Insect Repellent for Babies

image001 Summertime brings about harmful hordes of mosquitoes and other insects. During these times, it would be normal for you to feel quite insecure about your baby’s safety. However, you do not need to worry. If you use it carefully, bug repellent is a great way to provide protection and relief for your baby.

It may be intimidating at first to choose the right kind of repellent to use as well as the right time to begin using it. This piece will help you understand when to use insect repellent for babies style= and what types you can use.

When Can I Use Insect Repellent for Babies?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declares that infants can start using insect repellents in as early as two months after their birth. For your baby, look for repellents that contain picaridin, DEET or IR3535. These work best to protect your baby from diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, which can be carried by insects. Lemon eucalyptus repellents are not yet advisable for babies that are very young, but can be very effective for children aged above three years.

What Types of Insect Repellent for Babies Work Well?

1. What Works

Unfortunately, it is not advisable for you to apply insect repellent on your baby if he/she is less than two months old. Instead, you can make up for this by protecting him/her with insect netting to keep the bugs away. If your baby has surpassed the two-month mark, it is completely safe to use many types of repellents available in the market. These can come in aerosol, spray, liquid, cream or stick form. The following are the general categories for insect repellent formulation:

Types of Formulation


Repellents with DEET

The best defense from insects comes from repellent formulas that contain a chemical called DEET. Ten percent DEET can bring approximately two hours’ worth of protection before you have to reapply repellent, while 24% can ward off insects for five hours. However, it is not a good idea for you to choose a repellent that contains over 30% of the chemical, as too much can be harmful to children of any age.

Repellents with plant essential oils

Citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, and soybean extracts are also effective agents that fend off bites from bugs and insects. However, they can only provide protection for less than two hours at a time and must constantly be reapplied to remain effective.

Repellents containing permethrin

This potent chemical is a great protective agent against Lyme disease and other such conditions because of its ability to kill ticks and fleas upon contact. In spite of this, it has no effect on insects that fly and bite. Permethrin can only be applied to clothing and other fabrics, and its potency can withstand several washings.

Repellents containing picaridin

Apart from lasting as long as a 10% concentration of DEET repellent, picaridin also has no color or smell and feels light on the skin.

2. What Does Not Work

  • Bug zappers
  • Pills that contain garlic and vitamin B1
  • Devices that emit ultrasonic sound waves to chase away pests
  • Chemical insect repellents applied onto wristbands. These only cause skin irritations and do nothing to keep insects away.

More Safety Tips on Using Insect Repellent for Babies

  • Never spray repellents near food or beverages, and only apply them in open air to avoid inhalation by your baby.
  • Regardless of the concentration of DEET in a product, it is not advisable for you to apply it on your baby more than once a day.
  • Give your baby a thorough wash with soap and water once he/she is indoors. Once he/she is safe from harmful insects, it is best to rid his/her skin of any unnecessary products. The same goes for his/her clothes.
  • Rub repellent on your own hands first and then to your baby’s to avoid over-application onto his/her skin. Only use the product on his/her exposed skin and never apply it on hands, near the mouth and eyes, or on wounds, infections, and irritations.
  • Avoid dual-purpose products that contain both insect repellents and sunscreen. The former weakens the effects of the latter, making it necessary to reapply the product constantly. However, because repellents should only be used sparingly, the excess product will build up and cause overexposure to the chemicals in it.

How to Avoid Insect Bites Without Insect Repellents

Aside from using insect repellent for babies, there are other measures you can take to protect your baby from insect bites and diseases. Some of these are listed down below:

  • Cover your baby’s stroller with a bug screen or net.
  • Avoid using scented soaps and other sweet-smelling products that may attract bugs to your baby.
  • Insects are most active in the evening and early morning. Do not take your baby outdoors during these times to steer your baby away from harm.
  • Dress your baby in loose, long-sleeved clothing to protect his/her skin. During the warmer seasons, make sure these are thin to make the heat more bearable while still providing him/her with ample protection. Avoid bright colors that may draw pests toward him/her. Let him/her wear socks and shoes instead of sandals to protect his/her feet.

Want to know how to deal with babies’ insect bites? Check out the video below: