When picking a repellent, it should be taken into consideration how much time your baby spends outside and where.
Reading this article can save you ton of hours and money!
Before further a due, lets look at our Top-3 picks.
If exposure to bugs is for extended periods of time, go for higher concentrations. If the baby is in an area of high bug activity, it is advisable to opt for repellents with DEET or Picaridin.
There are hundreds of products available in the market. I did extensive research and testing to come up with best mosquito repellent for babies so you don’t have to spend hours on research to pick the best one.
This concise video of Dr. Anthony J. Mancini from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago addresses several important considerations when using insect repellents on children
First and foremost, insect repellent should not be handled by little children themselves and should always be applied to them by an adult.
To avoid exposing the baby’s skin to excessive chemicals, the repellent should be applied in a thin layer and that too only to the exposed parts of the body.
These products are pretty safe if used according to the label. Because there label is approved by EPA ( In most cases) so you should’t be too worried about that. Says Brandy From parent Influence.
Do not apply it underneath clothes. Make sure it is not applied near the mouth and the eye area or over cuts, wounds or any open skin.
Never spray the repellent directly onto the baby’s face. Apply it with hands so that you can carefully go around the mouth and eye area.
The repellent should also not be put on the baby’s hand as it could transfer to the mouth and eyes. Lastly, it is very important that at the end of the day, the repellent is rinsed off of the baby’s skin with soap.
The longevity of the repellent action depends on the concentration of the active ingredient in it. One application of repellent with 30% DEET can last up to 8 hours.
As can one of 20% Picaridin. In general, a single application per day is sufficient if the baby is not going to be outside for very long periods of time.
Due to chemical buildup, frequent reapplication is ill-advised. For this very reason, repellents that also double up as sunscreens are not recommended because sunscreen needs to be reapplied often.
Let us analyze some of the highly recommended repellents out there that offer protection to the little ones without compromising their health.
This repellent is Picaridin based and is safe to use on babies. With 20% Picaridin, it promises up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitoes and up to eight hours against other bugs like gnats and biting flies.
However, in most cases, eight hours is the maximum a repellent would last against any insect so the 12-hour claim may not prove true under most circumstances.
It comes in both a spray form and a lotion dispenser form. It has a slight citrus smell which evaporates upon drying. This repellent offers almost guaranteed protection, leaves no residue and is not greasy on the skin.
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Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin
This repellent has 20% DEET concentration and is very effective against mosquitoes and ticks.
It has a special mechanism whereby DEET is enclosed in a protein and is released slowly over time. Slow release prevents DEET from evaporating from the skin as fast.
Delayed evaporation means it can work at repelling bugs for longer (claims up to 11 hours). This also means that it does not need to be reapplied often.
These characteristics make it especially suitable for children as it means using less product on them. It is also odorless. However, since it’s a lotion, its consistency can make it feel a little greasy on the skin.
Sawyer Products Premium Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion
This repellent is baby-safe and offers up to 6 hours of protection. It comes in an easy to use a spray bottle.
It is DEET free and contains the extract of Lemon Eucalyptus so if you have any concerns about using DEET on your baby, this might be a good option. This product does not leave a sticky or greasy residue. However, it has a strong smell stemming from the lemon eucalyptus extract. If strong scents are bothersome for your child then this might not be a suitable repellent for you.
Otherwise, it is a more natural option which is almost as effective DEET or picaridin.
Coleman DEET Free Lemon Eucalyptus, Naturally-based Insect Repellent
We thought it would be appropriate to include at least one all-natural option, in case your philosophy is to avoid using any chemicals on your baby.
BugMace is formulated from natural organic essential oils including Lemongrass, Citronella, Soybean, Geranium, Rosemary, Clove, and Thyme oils.It does not contain any additives and is also gluten and paraben free. It has a lemon-vanilla scent which can be quite pleasant. It is completely organic and claims up to 7 hours of protection. It is also not greasy and dries instantaneously.
Before using this, however, please make sure your child is not allergic to any of the aforementioned oils. The downside is that the efficacy and guarantee of BugMace, despite its claims, is not the same as DEET or picaridin based repellents and in areas with high bug populations, it may not offer any protection at all. Hence, it may not be the most reliable repellent for your child.
BugMace All Natural Mosquito & Insect Repellent
Products currently unavailable on Amazon (B01F9IHZUU)
Protecting babies against insect bites while maintaining the integrity of their sensitive skin is important.
Personal preferences are to be taken into account too for example, in case of reservations against using DEET or Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is a more natural alternative that is almost as effective. There are also all natural options that do not last as long but can be effective for shorter periods of time.
When out on a nice day, nobody wants their little tots to be covered in angry welts from bug bites. They are itchy, uncomfortable and can transmit several dangerous diseases.
Why you need repellents:
Little babies are unsuspecting targets for swarms of bugs out in the open. At best, their bites cause discomfort. At worst, they can cause serious illnesses like malaria, dengue fever, West Nile disease, and Zika fever.
That is because insects, especially mosquitoes, are known carriers of pathogens that cause these diseases. Hence, extra care should be taken to prevent these bites.
Loose fitted clothing that covers most of the baby’s skin fixes a whole lot of the problem but some areas remain inevitably exposed. This is where repellents come in.
Are Repellents Safe for Babies?
First off, repellents can sound a little too “chemical” and dangerous but it should be noted that they are not pesticides. They do not kill insects. They keep them away by masking human scents that attract them.
That said, baby skin is thinner than adult skin. It absorbs chemicals more readily so caution has to be practiced before putting anything on it. Although insect repellents are considered safe for babies that are 2 months or older, it doesn’t hurt to know about the active ingredients in there.
DEET is one of the repelling agents used in a lot of insect repellents. Research has revealed that while a small fraction of people can experience adverse reactions to DEET when used as prescribed, it is harmless for the majority of the people, is effective and can provide prolonged protection.
Further Resources: Natural Bug repellent for babies ( Product mention int this article are natural and can provide good protection for few hours and even entire night)
However, it has an odor and can leave an oily feeling on the baby’s skin.
Another widespread repelling agent is the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommended Picaridin. It is as effective as DEET but has no smell and feels less oily.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also CDC approved and has an agent called PMD in it. Though less effective than DEET or Picaridin, it is still good at driving away bugs and is safe to use.
Concentrations of active ingredients can vary in repellents. Higher concentrations do not make the repellent more effective at driving away insects but do make the effect last longer. Most repellents use either DEET in concentrations ranging from 10% to 30% or Picaridin in up to 20% concentration.
These are the advised concentrations for each chemical and can protect against bug bites for up to eight hours. While choosing a repellent for your baby, please note that it is neither recommended nor effective to go beyond these ranges.
It is also important to make sure there are no other additives that could be irritants for the baby for example, perfume or artificial scents.
As you go through the plethora of options available, it is important to remember that the repellent you pick should have no more than the advised concentration of active ingredients, should not contain any potential irritants and ideally, should not double up as a sunscreen.
In addition, extent of exposure to bugs is an important factor to take into account. In general, Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin is a good, foolproof pick. It is odor and residue free, and highly effective while being safe for your baby.
If you have any discussion, drop in comments below.