Protecting Your Child From Bug Bites

Protecting Your Child From Bug Bites

During the summer and fall, most kids start spending more and more time outdoors. Of course, while most kids don’t have a care in the world when playing outside, many parents will be taking steps to make sure their kids are protected from the elements such as the sun and of course bugs.

Of course, there are plenty of products available to deter bugs, but parents need to make sure that they are taking safe steps to keep their children safe. Unfortunately, not all bug sprays and products are completely safe for children, especially infants. These products can be full of chemicals which can harm young children. This is why we have developed this guide to safely protecting children from bug bites without putting them at risk.

A Guide For Babies Under 2 Months

Bug sprays should not be used on newborns. Not even the DEET-free ones. The best way to keep infants safe from bugs is to keep your baby indoors, dress your baby appropriately by covering their skin when outdoors. You can also use mesh nets over your child’s stroller or carrier when you take them outdoors. Make sure to avoid areas where bugs are most common, such as garbage cans, flower gardens, and standing water.

A Guide For Babies Over 2 Months

Once your child is slightly older and is past the 2-month mark, it is safe to start using repellent sprays and lotions on your child. Make sure you are paying close attention to the products you are considering. Chemical repellents work the best and should contain less than 30% DEET.

Bug sprays work best on mosquitos, but they can also help with biting bugs such as fleas, chiggers, ticks and biting flies. It is important to note that traditional bug sprays and lotions won’t repel stinging bugs like bees or wasps.

Some parents will try all-natural solutions, such as oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). These solutions are not as effective, and they usually last less than 2 hours and must be reapplied. Other solutions made with plant essential oils like soybean, cedar or citronella are also common—but they typically don’t last long and may not be as effective against ticks.

General Advice on Applying Bug Repellents

When it is time to apply bug repellent on your child, whether you are using a spray, cream, stick or oil, here are a few general tips when applying a repellent:

  • Always read the directions first.
  • Apply bug repellent to your hands first and then apply it to your child’s skin, don’t rub it directly on your baby’s skin.
  • Don’t over-apply bug repellent on a child, only use enough to cover the skin that is not covered by clothing.
  • Never apply bug repellent on skin that has a rash, scrape or open wound.
  • Put sunscreen on your baby before bug spray—not the other way around. Don’t use a bug and sunscreen repellent combination.
  • Make sure to avoid your baby’s hands, mouth and eyes when applying. If your child puts their hands in their mouth, make sure to wipe off their hands after application

If you ever have any questions about the safety of a bug repellent, always ask your doctor first. The experts here at Continuum Pediatrics can help make sure that your child is staying safe from bug bites all year long. If you want to schedule an appointment with us to learn more, give our office a call at 817-617-8600. Our doctors can talk to you about proper protection techniques and everything you can do to keep your child safe.