Almost all the time, a mosquito bite is just a small nuisance that swells up, itches a little, then dissipates, and is easily forgotten.

Unless, of course, the mosquito is carrying a potentially lethal virus. While not every mosquito transmits every disease, a single bite from the right mosquito at the right moment can infect you.

So the best defense is prevention!

Because, by reducing feeding rates just a little, you dramatically minimize the risk of disease transmission.

Mosquito prevention for kids 

1. Source reduction

A comprehensive survey of the potential battlefield, your yard, is the first step toward effective mosquito control. Check for and clearing any standing water anywhere, both obvious and not-so-obvious.

It can breed mosquitoes if they can hold water for more than a few days, and female mosquitoes can drop their eggs in as little as an inch of water. A single mosquito may lay 1,200 eggs, and a five-gallon bucket of water can breed enough mosquitos to infest an entire city block in a residential area.

  • Toys – Rain will fill teacup sets, toy trucks, and even Frisbees left on the lawn. The same goes for old-fashioned tire swings that gather stagnant rainfall, as well as any old tire left lying around the yard. Ensure that the children clean up after themselves and dispose of the tires.
  • Tarps – Whether stretched over a stack of firewood or a boat, any type of plastic or nylon cover will ultimately droop and produce pockets where water can accumulate. Tighten them where possible and inspect them often.
  • Yard equipment – An empty flower pot, an upright wheelbarrow, or even an abandoned shovel can store water long enough for mosquito larvae to develop. Store equipment indoors or turn it over to allow rain to run off.
  • Birdbaths and wading pools — During warm weather, take a hose to the birdbath at least once a week to keep the water from stagnating. When the kids aren’t using the pool, flip it over and place it against a wall. If you have a swimming pool, make sure it is cleaned and serviced regularly.
  • Puddles – You may have low areas in your yard where water collects and drains slowly. Mosquitoes will breed during the hotter months if the water remains stagnant for longer than a week. To keep the water away, fill in the holes, construct drainage pipes, or modify the landscaping.
  • Rain gutters –  When your home’s gutters become blocked with debris, water can back up and then become stagnant. Check the gutters regularly, especially if there has been a lot of leaf fall. Keep the yard raked as well. Overturned leaves collect water and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

And, because mosquitoes prefer to rest in warm, wet vegetation during the day, maintain the grass and bushes manicured, and remove all weeds from the flower beds regularly.

2. Personal protection

When you go outside, try to cover as much of your skin as possible, avoid wearing bright colors that may attract mosquitoes, and apply an efficient insect repellent.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States recommends using products demonstrated to work in scientific trials and contain active components registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)

A few years ago, the only repellents that were recommended were those containing DEET. Nowadays, there is a choice between the most effective repellents and those recommended by the CDC, each of which contains one of the EPA-registered active ingredients:

  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or OLE (p-menthane 3,8-diol)
  • Picaridin (KBR3023) 
  • DEET (N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide)

Our best mosquito repellent for babies and kids

3. Trap: Border patrol

Do not put mosquito traps near other people because this attracts mosquitos to their target. Mosquito traps work best when placed around the perimeter of a yard, luring mosquitos away from human activities. Position upwind, in a shady area (mosquitoes avoid the sun), between the mosquito source and where people congregate, such as decks and patios.

Mosquitoes enjoy feeding on humans, and choosing their next meal is rather easy for these high-tech hunters. They have compound eyes capable of detecting the smallest motions and receptors so sensitive that they can sense the smell of CO2 in a person’s breath from 400 meters away.

While best mosquito traps will not eliminate your mosquito problem, they will play an important role in making your backyard a safer, more pleasurable location to spend the summer.

How to apply insect repellent to your child

dad and son use mosquito spray.Spraying insect repellent on skin outdoor.

