What Mosquito Repellents Are Safe for Babies?

Author: Mosquito Squad of Houston

Mosquitoes are reported to be the most dangerous and deadly creature in the world. According to the AMCA(American Mosquito Control Association), there are between 300 and 500 million cases of malaria reported annually, out of people who contract malaria do not recover. Who would have thought that a simple bug could bring such horrible disease? It is important that you pay close attention to anyone with a compromised immune system, the elderly, and especially babies.

Babies’ immune systems have not had a chance to develop fully making them highly susceptible to most mosquito transmitted diseases. They are also not fully able to defend themselves from the constant assault from mosquitoes and flies.

Luckily, there are many forms of protection that you as parents can use to combat this if your kids’ health is a concern. The easiest and best way to protect your child is by covering his or her exposed skin. You want to minimize the area that the bug can get to by having your child wear long sleeves and pants. It is also smart to cover their head with a hat or a hood guarding their scalp and face preventing a bug from getting into their eyes.

If you are going to be heading out into the heat, make sure that the clothing your baby is wearing is light-weight, so your child stays cool. Also, make sure that your child is getting enough water to prevent dehydration.

Another solution for keeping bugs away from your child is to ensure your kids are free of perfumes or lotions.The scents in these concoctions actually attract insects significantly increasing the chance your baby will receive a bite and the chance of him or her contracting a mosquito-transmitted disease.  If mosquitoes are awful, you can cover his or her stroller with a mosquito net significantly reducing the chance of your baby being exposed to mosquitoes.

According to the CDC, one of the best solutions to lessen the risk of receiving mosquito bites is by using an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. There are many mosquito repellents out on the market today, and the list is always growing. With all of the information out there, it is a daunting task to be able to pick out a repellent to use that will actually do a good job; it is even more challenging to choose a repellent that is safe for your baby and kids. It is not recommended to use any spray on children under the age of 2 months, and we recommend the use of some of the above solutions instead as it would be the safest and best option.

The AAP (The American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends using a repellent containing DEET or Picaridin because they seem to be most effective at preventing insect bites on both children and adults. Deet and Picaridin are two repellents that are readily available and are proven to work exceptionally well at repelling insects.

DEET

According to the CDC, DEET (chemical name N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is used as the active ingredient in many insect repellents and offers the best protection against mosquito bites. As long as the DEET concentration of a repellent is below 30%, the solution is safe for babies and children. It is not recommended to use a combination repellent, like an insect repellent that is mixed with a sunscreen, because you have to reapply the sunscreen every two hours whereas the insect repellent should not be reapplied.

When you are using repellents containing DEET, make sure that you do not let your child apply their own insect repellent as this could be dangerous. Also, when you administer insect repellents on babies, make sure no repellents get on your child’s hands or face minimizing any chance of the product getting in their eyes and mouth. Repellents with DEET are also safe to use during pregnancy and will not affect the health of you or your baby. When repellents have a higher concentration of deet, they will repel biting insects for longer. Here is a list of different concentrations and how long your mosquito protection will last before you have to reapply.

  • 6.65% DEET provides about 2 hours of protection
  • 20% DEET provides about 4 hours of protection
  • 23.8% DEET provides about 5 hours of protection

All of the above concentrations of DEET meet the standards for the CDC and is safe to use on babies. Higher concentrations of DEET have a longer repellent effect have a longer repelling effect but any concentration above 50% provides no added protection.

PICARIDIN (KBR3023)

Picaridin is a synthetic compound first made in the 1980’s. It was made to resemble the natural compound piperine, which is found in the group of plants that are used to produce black pepper. It works by blocking the mosquito’s receptors from sensing that you are there, making this option one of best solutions for mosquito control.

Picaridin is thought to be less irritating than DEET and can actually provide even more protection. One great thing about products with this repellent is that they feel lighter on the skin, is odorless and is safe to use during pregnancy. As with DEET, you do not want any chance of this product getting in your babies eyes or mouth, and it is recommended that you apply the repellent yourself. The higher the concentration, the longer it seems to protect you from biting insects. Here is a list of concentrations of picaridin and how long it will provide protection before reapplication is necessary.

