Bug bites are itchy, unsightly and unpleasant. More importantly, bug bites can become infected when scratched, and the bites themselves may transmit serious disease. In New England, mosquitoes are associated with Triple E (Eastern Equine Encephalopathy) and Western Nile disease.
There are simple things you can do to reduce bug bites:
- Remove sources of standing water from your yard where mosquitoes breed, including bird baths, kiddy pools and trays under flower pots.
- Use bug netting on infant seats and strollers when outdoors, especially in the evening when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear light-colored clothing and keep children’s arms and legs covered.
What about bug repellents for infants and toddlers?
If you’re strolling home from dinner downtown, the insect netting on your Vista may be all that’s needed. If you’re planning a family hike in the deep woods or settling in for an outdoor concert all evening, you’ll need to step it up a notch.
If you are concerned about chemical exposure, there are natural essential oils that are designed to repel insects without the use of harmful chemicals. Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Bug Repellent is USDA certified organic personal perfume skillfully crafted to smell pleasant on humans while at the same time repel biting, stinging, scourging insects. Free from drying and dehydrating chemicals, the skin-loving and nongreasy combination of oils condition and soften while providing moisture resistance. 100% DEET free formula lets you, your family and pets live and play in and outdoors in a gentle, safe, non-toxic and organic way.
If you are outdoors in an area where Triple E or West Nile carrying mosquitoes have been detected, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that DEET is the most effective insect repellent. Look for a child formulation of insect repellent containing about 10% DEET which will be effective for about 2 hours. DEET is approved and considered safe by the AAP for use on children over two months old and for pregnant and nursing women. 30% DEET is the maximum concentration recommended for infants and children and may provide protection for 4-5 hours.
Whether using either essential oil repellents or DEET-containing repellents on infants and toddlers, follow these guidelines:
- Do not spray on children’s skin directly: apply to your own hands first and then apply to your child, avoiding the hands, eyes and mouth.
- After returning indoors, wash a DEET-containing repellent off the skin or bathe your child with mild soap and water.
- Choose separate, not combined sunscreen and insect repellents. Sunscreen should be used generously and reapplied often whereas bug spray should be used sparingly. Keep those products separate so you may apply each as needed.
Following these simple suggestions will help your family enjoy summer fun outdoors while limiting unwelcome bites from mosquitoes. Let us know what outdoor products you find most helpful to protect your family from sun, rain, wind or bugs.