Using Eucalyptus Oil for Baby - Is It Safe?

Using Eucalyptus Oil for Baby – Is It Safe?

Essential oils have been used for treating various ailments for a long time now. They are used widely now as they possess various medicinal properties. One such essential oil, which is used as a home remedy for respiratory problems, is eucalyptus oil, as it possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties. For the various benefits it offers, you might be tempted to use it on your baby if he suffers from a cold or congestion, but should you use it on your baby? Many parents are doubtful about the use of eucalyptus oil for babies. It is important that you understand whether it is safe for babies or not before using it on your little one.

What Is Eucalyptus Oil?

Eucalyptus oil is obtained from the leaves of eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus oil is used in medicines, as a perfume, and also has some industrial uses too. It is a colourless liquid and has a sweet and strong woody smell. More than 700 species of eucalyptus are found in the world, of which only 500 odd species are used to produce the essential oil.

Components And Specifications of Eucalyptus Oil

Following are the constituents of eucalyptus oil.

Component Range
  Cineole   >70%
  Camphor   <0.1%
  Sabinene   <0.3%
  (alpha) – pinene   9%
  (beta) – pinene   <1.5%
  (alpha)- phellandrene   <1.5%
  (delta) – limonene   12%

Are There Any Benefits of Using Eucalyptus Oil?

Eucalyptus oil is used as a natural therapy to treat pneumonia, bronchitis, cough, cold, and other respiratory diseases. It helps strengthen the immune system too. It improves respiratory circulation and has antioxidant properties. Cineole present in eucalyptus oil is an organic compound which offers a lot of benefits like lowering pain and inflammation.

Eucalyptus oil offers a cure for the following:

  • Cold and flu – The essential oil cleans the body of harmful microorganisms and the toxins that cause common cold and flu.
  • Hair damage – Eucalyptus oil is used with olive and coconut oil to moisturise the hair and treat dandruff and itchy scalp. Eucalyptus oil helps nourish the hair.
  • Allergies – Eucalyptus oil helps treat sinus and allergies and is also used as a room freshener. The anti-microbial properties of eucalyptus oil also help kills germs.
  • Calming effect – When mixed with a carrier oil and used for massages, eucalyptus oil has a calming effect and promotes better sleep.

Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe for Babies?

A common query among parents is whether eucalyptus oil is safe for babies or not. While it is true that eucalyptus oil has many beneficial properties, using eucalyptus oil for babies suffering from a cold or in general may be unsafe because of the following reasons:

  • Eucalyptus oil may have very high cineole content, which can lead to breathing problems and nervous system issues in young children. The amount of cineole will depend on the chemotype or the species of the plant.
  • Even if the variety of essential oil you use does not have high cineole content, it may still have compounds that can harm children. These compounds may cause irritation or a burning sensation on your baby’s skin.
  • Eucalyptus oil, if ingested, can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain, and other side effects like breathing problems and wheezing. 
  • This oil can also trigger asthma attacks in some babies.
  • Some babies may have an allergy to eucalyptus oil, which can lead to seizures.
  • When applied around the face and nose, eucalyptus oil can cause rashes and burning, which can progress to respiratory issues.
  • In rare cases, an allergy to eucalyptus oil can also cause coma in babies. Please note, this only happens in rare cases.

Hence, eucalyptus oil should not be used for babies under the age of six orally or topically.

Using Eucalyptus Oil for a Cold

If you want to use eucalyptus oil on a baby’s blocked nose, it is important to know the right and safe way of using it. Plus, you should also know what type of eucalyptus oil is safe for babies. You should avoid using Eucalyptus globulus for children, as it is not safe for kids under the age of 2. Eucalyptus radiata can be used, (Please verify this information) but even this should be used only after consulting with a paediatrician.

 There is very less scientific evidence or any studies to demonstrate the actual benefits of any essential oil.

How to Use Eucalyptus Oil for Babies?

You can use eucalyptus oil to soothe and open the airways of your baby’s nostrils if you follow a few precautions.

