Essential oils may cause serious harm to your children

Natural remedies are a popular alternative to prescription and over the counter medications. They are used to treat a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to depression. However, due to either indigestion or improper dosing, accidental poisoning is increasingly becoming a serious problem in children, according to a poison center in Tennessee.

Health Day confirms that toxic exposure to plant produced oils (which are often used in aromatic and homeopathic products) have doubled between 2011 and 2015 alone.

The cause of poisoning is not the oils themselves but the way that the doses are given or ingested. According to Dr. Justin Loden, a certified specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Tennessee Poison Center, "In children, poisoning typically occurs when they try to swallow the oil, but choke so that a little of it goes into the lungs, which causes pneumonia; it only takes less than half a teaspoonful to do that."

Parents should note that, in the wrong dose, any essential oil (including favorites such as lavender, camphor, and clove) is harmful. The oils, especially the ones that are diffused into the air, should be safely stored away from children since the nice smell makes them appealing to eat.

It doesn’t take a lot to overdose, as Londen states, as little as half a teaspoon can do some serious damage. Parents need to recognize the signs of accidental poisoning. Symptoms include agitation, hallucinations, seizures, chemical burns, brain swelling. breathing problems and liver failure.

If you believe your child needs help, call the poison control hotline immediately at 1-800-222-1222 or if you are in Canada (416) 813-5900 and remember, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. After all, anything is okay but only in moderation.