Mosquito repellent for babies buying guide
Whether you are out camping, hiking or fishing, or just enjoying a barbeque in the backyard with friends, you just can’t seem to enjoy the warmer weather without being pestered by mosquitoes. These blood-sucking pests are drawn to human skin (and blood), like moths to a flame – apparently, they are hyper-sensitive to the warmth emitted by our bodies, as well as the odor of carbon dioxide and other gases emitted by our skin.
Not only are their bites itchy and irritating, mosquitoes are also the carriers of many dangerous diseases, including Malaria, West Nile River virus, Dengue Fever, Ross River Virus, and the Zika virus – which they pass on to us as they feed on our blood.
Although they have a short lifespan (2-3 weeks long), mosquitoes are known to breed extremely rapidly; the female of the species is capable of laying hundreds of eggs and spawning equally as many offspring, in a very short period of time. All mosquitoes require to reproduce is water (such as that found in ponds, streams, creeks, swimming pools, birdbaths, fish ponds etc), and a source of food (us!).
Mosquito Repellent – for babies
When under attack by hordes of swarming mosquitoes, the solution for most of us goes without saying – simply lather yourself up with mosquito repellent, and you will form a chemical barrier between yourself and the bugs. Insect repellents nowadays come in the form of sprays, lotions, gels, roll-ons – and even shampoos – so there is something out there for just about everyone.
But babies? They too require protection from mosquitoes, but applying a mosquito repellent to your little one requires a great deal of care and caution. Some repellents contain insecticide ingredients that are toxic to children – and potentially even adults. Whereas others are certified as safe for babies and young children. Let’s take a look at which repellent ingredients are baby-safe.
Mosquito repellent formulas – which ingredients are baby-safe
With the right formula and the right set of precaution, mosquito repellents can be made baby-proof (the exception generally speaking is babies younger than 2 months) – which is great news if you like to take your little one out to enjoy the elements during the warmer months.
Generally speaking, insect repellent formulas fall into four separate categories:
- DEET containing repellents: most repellents traditionally have made use of a synthetic chemical known as N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide – or DEET for short – as their best line of defense against insects. Although effective enough at repelling bugs, the problem with DEET is that it is thought by many to be toxic to humans – adults, not only children. And indeed the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend using DEET containing products on children below the age of two months – for products containing 30 percent or more of DEET, these should not be used on children of ANY age. Products with 10 percent DEET (say) may be safe to use on older children.
- Plant-based repellents: some repellents use the essential oils of plants like cedar, citronella, eucalyptus, and soybean to ward off mosquitoes. Although less potent an insecticide than DEET, and not nearly as long-lasting (protection generally doesn’t last more than two hours), plant-based repellents are 100% natural and non-toxic and are generally safe to use on young children. The exception is babies younger than two months of age – because they need to be re-applied so regularly, their use is not recommended here.
- Permethrin-containing repellents: permethrin is another potent insecticide, this substance is a synthetic chemical whose structure resembles a naturally occurring insecticide found in the chrysanthemum flower. Although synthetic, it is mostly non-toxic. However, it doesn’t provide much protection against mosquitoes (only ticks, lice etc), and can be applied only to clothing – not bare skin.
- Picaridin-containing repellents: picaridin is one of the newer insect repellent ingredients in town; it’s said to be as powerful and long-lasting as 10 percent DEET formulas. It is also odorless and color free and feels light when applied tot he skin. Though a promising candidate for a baby mosquito repellent, the American Academy of Pediatrics has so far held back from giving it the seal of approval.
Tips for using baby mosquito repellents
Never apply repellent on or around your child’s mouth or eyes, or on areas of cut, irritated or infected skin; don’t spray directly into his or her face.