Keep bugs away from your little one (and yourself) safely

Despite the medical community’s acceptance of DEET (the most common chemical used in insect repellents, developed for military use in highly infested areas), the American Academy of Pediatrics has also accepted the effectiveness of DEET alternatives . When given the choice, I would definitely prefer to cover my child (and myself) with the less toxic alternatives.

Of all of the bug repellents that I have tried, my favorite, by far, is California Baby’s Bug Repellent Spray natural bug blend .It’s active ingredients are the bio-pesticides lemon eucalyptus and citronella–and it has a lemony fresh smell (something like a clean kitchen floor!)  I do recommend spraying it on your fingers and rubbing it on your child instead of spraying directly so that you are less likely to get any in anybody’s eyes (they also have a lotion, but I prefer the complete non-greasiness of the spray). Though there are products available that combine bug repellent and sun screen, the AAP recommends using separate products so that you do not slather yourself with repellent each time you need to apply more sunscreen.

My husband, my two year old and I have all used this bug spray this and last summer…and have had many fewer painful bites to show for it!

AAP and EPA guidelines for using all insect repellents (including traditional repellents as well as bio-pesticides):

  • Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not use repellents under clothing.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays, do not spray directly on face — spray on hands first and then apply to face.
  • Do not allow children to handle the product. When using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child. Do not apply to children’s hands.
  • Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy application and saturation generally are unnecessary for effectiveness.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days. Also, wash treated clothing before wearing it again. (This precaution may vary with different repellents — check the product label.)
  • If a child develops a rash or other apparent allergic reaction from an insect repellent, stop using the repellent, wash it off with mild soap and water and call a local poison control center for further guidance.