Bug Repellent and Babies
Gina DiRenzo-Coffey, M.D.
Boys Town Pediatrics
We do worry about any chemical that you're going to put on a baby's skin. Number one, they can be irritating to the skin but also there is some absorption that can occur.
Bug repellant is safe and necessary for your baby. It is not recommended to use under two months of age but beyond two months it's safe, if used correctly and washed off after applied.
Probably the safest is to put it on your hands and then rub it on them because when you spray it, you run the risk of them inhaling it. I recommend applying it to the top of the head, back of the head, arms and legs and trunk. Not the hands and not the face because we don't want it to end up in their mouth.
Most of the commercially available DEET products are 10 to 30%. The higher the percentage, the longer they last.
So if you're going to be out longer than an hour or two you probably need to find something between 24 and 30% DEET.
How do I protect my baby younger than two months old?
If you're a family that likes to go for walks in the evening when the mosquitos are bad, what I recommend is buying a bug net that fits over their stroller, and spraying the DEET product on the net and putting it over the stroller.