FOX13 Investigation: Do essential oils pose a risk to your kids?

The danger essential oils present to kids

The essential oils you're using at home can poison your children.

Those oils, used for everything from aromatherapy to cleaning to health and healing, are skyrocketing in popularity.

The Tennessee Poison Center told FOX13 the number of essential oils exposures doubled from 2011-15 and 80 percent of those cases involved children.

Content Continues Below

"Essential oils have been used for thousands of years,” Sue Jorden, the manager at Maggie’s Farm, told FOX13.

Sue Jordan has been selling them for decades.

"I think people are trying to go back to a natural way of things,” Jordan said.

The oils can be used on skin, ingested or even released into the air.

"They're like hundreds of uses for them,” Jordan said.

But with the good there can be bad, if they get into the wrong, little hands.

"These oils can be very dangerous to our children,” pharmacist Sadie Cox said.

Sadie Cox heads up the pharmacy at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. She told FOX13 essential oils can be enticing to children.

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

And that’s not the only danger.

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

And from there, it can penetrate the protective barrier covering the brain.

Some of the symptoms of essential oil poisoning include mouth and throat irritation, nausea, vomiting, agitation, hallucinations, seizures, lethargy and coma.

Cox has a message for all parents.

"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.

Sue Jordan wants folks to know when used the right way, these oils can be very beneficial. Still, she has a recommendation.

"We always tell people before you try anything like that to talk to your doctor,” Jordan said.

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 and Wintergreen.