Insect Repellents for children

As we approach the summer the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and insects are out! Parents take extra precautions to protect little ones for bites and stings, but are repellents are as effective as we first thought?

Although repellents are effective in preventing bites by mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers and biting flies, they have virtually no effect on stinging insects such as bees, hornets and wasps.

There are a number of different methods that parents could try before purchasing insect repellents, take a look at some advice put together by Eco-Healthy Child Care® ,  a national program of the Children’s Environmental Health Network.


Try non-chemical methods

  • Dress children in light weight clothing that covers their skin, such as long pants and long sleeves while outdoors.
  • Use mosquito netting over infant carriers.
  • Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as rubbish bins, stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.
  • Avoid clothing with bright colours or flowery prints, because they seem to attract insects.
  • Don’t use scented soaps, perfumes, or sprays on your child, because they also are inviting to insects.
  • Get rid of containers with standing water to reduce the mosquito population.

When using repellents:

  • Do not use a product that combines sunscreen and repellent. The general recommendation is to apply sunscreen first, followed by repellent.
  • Do not allow children to handle repellents; apply the product to your own hands and then put it on the child.
  • Do not apply to children’s hands.
  • After returning indoors, wash your child’s treated skin and clothes with soap and water or bathe them.
  • Read and follow the instructions on the label!
  • Always store insect repellents safely out of the reach of children.
  • Avoid all types of aerosol sprays. Aerosols increase the amount of repellent inhaled, therefore stick to lotions or apply spray repellent in well ventilated area(ie. outside)


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