number of essential oils exposures doubled from 2011-15 and 80 percent of those cases involved children.

Essential oils can be used on skin, ingested or diffused into the air.

But these oils can be dangerous if they get into little hands.

The pharmacist at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Sadie Cox, told FOX13 essential oils can be enticing to children because of their intense fragrance.  Just a small amount can cause serious health issues.

“Even a small drop, they could potentially choke on it,” she said. “And if they choke on it, they’re gonna aspirate into the lungs so then it can cause severe damage in the lung.”

“Even with skin absorption, they don’t know if it’s too much of it,” Cox added. “It can sink into the skin.”

But what is scarier is that there is a risk that the oil can penetrate the protective barrier covering the brain, which can lead to a child to experience symptoms of essential oil poisoning including mouth and throat irritation, nausea, vomiting, agitation, hallucinations, seizures, lethargy and coma.

“It’s real important to keep them up away from kids. Out of sight, out of reach, locked up so kids are not wanting to play with these oils,” Cox warned.

If they are going to be used on the skin essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil,  almond oil or avocado oil by mixing about 6 – 12 drops of the essential oil to 1 oz of carrier oil.

If your child swallows an essential oil, you are urged to call poison control at 800-222-1222.

Several essential oils can be especially dangerous for children. Those oils include:

  • Camphor
  • Clove
  • lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Thyme
  • Tea Tree
  • Wintergreen

About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • Thank you, Lisa, for sharing this information.
    You are absolutely correct in saying that essential oils are extremely potent and concentrated and should be kept far away from small children as they can be extremely lethal and damaging should they come into contact with the wrong hands, even in small doses.
    I encourage you to let your readers know that essential oils are also not recommended to be taken internally and should be used at an even more diluted concentration for children under 3! only 1 % maximum for children under 3, which is 5 drops per ounce maximum, recommended by Clinically Certified Aromatherapists.
    Always look to qualified organizations, such as The AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists) and NAHA (The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapist for more valuable information on this subject.

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