Do:

  • Go for products that come in the form of lotions, sticks, or unpressurized sprays.
  • Read the label and follow all instructions and precautions.
  • Insect repellents should only be used outside your child’s clothing and on exposed skin, not undergarments.
  • Use only enough repellent to cover your child’s exposed skin and clothing. Using extra repellant does not make it more effective. DEET-based repellents should only be used once per day.
  • To avoid breathing them in, use spray repellents in open locations.
  • Assist with the application of bug repellent to small children. When using these products, keep older children under your supervision.
  • When your children return indoors, wash their skin with soap and water to remove any repellent, and wash their clothing before wearing it again.
  • To avoid the risk of unintended ingesting, keep repellents out of reach of small children.

Don’t:

  • Avoid using sprays in pressurized containers to avoid breathing in the product or getting it in your eyes.
  • Never use insect repellent on children under the age of two months. Instead, when your infant may be exposed to insects, use mosquito netting over baby carriers or strollers.
  • Avoid applying repellant to children’s hands; children habit putting their hands in their mouths and eyes.
  • Avoid repellant candles, which can cause breathing difficulties if the fumes are inhaled.
  • Insect repellent should never be sprayed directly into your child’s face. Instead, spray a small amount on your hands first, then rub it on your child’s face. Avoid touching your eyes or lips.
  • Insect repellent should not be sprayed on wounds, cuts, or irritated skin.
  • Avoid using products that mix DEET and sunscreen. These products may expose your child to too much DEET since the sunscreen must be reapplied frequently—every 2 hours in the sun and after swimming or sweating. 

Natural insect repellents 

Close up view of woman hand holding and using homemade essential oil based mosquito repellent outdoors in forest.

Citronella, peppermint, geranium, and soybean oil are examples of “natural” insect repellent ingredients. These are regarded safe, but the EPA has not authorized their effectiveness. Most of these are only effective for a limited period. Furthermore, some natural repellents can irritate the skin.

Wristbands drenched in chemical repellents, and ultrasonic gadgets that emit sound waves meant to keep insects away are two other products that have not been demonstrated to be helpful against mosquitoes.

Natural and other alternative repellents may be effective if a major insect-borne sickness is not a worry. If there is a health risk, such as Lyme disease in a tick-infested area, DEET, picaridin, or another approved potent product should be used. 

Even though they are not supposed to last as long, some parents prefer the concept of using a DEET-free natural insect repellent. Essential oils and natural mosquito repellents as natural insect repellents have been sold as less hazardous to children and the environment.

The issue with many natural repellents is that they have not been studied as thoroughly as products such as DEET and picaridin. Those natural compounds that have been investigated are not as efficient (or last for only a short time).

Parents must frequently weigh the risks and benefits of these products against the possibility of receiving bites, which can cause discomfort and, in some cases, sickness. Malaria is an extreme example of a natural product’s negative impact.

In areas where malaria (which kills over 600,000 people each year) is prevalent, the benefits of utilizing a substance like DEET or picaridin would significantly outweigh any concerns associated with these compounds.

If you’re worried about your youngster getting bitten, try an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or biopesticide repellents like IR3535 or OLE. 

What if my child develops an allergic response to bug repellent?

  • If you feel your kid has an allergic response to an insect repellent, such as a rash, discontinue use and wash your child’s skin with soap and water.
  • Then, contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or your child’s doctor for assistance.
  • Take the repellant container with you to your child’s doctor’s appointment.

Other ways to keep your child safe from insect bites

While it is impossible to avoid all insect bites, you can limit the number of bites your kid receives by following these guidelines:

  • With your youngster, avoid sites that attract flying insects, like stagnant pools of water, garbage cans, and flowerbeds or orchards.
  • When you know your child may be exposed to insects, dress them in long pants, a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, socks, and closed shoes. A hat with a wide brim might help keep insects away from your face.
  • Bright colors and flowery prints seem to attract insects, so avoid dressing your youngster in them.
  • Scented soaps, perfumes, and hair sprays should not be used on your child since they may attract insects.
  • In outdoor dining areas, use mosquito netting and fans.
  • Maintain the condition of your door and window screens. Remove any standing water outside where mosquitoes can grow.
  • If you reside in a tick-infested area and your child has been playing outside, check their skin at the end of the day. Ticks should be removed safely.
  • Remember that permethrin is the most effective tick repellent. It should not be applied to your child’s skin but rather to their clothing. Permethrin can also treat outdoor equipment like tents or sleeping bags.

