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Parents have the challenging task of keeping their children safe and healthy. Therefore, the use of essential oils like peppermint oil to help children may pose a certain degree of concern, with regards to its safety. Parents should exercise extreme caution and care when using peppermint oil for babies as its concentrated form can be life-threatening. Preferably, it should be used only in a much more diluted form than what is recommended for adults.
What is Peppermint Oil?
The oil of peppermint is the result of steam-distilling the flower buds, leaves and stems of the peppermint plant. It is considered an effective cure for digestive issues, respiratory problems, and sinusitis. It also supports the health of the nervous system, muscles and joints. It has a cooling, tingling effect on the skin when applied. People commonly use peppermint oil for flavouring foods and beverages.
Should You Use Peppermint Oil for Babies’ Needs?
Even though peppermint oil may offer many health benefits, it could be dangerous for babies. Accidental ingestion of the oil can be toxic for an infant. Direct and undiluted application of the oil can cause inflammation, itchiness or possible skin reactions. Most parents may wonder if peppermint oil is safe for babies to inhale. The answer is that it is not recommended to expose babies to the oil directly. Too much of it can be disastrous, as it may lead to health complications. Therefore, avoid using it for babies under the age of one. In case you still intend on using it, know all the likely risks and use it wisely. It’s sensible to consult a doctor before attempting its use.
5 Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Infants
Benefits of peppermint oil, when used in small and diluted quantities, for infants can be:
1. Relief from Colic
Babies are every so often prone to gas and other digestive problems owing to their developing digestive system. Applying diluted peppermint oil on the belly of a colicky baby may prove beneficial in relieving his discomfort partly.
2. Helps Teething Babies
Peppermint oil may help in easing teething pain in babies. Add coconut oil to it in equal parts to dilute it. Rubbing the mixture on the gums of teething babies may bring instant relief. It may also assist in preventing cavities.
3. A Remedy for Cold and Cough
You may use peppermint oil for your baby’s colds as it is believed to be an expectorant. Inhaling diffused peppermint oil mixed with eucalyptus oil and clove oil may prove useful in unclogging a baby’s blocked nose and providing comfort to his scratchy throat. It may also diminish the effects of chest congestion.
4. Fights Dandruff
Adding a couple of drops of peppermint oil to your baby’s shampoo can work well for removing dandruff and nourishing his hair. The antiseptic properties of the essential oil may effectively cure any lice issues as well.
5. Soothes Skin Rash
Applying some peppermint oil diluted with lavender oil can effectively treat skin rashes. The cooling quality of the mixture helps in reducing inflammation. A blend of peppermint oil and coconut oil can aid in bringing down a baby’s fever naturally.
Precautions to Take While Using Peppermint Oil for Your Baby
Some precautions to bear in mind while using peppermint oil for babies can include the following:
- Remember not to directly apply peppermint oil to a baby’s nasal or chest area as it can trigger respiratory distress and bronchial spasms.
- It is not advisable to apply an undiluted form of the oil to the baby’s feet because of its potential toxic nature.
- Take care while exposing your baby to the oil as its inhalation in large amounts can result in dizziness, muscle weakness, nausea, disorientation, and double vision.
- Always dilute peppermint oil with a carrier oil when using for babies. Be careful that your baby doesn’t ingest it as it can prove harmful.
Peppermint oil can be deadly when consumed in excess. Thus, it may be better to avoid giving it to babies unless specifically recommended by a doctor. The likely risks associated with the essential oil may outweigh its benefits when a baby’s well-being is in question.
Also Read: Is It Safe to Use Mineral Oil for Infants?