What is the buzz on insect repellent and kids?
Summer is upon us, and families and children are enjoying time outdoors, in backyards and in the parks. One thing that can spoil this picture are the annoying biting insects and mosquitos. Families want to know what research says about the safety of insect repellents on small children. You might be surprised to find out that deet is not as bad as you may have thought, reports Extension Educator Lynn DeVries.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that insect repellents containing deet are safe for children as young as two months. Bug repellents with deet come in varying strengths–some contain up to 30-percent deet. A higher concentration of deet does not mean a product is stronger, only that it lasts longer.
Another ingredient similar to deet in some repellants is Picaridin, which has been used in European countries for 10 years and is becoming more popular in products available in the U.S. There are also natural repellants made with oils such as lemongrass and citronella.
Along with repellants, parents and caregivers can prevent insect bites by dressing children in long sleeve clothes and socks and shoes. It is recommended that parents avoid products that combine sunscreen and insect repellant. While it is good to reapply sunscreen often, it is not recommended to reapply the insect repellants.
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