  • To use eucalyptus oil for a baby, put two drops of the oil on a tissue or cotton ball and keep it at a safe distance from your baby.
  • For a blocked nose, add three drops of oil to a bowl of boiling water and place it under the baby’s crib. The rising steam releases the essential oil and can provide comfort to your baby.
  • The oil should not be applied near the child’s mouth or nose as it may cause respiratory problems to him.

Although eucalyptus oil may be used with some precautions, it is still not recommended for babies because of its side effects. So here are some alternative methods you can try instead of using eucalyptus oil.

Alternatives to Eucalyptus Oil for Treating Baby’s Congestion

Instead of using any essential oil for treating congestion, you can follow the methods mentioned below to put your baby to ease. These include the following:

1. Nasal Aspirator

A nasal aspirator can be used to clear mucus from the baby’s nose. It can also be used to clear the baby’s airways so that the child can breathe easily.

Nasal Aspirator

2. Hot Water Compress

Using a hot water compress can loosen the thick mucus blocking your baby’s nose, throat, or his chest. Take a small cotton cloth dipped in hot water and squeeze out the excess water. Apply the hot water compress on the affected area to treat congestion. Remember that you should not put the hot cloth directly on your baby’s chest. Furthermore, the cloth should be warm or else your baby may get hurt.

3. Baby Rub

Using a herbal baby rub for colds can help treat congestion in babies and provide relief to your little one. Make sure you check the ingredients and use only a trusted brand to ensure that it is safe to use. Additionally, check the packaging for age-related information to know how early you can start using it for your child.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Using Eucalyptus Oil on Your Baby

No doubt, eucalyptus oil offers a number of benefits, but it is not suitable for children, particularly for kids who are below 10 years of age. Using eucalyptus oil on babies can lead to side effects, which could range from mild to severe. If you do use eucalyptus oil on your baby, and he experiences any breathing difficulties after inhaling the oil, consult a doctor immediately. Some people think that using diluted eucalyptus oil won’t harm the baby, but that’s not correct. Even diluted eucalyptus oil can harm the baby. Remember: eucalyptus oil is not safe for babies. Hence, you should refrain from using this eucalyptus oil for babies and toddlers.


1. Is It Safe to Add Eucalyptus Oil to a Baby’s Bath?

Adding eucalyptus oil to your little one’s bath water might cause accidental ingestion, which is harmful for the baby. Hence, it is advised not to do so.

2. Does Eucalyptus Oil Make Babies Skin Brighter?

No, eucalyptus oil is not known for this effect in babies. In fact, applying this oil to your baby’s skin might cause allergies and rashes, which is strongly discouraged.

3. Is Eucalyptus Oil Effective In Reducing Baby’s Runny Nose?

While eucalyptus oil is known for its congestion-relieving properties, it is not safe to use this oil for your baby. There could be a multitude of side effects, right from skin irritation to breathing problems. Hence, try using some alternative for your baby’s cold.

Even small or diluted amounts of eucalyptus oil can lead to serious reactions in babies, and it is advisable to steer clear of it. Use one of the recommended alternative solutions to clear your baby’s congestion.

It can be distressing to see your baby in discomfort, making you look for every possible way to help. However, something as commonly-used as eucalyptus oil is not as safe for your baby as you think. If your baby is unwell and in discomfort, speak to your doctor for alternative methods to provide relief.


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3. Horváth. G, Ács. K; Essential oils in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases highlighting their role in bacterial infections and their anti-inflammatory action: a review; Flavour Fragr J.; PubMed Central;; September 2015

4. Tibballs. J; Clinical effects and management of eucalyptus oil ingestion in infants and young children; PubMed;; August 1995

5. Valussi. M, Antonelli. M, Donelli. D, et al.; Appropriate use of essential oils and their components in the management of upper respiratory tract symptoms in patients with COVID-19; PubMed Central;; August 2021

Also Read:

Sesame Oil for Baby
Mustard Oil for Baby Massage
Should You Use Mineral Oil for Infants?

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