(Written by Kris Bennette) Summer is here and it usually means outdoor excitement, especially for toddlers. During warm summer days, children loved to enjoy outdoor activities, such as baseball and soccer games, camping, and swimming. Unfortunately, it is also the season when mosquitoes and other bugs are most active. These insects can easily ruin outdoor fun.
Insect bites are common skin problems during summer months. They are itchy, unpleasant, and unsightly. In some cases, these bites can also lead to illness and diseases, such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus, and Dengue. For these reasons, parents should protect their young ones from insect bites. But before you reach for conventional insect repellents, you can consider safer ways to protect your child from insect bites. here are a few simple tips for insect bites on children.
Discourage Insect Breeding
Protection should always start at home and the best way to protect your child from insect bites is to discourage insects from breeding in your property. First, you must get rid of any sources of still water, such as birdbaths, unused tires, flowerpots, and planters, from your garden. You must also remember to clean clogged gutter pipes, repair plumbing, and keep your garbage bin well-covered.
If you have a water feature or a pond in your yard, you can consider breeding goldfish or freshwater minnows. They will help control larvae. You can also add plants in your yard that can repel insects and bugs, such as lemon thyme, citrosa, geranium, sweet basil, and tansy.
Wearing Dark-Colored Apparel And Sweet-Scented Perfumes Are Ill-Advised
Before you allow your child to go out, you must remember to dress your toddler in clothes that covers most of their body, such as long-sleeved tops, long pants or jeans, and closed shoes. They must also wear light-colored apparel so insects won’t easily spot them. In addition, no matter how active your child is, avoid using sweet-scented perfume or soap. The fragrance from these toiletries can attract insects, putting your child at risk of insect bites.
Apply Safe Insect Repellents
There are insect repellents which you can apply to your child’s skin and body that are safe and non-toxic. These natural insect repellents are very easy to make and they can effectively keep mosquitoes, fleas, and other insects away. Here are a few natural insect repellents for your child.
- Natural Repellent Soap: You can create an insect repellent soap using natural ingredients. All you need is to mix 10-15 drops of essential oils, such as citronella, lavender, and rose geranium. Use this soap on your child before and after he spends time outdoors.
- Essential Oils: Using essential oils can also repel insects and bugs. Remember to use the right amount of essential oil. Generally, less is more. This means that one drop of essential oil is enough to repel mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. For instance, you can use peppermint essential oil and dab it on your child’s ankles, wrists, or under his chin.
Using Repellents That Contain DEET
The American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP urges parents to use repellents that contain DEET, especially in areas where West Nile carrying mosquitoes have been detected. This is considered as a very effective insect repellent. To ensure that you are using a safe formula, look for a product with only 10% DEET which is effective for up to two hours; however, if you want to use a higher concentration, you can look for 30% DEET which is also safe for infants and toddlers. Higher concentration of DEET can provide 4-5 hours protection. When using such products, remember to follow these safety guidelines.
- Do not spray directly on your child’s skin. Put it first on your hands then apply to your child. Avoid your child’s hands, eyes, and mouth as this formula may cause irritation.
- After staying outdoors, wash your child’s skin or bathe him with soap and water.
- Use a separate sunscreen and insect repellents so that you can apply each formula according to your child’s needs. Remember that you should apply sunscreen generously while bug repellents must be applied sparingly. Heavy application of repellents is not necessary for it to be effective.
As a parent, you want to make sure that your child is protected from potentially harmful insect and bug bites. Following these tips will help shield your child from insect bites and allow him to enjoy outdoor activities.
Kris Bennette is a blogger for parenting websites where she offers useful tips for keeping toddlers safe from insect bites on children. She also occasionally writes for pest control companies that are offering insect, bug, and rodent control in Santa Fe.