Jul 18 , 2020
Bug bites bother both the young and the old all over the world. Though some mosquito bites aren’t really that harmful, bug bites from certain mosquito species can bring about deadly diseases like dengue and malaria.
Babies are very vulnerable to nasty bug bites as they aren’t capable of squishing tiny bugs or waving a mosquito killer around. Sometimes, mosquitoes may even infiltrate your home through overflowing trash cans, cracks in the window, or plants in the backyard. Super mommies and daddies don’t need to fret about losing the war against bugs, though. There are plenty of safe and effective ways to keep your baby safe from mosquito bites.
Is Insect Repellent Safe for Babies?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend insect repellent for kids younger than 2 months. Considering that a newborn’s skin is still fragile and unexposed to most things, it’s safe to say that the ingredients in insect repellent may not be safe for the skin and overall health of a very young baby.
Although insect repellents can be used for kids older than two months, the AAP still recommends that they be used with plenty of caution.
First and foremost, insect repellents shouldn’t be applied on wounds, cuts, irritated skin, or directly in the face. Instead, parents should apply insect repellent on the outer portion of their children’s clothing and on exposed skin. When applying insect repellent to a child’s skin, it’s best to spray or pour a little of it on your own hands first before rubbing it on your little one.
When using bug spray it’s vital to only spray in open, well-ventilated areas. Otherwise, you and your family could end up breathing harmful chemicals from the spray.
If your child has been wearing insect repellent all day it’s important to give them a warm bath with soap and a change of clothes before bedtime. This is to ensure that traces of insect repellent don’t linger on your child’s skin or their clothes.
More DEET doesn’t always mean more protection. Using insect repellents with more than 30% DEET may actually be harmful to your child as the chemicals can be toxic for their skin and overall health. Furthermore, most studies have proven that insect repellents with more than 30% DEET aren’t really more effective than repellents with lesser amounts of DEET. In the end, it’s much better to stick to insect repellents with safer DEET concentrations (i.e. not more than 30%).
Products that combine sunscreen with DEET aren’t safe to use, either. These products can actually be quite harmful to your child’s delicate skin and health as you could end up increasing your child’s exposure to DEET every time you reapply his sunscreen.
Finally, you should always follow the label and instructions when applying insect repellent. Some repellents may only need to be applied on clothing, while others might come with special precautions. In the end insect repellent, like any other modern invention, should be used with only the utmost care.
Safer Alternatives to Insect Repellent
Although insect repellent is a safe tool to use for older babies and toddlers, you or your fellow parents might feel nervous about handling it safely. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-chemical alternatives families can use to protect their kids during the spring, rainy season, or any other time of the year. Here are some safer alternatives to insect repellent you and your family might want to consider.
1. Mosquito Nets and Screens
In tropical countries where mosquitoes run amuck, such as The Philippines, mosquito nets are a safer and more inexpensive way for families to keep their babies safe from harmful bug bites. Since these safe mosquito shields don’t rely on any special chemicals to keep little kids safe, they’re 100% safe to hang above your baby’s crib or playpen all through the morning and night. You can also hang mosquito nets over your baby’s stroller or carrier if you need to give him extra protection on the go.
Mosquito screens are another safe tool to use when keeping bugs away from your home. While mosquito nets are usually meant to be used like curtains, mosquito screens are typically installed over doors and windows in order to keep bugs out. There are tons of options that you can use for your home. Some mesh or nylon screens are designed to be removable and washable, while others will only need to be installed where they’re needed.
2. Safe and Protective Clothing
Your baby won’t need to wear a tiny hazmat suit when mosquitoes start buzzing outside since his or her normal clothes already provide great protection.
If you think mosquitoes are going to be running amuck due to rainy weather or pollution, one of the best things you can do to protect your baby is to dress him up in clothes that will protect his skin from nasty bites. The best clothes to choose are comfortable long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as socks and shoes that cover his toes. Onesies and bodysuits are also great to use since they can protect a baby’s exposed skin from sneaky bugs and mosquitoes.
Of course, you’ll need to keep comfort in mind when choosing clothes for your baby. It’s best to stick to cotton and to choose clothes that allow plenty of healthy air circulation. Avoid using clothes that fit too tightly on the skin as they can cause discomfort and do a poor job of protecting your baby from bug bites. It’s also best to stick to clothes made of cotton and other comfortable fabric.
The color of your baby’s outfit may matter more than you think. Dark colors tend to attract bugs and mosquitoes, so stick to light and neutral colors instead. Floral prints are also a huge no-no since they can attract mosquitoes.
3. Getting Rid of Strong Smells
You might need to lay off the scented lotions and perfumes during mosquito season. Mosquitoes tend to be attracted to strong floral smells, so it’s much better to keep your home as natural smelling and as fragrance-free as possible. You can try using scented candles, essential oils, or diffusers to get rid of strong smells around your home. Instead of using flowery and fruity scents, try using scents like lavender or lemongrass. These are more likely to keep mosquitoes away and infuse your home with a mild, pleasant fragrance.
4. Using Mosquito Killers
Mosquito killer rackets, zapper lamps, and traps can do a great job of eliminating pesky mosquitoes in and out of your home. Traps and zappers emit strong lights to attract and kill mosquitoes in any room or backyard, so they’re definitely a must-have if you live in mosquito-prone areas.
Although these devices are meant to be chemical-free, they can hurt and shock curious babies. When setting up traps and zappers around your home, be sure to keep them high up in areas where babies can’t reach.