Who ensures the safety of insect repellents?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for the regulation of insect repellents.

Can I apply bug repellant and sunscreen simultaneously?

Yes, but avoid ones that contain both insect repellent and sunscreen. Sunscreen often requires more frequent reapplication than repellent. If both repellent and sunscreen are required, apply the sunscreen first. Wait 20 minutes before applying insect repellant.

Or get Avon SKIN-SO-SOFT that includes both repellant and sunscreen

Is mosquito repellent necessary for babies?

While some may argue that people have thrived for years without mosquito repellant, it can be a pivotal factor in protecting your baby.

Mosquito bites can be uncomfortable for babies, and they can swell much more than adult bites. As a result, some babies may experience considerable swelling and even bruises on the bitten site.

Bigger reactions to mosquito bites in babies might manifest as:

  • Bruising
  • Large swollen area
  • Hives
  • Low fever
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes

Furthermore, some children may develop allergic reactions to mosquito bites.

However, those aren’t the only threats. Babies may sometimes scratch the bite excessively, resulting in a skin infection requiring medical attention.

Mosquitoes, as we all know, transmit a variety of diseases. These disorders can be fatal to infants. In the United States, mosquito-borne infections include West Nile virus and encephalitis viruses.

Is it safe to use mosquito repellent on babies?

There is no such thing as a risk-free product, and insect repellents are no exception.

While it is not a common occurrence and is highly rare, given the number of individuals who use repellents, there have been reports of significant negative effects from mosquito repellents, including:

  • Encephalopathy
  • Behavioral changes
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Coma
  • Insomnia

However, none of these adverse effects are expected to occur in your child. Mosquito-borne infections can produce a variety of symptoms in children.

Although West Nile virus typically produces modest symptoms in children, like fever, tiredness, and muscle pains, it can occasionally cause severe illness. Those with a major medical condition or a weaker immune system are more likely to experience severe symptoms such as meningitis, encephalitis, and even paralysis.

If you’re worried about putting creams, lotions, or sprays on your baby’s skin, you might want to look into electronic mosquito repellents that employ high-pitched noises to scare the skeeters away. Just be aware that their efficacy is questionable. Clip-on, bracelets, and sticker repellents are some other options.

When should I start using mosquito repellents?

The timing of when you can apply repellents to your infant depends on the components in the formula. You should also take note that some ingredients are more effective than others.

When your baby reaches the age of two months, the following active ingredients may be used on them:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • IR3535

However, not all insect repellents are suitable to apply to your baby at that time. Avoid those containing lemon eucalyptus oil until your youngster is at least three years old.

When it is safe to use DEET on babies is a bit debatable. While the American Academy of Pediatrics says DEET can be used as early as 2 months old, other sites believe 6 months is a better bet.

Bear in mind

Although DEET is available in doses ranging from 5% to 100% in insect repellents, you should not use more than 10% DEET on children under the age of two, and you should only use it once a day.

When youngsters are 2 to 12 years old, you should still apply no more than 10% DEET, but you can increase the frequency three times each day.

After a youngster reaches the age of 12, they can use products containing up to 30% DEET.

Insect repellents: How long do they last?

In general, the greatest insect repellent will protect your youngster from biting insects and ticks. And how long your youngster will be outside usually determined this.

For example, an insect repellent containing 4.75 percent DEET will keep your youngster safe for around an hour and a half. A higher dose of DEET in an insect repellent will provide better protection.

  • 23.8% DEET provides about five hours of protection2
  • 20% DEET provides about four hours of protection2
  • 15% Picaridin provides about six to eight hours of protection
  • 7% Picaridin provides about three to four hours of protection
  • 6.65% DEET provides about two hours of protection2
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus provides about two to five hours of protection

Insect repellents containing other natural ingredients typically offer less protection. Citronella oil, for example, often provides 20 to 30 minutes of protection.

Last update on 2022-04-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API