Mosquito Repellent for Babies and Kids: Everything You Need to Know
How safe are they for our kids and babies? Consider these great and safe mosquito repellent options for your little one.
Mosquitoes are everywhere and so is the deadly dengue, therefore using mosquito repellents is paramount in protecting your kids from these insects. But do you know whether they are safe on babies? Could they pose a risk to your child’s health? The use of mosquito repellents has skyrocketed today but a lot of us are unaware of the hazards of such chemicals. Especially with babies and kids, it is important to find out how safe these repellents are before regularising their use. While there are plenty of insect repellents in the market, not all of them are good for your babies. Some may be too harsh on the skin while others might cause allergic conditions in the body. Taking enough time to research on the best mosquito repellent for babies and kids is very important so that any potential health hazards are avoided.
Whether you’re taking your baby for a walk or simply slipping him/her to bed in your cosy home, some bugs like mosquitoes and ticks cannot be completely removed. Insect repellents prove to be very helpful in protecting yourself and your kids from insect-borne diseases. There are many studies shed light on how safe these repellents are. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repellents that contain picaridin or DEET are safe for use on babies who are over 2 months old. It is found that natural and organic repellents are also best for children, but not advisable for babies below 2 years of age.
Very few body reactions have been reported to date from the use of insect repellents. However, it is important to take precautions while using these chemicals on your kids.
- Make sure that you apply/spray only as much as it is required; avoid over excessive usage.
- Apply the repellent only on the exposed area of the body and not under the clothes.
- Do not apply repellents over itchy or irritated skin, open wounds and cuts.
- Spray the repellent on your hand before applying on your child; and avoid spraying on their hands, mouth and eyes.
- Use the repellent in a well-ventilated space.
- Avoid applying repellent in combination with sunscreen or other lotions because it can lower the effectiveness of the spray and make you apply more than what’s required.
- Use it only when absolutely necessary e.g. when going outdoors, in the evenings when mosquitoes swarm in and around the house, and when your baby’s room seems to house troublesome bugs. Avoid using the repellent throughout the day when it’s not needed.
- Avoid scented lotions when going out as they can attract bugs.
- Once the kids are back home, wash off their treated skin areas thoroughly with soap.
- Wash all the repellent-treated clothing before the next use.
With several insect repellents making their way into the market, it can get quite confusing when deciding which one to buy. To make things easy for you, here’s a list of different types of mosquito repellents for babies and kids that will take care of you and your kids from trouble-causing bugs.
1. DEET – As per studies, DEET-containing repellents – like the ‘OFF FamilyCare spray’ – are amongst the most effective options for keeping bugs at bay. However, it is recommended to use repellents with DEET concentration of no more than 30% (a higher DEET concentration only means that it lasts much longer). Make sure to use the lowest concentration that works best for you.
2. Natural Repellents – Most parents prefer natural repellents like Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), EcoSmart Organic Insect Repellent and essential oils for their kids. Although these are DEET-free, they may have to be re-applied for best results. Also, OLE is not recommended for kids below the age of 3 years.
3. Picaridin – Picaridin-containing repellents like the Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent and Avon’s Skin So Soft bug guard spray are also effective in warding off bugs. They are safe for use in 2-month old babies and are also known to last longer. Since Picaridin is non-toxic and non-greasy, it is a more preferred option to DEET. However, DEET is studied and tested carefully for its safety and is therefore recommended by healthcare professionals.
4. Thermacell Radius Zone – This is a natural repellent device registered by the EPA and highly effective in warding off mosquitoes within a closed space. The small portable device lasts for up to 6 hours and is considered safer than the coils, mosquito mats and strong sprays.
5. Bite Blocker – This herbal product is deemed safe for use in children and pregnant women as per the American Academy of Paediatrics. Bite Blocker contains natural ingredients and can be used on 2-month old babies as well.
6. Insect Repellent Wristband – Wouldn’t your kids love it if they didn’t have to wait for insect repelling sprays to be applied just before they rushed out to play? Well, the Insect Repellent Waistband is a wonderful option. Your kids can simply wear this bracelet and head out in the evenings. These wristbands are made with natural ingredients and are DEET-free.
7. Insect Repellent Mini Wipes – If you prefer not to use lotions and sprays, then the Insect Repellent Mini Wipes are for you, especially when travelling. These vanilla-scented DEET-free wipes can be carried anywhere and used quickly on-the-go.
There are different ways to protect your child from mosquito-related diseases.
Ensure that your kids wear fully covered clothing when stepping outside and keep your younger babies dressed in lightweight, fully covering bodysuits at all times. Using mosquito nets over baby’s bed and installing mesh screens on the windows/doors are very useful in avoiding mosquitoes.
Ensure that the sleeping net is closed at all times so as to not let any bugs in. Carefully selecting a mosquito repellent for your kids is also important for preventing mosquitoes and dengue.
The listing provided above can help you choose the best mosquito repellent for babies and kids. Most importantly, keep your surroundings clean and get rid of stagnant water areas where mosquitoes and bugs can easily breed. If you have plant pots, pet dishes, coolers, etc., see to it that they are cleaned regularly. It will also help to add drops of kerosene oil to stagnant water areas.
Lastly, avoid exposing your kids to mosquitoes by keeping them indoors in the morning and evening hours, when mosquitoes numbers are on a maximum high.
It is definitely not possible to keep your kids indoors at all times and not travelling to new places together. Since we are exposed to mosquitoes more often, it’s essential to choose a mosquito repellent wisely and protect your child from serious mosquito-related illnesses. The different preventive tips and insect repellents listed here will surely help you protect your kids from unwanted mosquito viruses.
This article was last updated on 3 March 2020.
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