As a kid, I believed it was officially summer when I no longer had to wear shoes. Injuries may have been par for the course, but a stubbed toe or a splinter meant I was out enjoying nature, right down to my bare feet, usually while running as fast as I could! As I learned then, summertime–with its accompanying blisters, bug bites, and abrasions–can be particularly hard on feet. Keep your own kids happily running around this summer with some basic herbal first aid and a few foot-soothing recipes.
Herbal First Aid For Kid’s Feet
Abrasions & Cuts
Soothe injuries and hasten healing with a little herbal know-how. Start by gently cleaning the injured area with a couple of drops lavender or tea tree oil in some warm water. Once the wound is clean, use an herbal salve (learn how to make your own herbal salve here) to prevent infection and to encourage healing. Herbal salves made with infection-fighting antimicrobial and vulnerary herbs such as calendula, echinacea, lavender, plantain, and yarrow are good choices. Finally, cover the area with a bandage and check daily to ensure that healing is underway.
Sweaty, Stinky Feet
During the summer, kids often have hot, sweaty, and stinky feet. When feet get overheated, they are more prone to blisters and infections. To cool down your child’s feet, add a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to the foot soak recipe below. A nice foot powder used at the start of each day can help with sweating and odor. You can also sprinkle a bit of the powder inside your child’s shoes.
Foot Powder For Little Feet
- Combine 1 cup of baking soda or cornstarch with up to 40 drops of essential oil. This makes a 1% dilution that is generally considered safe for children. If you are making this for a younger child (under age six), or for one who is very sensitive, then use less essential oil.
- Mix well to break up any clumps made by the essential oil.
- To use, simply massage some of the powder into your child’s feet each morning before they put on their shoes. You can also sprinkle a little foot powder in the bottom of your child’s shoes to help keep their feet dry and clean!
Please note that it is important to supervise children around essential oils and to follow safety guidelines. For more information, please visit Using Essential Oils For Children and our Guide To Essential Oil Safety.
Climbing over fences and scaling trees can easily result in splinters. When this happens, it is time to call upon the magic of a poultice to help draw out the splinter. (Learn how to make a healing poultice here.) You can use drawing herbs, such as plantain and marshmallow. or even use clay, honey or mud. When one of my own children gets a splinter, I mix some clay with a bit of honey, smear it over the skin, and cover the area with a bandage. Sometimes, tiny splinters simply disappear when we use this poultice, while larger ones are drawn to the surface of the skin, ready to be removed.
Nothing can squelch summer fun faster than an itchy or painful bug bite. When your little one is dealing with one of these summer discomforts, you can employ a few home remedies to hasten healing and provide quick relief. Try applying apple cider vinegar, lavender essential oil, a paste made from baking soda, or even mud to your child’s bites. You can also use one of the herbal poultices mentioned above.
Keep those pesky bugs at bay by crafting a natural bug repellant with essential oils.
If your child develops a blister, gently cleanse the area and try to keep the blister from breaking open. Carefully cover the blister with a bandage and apply a drop or two of lavender essential oil to disinfectant the skin. If the blister breaks, use an herbal salve to speed healing.
Soothing Summertime Foot Care Recipes For Children
After a long day spent playing in the park, on a sandy beach, or maybe even pounding the pavement at an amusement park, little feet might need some TLC. These two recipes are wonderful for caring for your child’s feet, and may even help them drift off to dreamland.
At the end of a long, hot day, nothing feels better than a cooling foot soak, and most kids just love to soak their feet! A foot soak will cool down a hot body, remove germs from feet, and help to soothe abrasions and insect bites, too! Peppermint is the classic cooling herb for a summertime foot soak. Rose petals are also cooling, and the combination of peppermint and rose is delightful! Here is how to make your own foot soak.
Cooling Rosy Peppermint Foot Soak
- Boil the water.
- Place the peppermint leaves and rose petals in a heat-proof container that has a tight-fitting lid, such as a ½ gallon size canning jar.
- Pour the hot water over the peppermint and roses and cover. Wait for the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Strain out the herbs and pour the liquid into a basin or pot that is big enough for your child’s feet.
- Add the epsom salts and baking soda, and top off with enough cool water to submerge your child’s feet.
- Have your child sit with his or her feet comfortably submersed in the water for as long as they wish. This is a good time to share a story together or listen to relaxing music. It is also a good time for you to take a foot bath, providing the perfect chance to model loving self-care!
- Finish up the foot bath with a nice massage with a healing salve or with your own shea butter rub, as described below.
Making this shea butter rub with kids is easy and fun.
Kid-Made Tootsie Shea Butter Rub
- Place the shea butter in a Ziplock bag.
- Choose essential oils you and your children enjoy.
- Add up to 20 drops of essential oil to the bag. This will make a 1% dilution that is generally considered safe for most children. Please use less essential oil for children under age six, or for those who are especially sensitive.
- Seal the bag.
- Now for the fun part! Instruct your child to mix the essential oils into the shea butter by squishing and squashing the mixture in the bag. Most kids, especially little ones, love this tactile activity!
- Massage this lovely shea butter into your child’s feet after outside play, or at night to help keep feet smooth and healthy. As a nice bonus, your shea butter rub can also be part of calming nighttime routine.
Follow these simple foot care tips this summer to keep those little tootsies happy and safe!
Would you like more tips for using herbs to care for children?
- Lice Home Remedies Using Herbs
- Treating Fevers Naturally
- How To Make A Child’s Sock Bath
- A Family Herb: Violet
- Allergy Home Remedies For Families
And of course be sure to check out our Introduction To Herbs For Kids series. It is written especially for kids to help inspire them to learn about herbalism!
Keville, Kathy and Green, Mindy. (1995). Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art. California: The Crossing Press.
Mars, Brigitte. (1999). Natural First Aid. Vermont: Storey Books.