Bug Repellent and Babies
Insects, especially mosquitoes, commonly bite children and can make them miserable. There are many safe and effective insect repellents that you can use to protect your child.
Protect Yourself from Insect Bites
- Do not use scented soaps, perfumes or hairsprays on your child before going outdoors.
- Children should wear clothing with long pants and long sleeves when insect exposure is prevalent, especially in wooded areas.
- Reduce the number of mosquitoes in an area by disposing of containers with standing water which provide breeding places for mosquitoes.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of DEET products with a concentration of 5-10% on children older than 2 months. Repellents with DEET should not be used on children under 2 months old.
- When using insect repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub the product onto your child’s exposed skin. Avoid children’s hands, eyes, mouth, and open wounds, and use it sparingly around their ears.
- The AAP recommends washing the repellent off of the skin after returning indoors.
- Do not apply repellent under clothing, and if it is applied to clothing, wash treated clothing before wearing again. Bathe children before bed if repellent has been used during the day.
- There are many different types of bug repellent. A few examples include:
- OFF! Skintastic (5-10% DEET, provides 4 hour coverage).
- DEET-free products include natural oils, such as citronella, patchouli, clove, and makaen (provide 2-4 hour coverage)
- Other DEET-free products include: Avon’s Skin So Soft, Bug-Away, Off-Botanicals, California Baby, and Bite Blocker (made from soybean oil)
We hope these tips will help you to protect your children as well as help them to develop safe sun habits that will last a lifetime. Have a very enjoyable and safe summer!
Bug Repellent and Babies
We do worry about any chemical that you're going to put on a baby's skin. Number one, they can be irritating to the skin but also there is some absorption that can occur.
Bug repellant is safe and necessary for your baby. It is not recommended to use under two months of age but beyond two months it's safe, if used correctly and washed off after applied.
Probably the safest is to put it on your hands and then rub it on them because when you spray it, you run the risk of them inhaling it. I recommend applying it to the top of the head, back of the head, arms and legs and trunk. Not the hands and not the face because we don't want it to end up in their mouth.
Most of the commercially available DEET products are 10 to 30%. The higher the percentage, the longer they last.
So if you're going to be out longer than an hour or two you probably need to find something between 24 and 30% DEET.
How do I protect my baby younger than two months old?
If you're a family that likes to go for walks in the evening when the mosquitos are bad, what I recommend is buying a bug net that fits over their stroller, and spraying the DEET product on the net and putting it over the stroller.