One of the areas that I haven’t yet mastered in the DIY scene is cold and flu care for kids. I can confidently battle my own cold symptoms with homemade remedies, but when it comes to my kids, I’m mostly at a loss; aside from some warm tea with lots of honey and maybe some lemon, there’s not much DIY-ing going on here when the kiddos get sick.
Thankfully, their colds are fairly mild when they do get them, so we usually use homeopathic remedies to get them through it.
But there are still two cold remedies that I just can’t seem to find which also meet our criteria for what we give our kids:
- It has to be safe.
- It has to work.
- The kids have to take it willingly, meaning no force. (A little coaxing is ok. 😉 )
What are they? Cough syrup and vapor rub.
Pretty basic, right? But yeah, truly safe cough syrup and vapor rub that really works AND the kids actually like? Super hard to come by, for some reason! And believe me, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all.
That is until our new friends at Maty’s Healthy Products contacted us about their new organic cough syrup (the first ever!) and their natural vapor rub.
What’s wrong with the ones on the market?
Don’t get me wrong, thankfully there are lots of safe options for kid’s cough syrup on the market; but finding one that really works and that my kids will take without flat out refusing? That’s been very challenging thus far.
And don’t even get me started on kids vapor rub! This one has been even more difficult to find. The mainstream vapor rub in the blue jar (yes, even the baby version) has petrolatum as the first ingredient – umm, petrochemicals on my baby’s skin? No thanks. It also contains artificial fragrance, which we like to stay away from.
But even the natural vapor rubs I’ve tried usually had one issue or another; they’re either way too strong, or not strong enough, and one even caused my kids to break out in a mild rash where I applied it.
I’m also very cautious when using essential oils on my kids. Although there are many kid-safe essential oils (proper dilution required!), special care and consideration is required when using certain oils around small children; and that becomes even more important when we’re talking about infants. Because of this, I’ve stayed away from making a DIY vapor rub; I’m just not well-versed enough in essential oil safety to properly dilute my oils to a safe level for small children.
Is eucalyptus essential oil safe to use on small children?
One essential oil you’ll find in almost any kid’s vapor rub you come across is eucalyptus. Until very recently, I was under the impression that eucalyptus (or any oil that contains high levels of 1,8-cineole) is not to be used on or around children under the age of 6 (some say up until 10 years), under any circumstances. But after further research I’ve learned that I may have been misinformed.
So I asked my aromatherapist-in-training friend, Priscilla at Salam Mama, for her take on this, and she shared the graphic below from Tisserand Institute, which really helped clarify things. Robert Tisserand is one of the most trusted sources for essential oils safety, so I feel comfortable following these guidelines:
Looks like there is a safe level of dilution for using eucalyptus essential oil on children under the age of 3; anything up to 0.05%. Great! But, of course, I still don’t know what the dilution rates are for some of the kid’s vapor rubs on the market.
Yes, I know I can call and ask each company, but honestly, I think companies (especially ones that make products for small children!) should make this type of safety information easily accessible. Is that too much to ask?
Maty’s Healthy Products doesn’t think so!
Natural Cold & Flu Care with Maty’s Healthy Products
Before the folks at Maty’s contacted me, I’d never heard of their brand, which is really surprising because according to their website, their products are sold at major retailers like Target, CVS, and Kroger.
Maty’s Healthy Products was started by a mom who was looking for natural remedies for her daughter’s psoriasis and alopecia, and eventually went on to become a certified holistic health practitioner. Their 100% natural remedies are made with whole-food ingredients that are safe and effective, so there’s no worry about harmful side effects or drug interactions.
Maty’s Organic Cough Syrup
Maty’s cough syrup is the very first certified organic cough syrup on the market. Now when’s the last time you found the USDA organic seal on your bottle of cold medicine? Yeah, me neither.
The cough syrup is a honey blend that contains natural and effective ingredients like apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, cayenne, clove, zinc, and olive oil – all organic, of course.
It’s completely safe (can be used by kids as young as 1), it tastes great, and it really does work to soothe a bad cough. The syrup has a bit of tang to it from the apple cider vinegar, but it’s not too overpowering. The syrup is pretty nice and thick, so you can really feel it coating the throat, which I love.
My 2 year old took the syrup without a problem; she made a face the first time, but was fine after that. My 4 year old just turned his nose up at it, but he’s the pickiest of the three, so that doesn’t really surprise me. I didn’t get a chance to give it to my 1 year old, though I think she’d be totally fine with it.
I’m just glad I have something on hand that’s all-natural, not too spicy for the kids, and actually works. This one’s a keeper.
Maty’s Natural Vapor Rub
The natural vapor rub got a lot of use around here over the past month. I’ve used it on my older kids, and they’ve actually asked for more! We’ve had a love/hate relationship with other vapor rubs; my very picky and sensitive 4 year old doesn’t like strong, overpowering scents, but he actually commented on how good this one smells.
I rubbed it on their chest, and I also put some on their feet before putting socks over them; I’m actually amazed at how well this stuff works. Oh, and no weird rashes on their skin either. 🙂
The vapor rub contains all natural ingredients like coconut oil, sunflower oil, eucalyptus, and peppermint. It contains no petrolatum, and it even uses sunflower wax, instead of beeswax, making it vegan as well!
Now, for the big question: what about that eucalyptus and peppermint oil? How much did they add? What is their dilution ratio? How do we know that this is truly safe for small children as young as 2 years old, as their label states?
Remember when I said that companies should take the initiative and share that safety information with us up front? Well, I’m happy to say that Maty’s did just that – they asked none other than essential oil expert, Robert Tisserand, to analyze their baby chest rub formula for it’s safety and effectiveness. His research indicates that at their dilution, Maty’s Baby Chest Rub is safe for babies three months or older.
Note: I reviewed their vapor rub, which is for children ages 2 years and older. But their effort of analyzing their baby chest rub by Mr. Tisserand earned them huge points in my book.
This is wonderful news and very impressive, considering Tisserand’s fairly strict guidelines. I feel 100% confident in using both the baby chest rub and the vapor rub on my kids. 🙂
Where to Buy Maty’s Healthy Products
Maty’s Healthy Products are available at many retailers across the US; for a complete list, check out their retailers page. You can also purchase their products online through their website or at Amazon.
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Beauty & Truth
I agree with you that when it comes to the kids, we have to make sure that they are taking the right medicine. That means it must safe for them to take it. As parents, it’s your choice if you want to go the natural way or buy the medicine in the market. Whatever your choice is, we just have to make sure that it’s really safe for them.
I hadn’t yet tried Maty’s chest rub, but we’ve been using their cough syrup since my teens were tiny and I agree with you — it’s GOOD stuff!