An insect repellent can be a chemical or herbal product that is applied or sprayed on the skin and clothing, or an electronic appliance that uses odor, sound or electromagnetic waves to keep away insects. When used on babies or children, insect repellent toxicity is an important factor to consider. Follow some of the below tips to make insect repellent use safe for babies and infants.
Tip 1: Avoid Use on Babies Under 2 Months of Age
The use of insect repellents is not recommended on babies under 2 months of age. The best infant insect repellent is to avoid exposure to bugs or insects. Dress the baby in light-colored, long-sleeved clothes, a hat, and socks. Lay the baby in a stroller covered securely with a good quality mosquito netting. Do not apply scented products on yourself or the baby.
Tip 2: Apply on Clothes
A great technique to keep insects away while minimizing exposure to the baby is to apply a safe insect repellent on the clothes. Keep the insect repellent away from the sleeves, bib and collar. These are areas that the baby is most likely to put in his mouth.
Tip 3: Check the Concentration of Active Ingredients
For babies older than 6 months, you can apply an insect repellent containing 10 percent DEET or less, not more than once a day. It is not advisable to use products containing DEET on babies less than 6 months of age, as they are more prone to adverse reactions such as allergies.
Tip 4: Apply on Exposed Skin of Older Babies
For babies between 6 months and 2 years of age, it is safe to apply insect repellent on exposed skin. Do not apply repellent on the hands or face of a baby, or under clothes. Keep the container a safe distance away when you are applying the repellent on the baby. Always apply repellent on your palms first, and then apply gently on baby. Never rub the repellent in too deeply. Avoid using repellent sprays near babies. Monitor your baby for any signs of a rash the first time you use an insect repellent. In such cases, wash the repellent off immediately and get medical attention.
Tip 5: Repel Insects from the Surrounding Area
A safe way to keep babies safe from insect bites is to apply insect repellent on the stroller, the covering mosquito net, the camping tent, and screens on windows and doors. Keep babies away from these areas, to make sure they do not inhale too much of the fumes.
Tip 6: Avoid Sensitive Areas
Never apply insect repellent on injuries or cuts. If the baby has sunburn, minimize outdoor activity, and avoid insect repellents. As soon as the baby is indoors, wash off the repellent, change his clothing, and wash it thoroughly.
Tip 7: Try a Few Alternatives
Essential oils such as citronella and neem are considered safe, but they are too strong for application on a baby’s delicate skin. An insect repellent that is widely recommended for babies is Avon’s Skin-So-Soft, which is safe for use on babies over 6 months, and is quite effective.