How to Naturally Prevent Mosquito and Insect Bites on Children

Warm weather means spending time outdoors, especially for children. From nature hikes around Raleigh's parks to playing in the backyard, you knw how important fresh air and sunshine is, but ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests make outside time dangerous since they carry diseases like Lyme and West Nile virus.  

To prevent mosquito bites on toddlers and young children, you want something safe but effective.  Most insect repellents contain DEET and Picaridin, and while these are considered safe for babies over two months old, you may hesitate at using them on your child's sensitive skin. Fortunately, there are several natural mosquito repellents for toddlers and children. To help you pick the best one and use it safely, our preschool in Raleigh is sharing some things you need to know. 

Applying Insect Repellents To Children and Babies

Regardless of whether you choose a traditional repellent with DEET or a natural option with plant based ingredients and essential oils, how you apply it is just as important to safety. For the best results, follow these guidelines:  

  • Spray the insect repellent onto your hands, then rub into your child’s exposed skin, including arms, neck, and legs. 
  • Always spray or apply outdoors;
  • Use away from food or drinks to prevent contamination;
  • Avoid getting this in your kids' eyes or too close to the mouth and nose
  • Wash hands immediately after applying
  • Pay attention to how often the label says you need to reapply.
  • Avoid using a sunscreen/insect repellent combo as sunscreen often needs to be reapplied more often than bug repellent.

Natural Mosquito Repellents for Toddlers and Children

If you want to pick up a store-bought insect repellent spray, the following options are great for preventing mosquito bites on toddlers and small children and contain no DEET or picaridin:

  • Babyganics Natural DEET-Free Insect Repellent is a skin-soothing insect repellent that can be applied every 90 minutes on babies over six months old and contains citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium.
  • California Baby Natural Bug Blend Bug Repellent Spray is safe for babies age six months and up and has a soft fragrance that comes from natural citronella and lemongrass essential oils. Because it’s not strong, it’s safe to apply every 30 minutes, making it a good option when your babies won’t be outside for a long time, and it works against fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and flies.
  • Badger Balm Anti-Bug Balm has a natural base of castor and olive oils that moisturizes skin and citronella, cedar, lemongrass, and rosemary oils naturally repel biting insects and mosquitoes. The whole family can use it, and it’s available in spray, stick, and balm options.

Protecting Babies Under Six Months from Insects and Mosquitoes

If your baby is under six months old, talk to your pediatrician about using any of the above options on his or her delicate skin. Some essential oils are too strong for babies, and your pediatrician may recommend a different option.

Additional Ways To Avoid and Prevent Mosquito Bites on Toddlers

Mosquitoes and insects are so prevalent in the summer months, it's important to take additional steps to minimize the risk of your small children from getting painful bug bites.

Around the Yard

Keep mosquitoes and other insects away from your yard by taking the following actions:

  • Hang citronella plants around your yard, especially near play sets and your porch where your children are most likely to play. 
  • Avoid standing water in your yard. Empty bird baths, buckets, and other things that can hold standing water, cover water tables and kiddie pools when not in use, and if you have low areas in your yard where standing water pools, consider leveling the area a bit.
  • If you want to avoid using citronella candles around where the kids are playing, you can try an ultrasonic pest repellent like the  Thermacell Radius Mosquito Repellent that gives off an odorless, mess free insect repellent and is safe, simple and portable.

On the Go

If you're at the park or out for a walk and you’d rather not use topical insect repellent, you can try these options:

  • “Bug Off Bands" are infused with citronella and other natural repellents that you and your children can wear around the wrist or ankle, or for babies, you can hang one over your child’s stroller or connect it to your baby carrier (like an Ergo, Tula, or sling-style wrap) to keep mosquitoes and flies away.
  • Muslin blankets for newborns are thin and cool but bugs can’t bite through them, keeping your baby safe.
  • Avoid wearing scents and fragrances as some scents attract insects and mosquitoes.

Our Raleigh Preschool Wishes You a Safe, Bug-Free Summer!

You don’t have to keep your kids indoors all summer to avoid being mosquito snacks, nor do you need to reach for commercial chemicals you may not be comfortable with. There are several great options for natural insect safety, and when in doubt, talk to your pediatrician about how to best prevent mosquito bites on your toddler or baby!

Reach out to us today to learn more about our Raleigh preschool or to schedule a tour. Call our North Hills Drive location at 919-785-0303 or our Spring Forest location at 919-790-6888, or fill out our convenient contact form to get started!