Before kids venture out into the great outdoors, many moms opt to spray their kids with an insect repellent. While the spray is a great option for preventing pesky bug bites, parents should be careful when applying it, as not all sprays are appropriate for children. Before you douse your kids in this chemical, carefully explore whether the spray you keep on hand is kid-safe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages parents to consider the dangers posed by mosquito bites when deciding whether to cover their kids in mosquito repellent. Sometimes, a seemingly simple mosquito bite can turn into anything but as they expose your child to potentially serious illnesses, such as the West Nile Virus.
What to Avoid
There is a list of ingredients to avoid as you select a child-friendly mosquito repellent. Never use a repellent with more than a 30 percent DEET concentration for children. Also, do not use any repellents containing oil of lemon or eucalyptus on children under 3, as these ingredients have not be tested in this age group.
The Environmental Protection Agency requires manufacturers to list recommended age ranges on their mosquito repellents if the repellent poses a risk to children. Look for these age range recommendations when you make your selection. If no age range is listed, and the repellent fits within the DEET guidelines, the product should be safe for use on your child.
Seek Professional Advice
Because of the potentially serious consequences of using the wrong repellent on young children, the CDC recommends that any parents concerned about repellent appropriateness consult a health care professional. You can do this by taking your selected repellent in to your child’s doctor. If you need a more immediate decision in regards to your repellent, contact the National Pesticide Information Center at 800-858-7378.
Other Ways to Stay Bite-Free
If you are hesitant to use repellent on your child, consider alternative ways to protect him. Cut down on bites by keeping your child indoors after dusk, as this is when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. Also, keep him away from standing water, as stagnant water is a havens for mosquitoes. You can also keep mosquitoes away using non-repellent options, such as citronella candles.