How to choose an insect repellent for babies and kids

You’ll want to ensure your family is protected against pesky insect bites both at home and abroad. It is also essential to protect babies if taking them into areas where Malaria and other diseases may be a risk. We know choosing an insect repellent for babies and kids can be a tricky and confusing business. Are some active ingredients more suited to young skin than others? What age can you start using an insect repellent on a child? How often should you apply it? Which format is best? There sure is a lot to consider, so to help you decide which insect repellent might work best for your children we’ve compiled this handy guide.

insect repellent for babies and kids
 

The Mosi-guard Natural® stick is easy to apply insect repellent for babies and kids 

Mosi-guard Natural® Stick
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To DEET or not to DEET - an important question when it comes to insect repellent for babies and kids

Many experts maintain that DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is one of the most effective insect repellents out there, especially in high-risk malaria areas. However, experts have also voiced concerns over the toxicity of DEET and its potential effect on the skin, especially in young children. Products with concentrations of DEET as low as 15% cannot be used on kids under 2 and may only be used on children aged 3-12 on a restricted surface area of their skin.

DEET is a man-made synthetic with a powerful solvent content which is capable of damaging plastics, such as watch straps and clothing. While there’s no doubt DEET is an effective choice of protection and supported by a range of efficacy data, if you’re seeking a more natural insect repellent for babies and kids, it might not be the one for you.

Eucalyptus citriodora oil hydrated, cyclized EC Oil (H/C) also goes by the name of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Derived from eucalyptus citriodora oil it is marketed under the brand name Citriodiol® and is also the active ingredient in the Mosi-guard Natural® range. If you are keen on a natural alternative, that is kind to skin, with proven, long lasting efficacy, Citriodiol could be what you’re looking for. As it’s derived from a natural essential oil, Citriodiol will not damage plastics and clothes, has a clean fresh scent and is kind to skin. It is deemed suitable for use on adults and children from the age of six months so a strong contender as an insect repellent for babies and kids.

Can I use Mosi-guard® Natural as an insect repellent for babies and kids?

There has been extensive experience with the use of Mosi-guard Natural® as an insect repellent for babies from 6 months onwards. As very little of the active ingredient (Citriodiol) is absorbed through the skin, many people find that Mosi-guard Natural® is their preferred choice of insect repellent for babies from 6 months plus, and young children. As baby’s skin can be sensitive, we always suggest doing a patch test before application. Before making a full application, simply apply a little of the repellent to a patch of skin and leave for a few hours to ensure there is no sensitivity.

Will a natural insect repellent for babies and kids be as effective as DEET based product?

Recent studies from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests that mosquitoes may be becoming de-sensitized to DEET repellents after initial exposure. It’s a common myth that natural insect repellents are less effective than the synthetic chemical repellents out there.While it’s true that some natural repellents are better than others, some natural actives are actually supported by robust efficacy data. Citriodiol is one of nature’s most effective insect repellents. With efficacy testing undertaken in over 35 laboratory and field studies, against a total of 26 different species, Citriodiol based insect repellents have been proven to provide the same long lasting effectiveness (up to eight hours) as DEET. If natural is your thing, do also bear in mind that Citriodiol’s efficacy also far exceeds that of citronella or any other plant-based insect repellent. 

How often should I apply insect repellent on babies and kids

To avoid having to constantly reapply your insect repellent, check the directions of the product you are using. Protection time will vary depending upon the type of active ingredient in a product, as well as its concentration. It is generally advised to apply a thin even layer of repellent. Bear in mind if you and the little ones are hopping in and out of a swimming pool or perspiring you might need to reapply, a thin, even layer to exposed skin when necessary.

Application tips for insect repellent for babies and kids

This really comes down to personal preference. Sticks and roll-ons and creams can sometimes be easier to apply on children. Always help little ones with applying insect repellent. Avoid applying it on a child's hands, near the mouth or eyes, or over cuts and irritated skin. One tip is to apply the insect repellent to your hands first and then rub it on your child. Whatever insect repellent you choose always follow the directions carefully.

Does it matter what percentage of concentration is used in the insect repellent for babies and kids?

As well as looking at the active ingredient used in the insect repellent for babies and kids, look for the percentage of the concentration. The higher the active ingredient amount, the longer it will last without having to be re-applied which is great for an insect repellent for babies and kids. However, remember that insect repellents with concentrations of DEET as low as 15% cannot be used on kids under 2 and may only be used on children aged 3-12 on a restricted surface area of their skin.

In summary

To choose the right insect repellent for babies and kids consider the following:

  • Natural versus synthetic
  • Some natural insect repellents can work just as well as synthetic so check the product is supported with efficacy data
  • Check the concentration levels of the active ingredients, the higher the better, as long as it is not stated to be unsafe for babies and kids