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Summer Tips on Bug Repellents

By Katherine E. Penny, D.O.

Summer Tips on Bug Repellents image

Insects, especially mosquitoes, commonly bite children and can make them miserable. There are many safe and effective insect repellents that you can use to protect your child.

​Protect Yourself from Insect Bites

  • Do not use scented soaps, perfumes or hairsprays on your child before going outdoors.
  • Children should wear clothing with long pants and long sleeves when insect exposure is prevalent, especially in wooded areas.
  • Reduce the number of mosquitoes in an area by disposing of containers with standing water which provide breeding places for mosquitoes.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of DEET products with a concentration of 5-10% on children older than 2 months. Repellents with DEET should not be used on children under 2 months old.
  • When using insect repellent on a child, apply it to your own hands and then rub the product onto your child’s exposed skin. Avoid children’s hands, eyes, mouth, and open wounds, and use it sparingly around their ears.
  • The AAP recommends washing the repellent off of the skin after returning indoors.
  • Do not apply repellent under clothing, and if it is applied to clothing, wash treated clothing before wearing again. Bathe children before bed if repellent has been used during the day.
  • There are many different types of bug repellent. A few examples include:
    • OFF! Skintastic (5-10% DEET, provides 4 hour coverage).
    • DEET-free products include natural oils, such as citronella, patchouli, clove, and makaen (provide 2-4 hour coverage)
    • Other DEET-free products include: Avon’s Skin So Soft, Bug-Away, Off-Botanicals, California Baby, and Bite Blocker (made from soybean oil)

We hope these tips will help you to protect your children as well as help them to develop safe sun habits that will last a lifetime. Have a very enjoyable and safe summer!