  • 7% Picaridin provides about 3 to 4 hours of protection
  • 15% Picaridin provides about 6 to 8 hours of protection

NATURAL ALTERNATIVES

We recommend the use of any products with DEET or picaridin versus any of the natural alternatives on your baby and family because no natural solution produces the same results. You also have to make sure to apply the natural products liberally and make sure you get everywhere that you want bugs to be repelled from. While slightly less efficient, all natural products can be a great alternative to products containing DEET. Most of the natural active ingredients are going to contain an essential oil such as; rosemary oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, citronella oil and eucalyptus oil making them some of the safest repellents to use during pregnancy.

Some of these alternatives are not recommended to use on children under three years old so make sure you refer to the label before you apply any insect repellents. All of these products seem to work similarly as the DEET products by masking your scent so the mosquito cannot find you, preventing the chance of you receiving a bite. Natural alternatives offer shorter protection than DEET and picaridin and will have to be reapplied more often.

  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus provides about 2 to 5 hours of protection
  • Citronella Oil provides 20 to 30 minutes of protection

THE BEST BUG REPELLENTS FOR YOUR BABY

Now that you know the difference between all of the active ingredients in insect repellents, we put together a list of the solutions that we find particularly effective while also still being safe for your baby or kids. Most mosquito solutions come in both wipes and sprays; we recommend going with the wipes if you are using them on babies. The wipes tend to give you more control and significantly reduces the risk of getting any chemicals into your child’s eyes or mouth.

REPELLENTS WITH DEET

CUTTER ALL FAMILY WIPES

This is one of our favorite insect repellents because they are highly effective and can be used on kids, as the 7.15% DEET formula meets the AAP guidelines for use on children ages two months and older. One treatment of this product will repel mosquitoes for up to two hours, after which will have to be reapplied. This is an excellent repellent always to have available at your home.

One cool fact about this product is it comes in a resealable pouch so that you can save the wipe for a second use.  The manufacturer recommends using just enough repellent to cover all exposed skin, but apply sparingly to your face, making sure to avoid your eyes and mouth.

As stated previously, you want to take extra care when applying this product to babies making sure to avoid their hands and face.

BUG X INSECT REPELLENT TOWELETTES

Containing a staggering 30% DEET, this is a repellent that is at the higher end of what is recommended for babies by the CDC. One great thing about the higher concentration of DEET is the fact that you won’t have to reapply this as often to your child. This product can be bought in boxes of 25 and will keep you set for a while.

One of the best features of this repellent is the fact that each wipe is self-contained in a foil wrapper making it easy to slip in your pocket or bag if you and your family are not going to be at home. This product is also very effective at repelling ticks, fleas, flies and other bugs.

CUTTER BACKWOODS INSECT REPELLENT

This repellent offers a whopping 10 hours of protection with a 23% DEET concentration. With 150 sprays per bottle, this is a perfect repellent to keep in a purse or backpack. One added bonus of this repellent is that it is sweat-resistant making it a fantastic option if you and your baby are going to be out in the heat all day.

With this repellent, you will also be safe from other biting pests like flies, ticks, and chiggers. We put this repellent on the list because of the ease you will get from having it in such a small container. You have to make sure that you apply this repellent carefully avoiding your babies hands and face because of the lack of precision you get from the spray nozzle.

OFF ACTIVE INSECT REPELLENT

This repellent has 15% concentration of DEET and will provide you with roughly 5 hours of protection. Also with this repellent, you get the benefit of being it being sweat-resistant so you and your baby can wear this while going for a hike in the woods. Since this spray comes in an aerosol, you will be able to apply this with a smooth sweeping motion while evenly covering your babies body.

We know you will like this repellent because of the ease of use and the long lasting protection. When you go with a product that has the OFF! logo on the bottle, you know you are going to get a great product that is going to work.

REPELLENTS WITH PICARIDIN

NATRAPEL

This is our first solution listed that is completely DEET free with a 20% picaridin concentration. With this solution, all you have to do is apply it once, and it will repel insects for up to 8 hours making it a natural leader out of our selection so far. This product is perfectly safe to use on your sensitive babies skin and is not known to cause irritation.

