When can I apply insect repellents on my baby?

We live in a country where mosquitoes are a real problem. They are everywhere. In your toilet. In your kitchen and even in your car! It’s unfortunate that babies tend to get bitten more frequently than adults. This is most likely because they are an easy prey as they are not aware of these insects. It’s hard to avoid, but we can minimized it.

Insect repellents play a key role for protecting our children from mosquito-borne viruses especially when living in places where these illnesses are prone to happen often. For mothers with young baby, you can start putting bug repellent when your baby is at least 2 months old and above.

You can start using insect repellents containing DEET. According to the Environmental Protection Agency in United States (EPA), DEET is tested and approved for use on children with no age restriction.

Here are some important points when using insect repellent on your baby:

  • Repellent with DEET should not be applied more than once a day, and is not recommended for babies younger than 2 months old.
  • DEET can be used on exposed skin, as well as clothing, socks, and shoes, but should not be used on the face, under clothing, on cuts or irritated skin, or on the hands of young children.
  • Read and follow the label directions to ensure proper use;  be sure you understand how much to apply.
  • Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing. Do not use under clothing.
  • Do not apply near eyes and mouth, and apply sparingly around ears.
  • When using sprays, do not spray directly into face; spray on hands first and then apply to face.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Do not spray in enclosed areas.
  • Avoid breathing a spray product.
  • Do not use it near food.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that repellents containing the ingredients picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus also can protect against mosquitoes:

Picaridin is a compound found in many mosquito repellents used in Europe, Australia, Latin America, and Asia. Its chemical name, which you might find in the list of “active ingredients” on a product, is KBR 3023. Years of safe use of picaridin in other parts of the world attest to its safety and effectiveness.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also known as P-menthane diol (PMD). PMD is a plant-based repellent that gives protection time similar to low concentrations of DEET products. It is not recommended for kids under 3 years old.

You may want to try a natural insect repellent such as citronella, but read the label first to make sure it’s safe to use on babies. (Repellent products must state any age restrictions.)

Natural repellents generally don’t last as long as chemical repellents, so you may need to reapply frequently.

As a side note, there are 66 dengue fever cases and one death in Kg. Likas just last year according to the Borneo Post newspaper while The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate there may be 50- 100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. So geared up, keep your surrounding clean and be safe everyone!

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