As your little ones play outside this summer, you may notice mosquito bites popping up on their skin. Mosquito bites are itchy and irritating. A lot of times, kids make them worse by continuing to scratch them, which can cause infection. There are plenty of ways you can keep your kids safe from mosquitoes without using harsh chemicals.
You can protect your kids from mosquito bites while limiting their exposure to DEET, a chemical found in many insect repellents. When playing outside, light citronella candles to keep bugs away. Dress your child in protective clothing that still allows them to stay cool. Light colored loose clothing, socks, and full-coverage shoes can minimize the skin that is exposed and accessible to mosquitoes.
Using Insect Repellent on Your Toddler
If and when you do use insect repellent on your toddlers, only use approved insect repellents with appropriate DEET percentages. Children under six months should not wear an insect repellent with higher than 10% DEET, and only apply it one time a day. Plan to apply the repellent when mosquito activity is at high risk. Toddlers 2 years old and up can use up to 10% DEET repellent up to three times per day. Once children reach 12 years old, they can use up to 30% DEET repellent.
Infants under 6 months old should not wear insect repellent, or anything with lemon eucalyptus oil. However Picardin, an odorless synthetic that is in some insect repellents has been approved for use on infants as young as 2 months old. You can also look for DEET-free repellents. Infants or children that are in strollers should use a mesh covering or net to prevent mosquitoes from biting.
Using Insect Repellent Safely
Whenever your kids are playing outside, be smart about preventing bug and mosquito bites. If you do use an insect repellent for your toddler, use a child-friendly insect repellent. Mosquitoes like to hang out in hot areas and standing water. Don’t leave water in kiddie pools, garden decorations, or toys that collect water. Empty them to prevent mosquito from breeding in your backyard. Mosquitoes are out and most active during dawn and dusk. So, be sure to take more precautions during evening play, or when being around areas of tall grass.