This product is another option that comes in individually wrapped wipes making it easy to have in your diaper bag or purse, so it is available when your child needs it most. As with the other wipe options, it is exceptionally easy to apply to a fussy baby and will give you the precision you need to keep him or her safe from bug bites.

AVON SKIN SOFT TOWELETTES

With a concentration of 10% picaridin, this repellent packs a serious punch that will keep your kids safe from all of the buzzing pests. This is one repellent that is gentle on the skin and is dermatologist tested, making it an excellent choice for any babies with sensitive skin.

Each box contains eight individually packed wipes making this another good option to carry on you when you’re out of the house. It is recommended to ask a doctor if you are planning on using this repellent on a child younger than six months and is also recommended to reapply this solution every 8 hours to continue to repel mosquitoes. One last thing to note, this is one of the more expensive repellents on our list but is works exceptionally well at repelling bugs.

SAWYER INSECT REPELLENT LOTION

Sawyer insect repellent provides 20% concentration of picaridin giving you and your kids 14 hours of insect repelling power. Unlike the other products on this list, this product is a lotion giving you complete control while applying to your baby.

The reason that this repellent stands out to us is that with most lotions, you will get a greasy feeling after application; with this lotion, it will leave you feeling like you are not wearing any repellent at all. If stains on your babies clothing is a concern, with this product you can apply it to your babies skin or clothing. This is definitely one of our favorites on this list.

NATURAL ALTERNATIVES

LEMON EUCALYPTUS SPRAY

This spray is another choice if you want to go down the natural repellent route to prevent bug bites. The active ingredient is as the title says, lemon eucalyptus, which is derived from the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus tree. With this spray, you don’t get the chemical smell as you do with many of the other repellents but a fresh lemon scent which bugs seem to hate.

This repellent will keep your kids safe from any bug for up to six hours and is another 100% DEET-free repellent but is not recommended to be used on children under the age of 3. Since this solution only comes in a spray bottle, you have to make safety concern and make sure to take extra precautions when applying this repellent to your kids as you do not get as much control as you would with other products, such as with a wipe.

BADGER BALM

This is one the natural solutions that is effective at repelling biting insects. It is made with a mix of citronella oil, rosemary oil, cedar oil, lemongrass and geranium oil and is fortified with olive oil which makes this repellent one of the few solutions that nourish the skin. This is one product that actually smells great and doesn’t feel like you are wearing bug repellent and will leave you bug-free for up to 3 hours.

Unlike all of the wipes listed above, this product is actually a balm. It is applied to your baby like a lotion, gently rubbing a small amount of this product into the desired areas. Because of the olive oil, this product will not irritate your babies’ skin and is good for it. This product is also certified organic and DEET free, making it an excellent repellent when health is a concern.

BUG OFF! ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND

This repellent is unlike any other product on our list because it is a mix of essential oils making this a great natural mosquito repellent. You can diffuse this oil while you and your baby play in the backyard or you can mix this it with a carrier oil and apply a couple of drops to your kid’s ankles and wrists.

A mix of Citronella, Cedarwood, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus citriodora, Thyme, and Lemongrass goes into this product covering a broad range of essential oils known to repel mosquitoes, flies, and ticks.

What to Do if Your Baby Does Get Bit

Your Baby Is Going to Get a Bug Bite No Matter Which of Our Repellents You Go With; It Is Just Something that Is Inevitable. if You Do Happen to Notice a Bite, There Is No Reason to Be Alarmed. It Is a Good Idea to apply ice to the bite reducing the inflammation and redness. Another very good idea is to wash the area thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible; this will wash away a lot of the germs and bacteria that the mosquito leaves behind, minimizing the swelling and redness.

You are also going to have to keep an eye on your baby, although very unlikely, you want to watch to see if your child has an allergic reaction and or have trouble breathing. If this does happen, immediately call 911.

It can be terrifying when you are a parent to have to expose your baby to all of the dangers of the world. Many disease-causing insects could have a huge effect on your children and families health if you do not take the necessary measures to deal with them. Hopefully, these tips and information on products will help you keep your family safe from all the incredibly dangerous insects and actually be able to enjoy the outdoors.