What Is A Safe Insect Repellent To Use With My Toddler?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend insect repellent that contains DEET for toddlers. Any child two months and older can safely use DEET insect repellent. Picaridin is also recommended and many parents may prefer this ingredient because it works very similar to DEET, but it is not as irritating, is less greasy, and has no smell!

Parents of toddlers should keep in mind that insect repellents with a lower concentration of DEET or Picaridin are not less effective than stronger concentrations. They just work for shorter periods of time. So, don’t feel uncomfortable buying a 7% concentration of DEET because it will work for a couple hours. It is actually recommended to use the lowest concentration possible for the amount of time you will be outdoors. Try to use only insect repellent that does not exceed 30% DEET.
You don’t want to put either DEET or picaridin on your toddler more than one time per day because they are not water soluble. Because of this you don’t want to apply a sunscreen/insect repellent combo to your child. Sunscreen should be applied on a regular basis and the bug repellent shouldn’t. Keep that in mind when you are shopping for repellent.

Applying Repellent

When you apply the repellent make sure you spray it only on exposed skin and use sparingly. Do not apply to skin that is covered by clothing. Avoid your toddler’s eyes and mouth and don’t apply near any cuts. You should not apply repellent to toddler’s hands either because this will probably end up in their mouth! Never let your toddler play with the bottle of repellent and always wash your child’s clothes after they have worn repellent. Always keep repellent stored in places where your toddler cannot reach and never use near food or in enclosed areas. If irritation or rash occurs it is important to call your child’s doctor.

There are natural insect repellents, but just because they are natural does not mean they are safe for toddlers. Do a little research to make sure they are okay. Always read labels to ensure your toddler is using the safest and best insect repellent for them. You can help your toddler avoid stings and insect bites by dressing him in light colored clothes and covering as much of the skin as you can. Avoid scented lotion or soaps that might attract insects.


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