My son is 4mnths old....can I put bug repellent on him when going outside?


Christina - posted on 05/15/2010




Effective insect repellents come in many forms, from aerosols and sprays to liquids, creams, and sticks. And the good news: Many are safe for babies over two months old. For the under two-month set, bug repellent isn't recommended, though you might want to consider placing insect netting around your little one's stroller or bassinet — whatever she happens to be sitting in — for protection. Formulations for insect repellent generally fall into three main categories:

* Repellents with DEET. Formulations containing a chemical called DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) offer the best defense against biting insects. Protection lasts about three to eight hours, depending on the amount of DEET in the product; 10 percent DEET offers about two hours of bite-free fun in the sun, while 24 percent DEET gives about five hours (although most baby experts suggest that you apply DEET products only once a day, regardless of strength).

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend DEET products for children younger than two months old and cautions against using any repellent with more than 30 percent DEET on children of any age. Your safest bet is to stick with 10 percent DEET.

A word of caution: Don't use DEET with sunscreen. It may seem like a handy combo, but the DEET can make the sun-protection factor (SPF) less effective, and the need to reapply the sunscreen can result in overexposure to the DEET.

* Repellents with essential oils from plants. Purified forms of plants like citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, and soybean can help ward off bugs — although less effectively than DEET-containing products. Protection usually lasts less than a couple of hours, and because they need to be reapplied often, these oils shouldn't be used on babies younger than two months of age.

* Repellents with permethrin. Permethrin is a potent chemical that kills ticks and fleas on contact, so it can protect against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. But it offers no protection against mosquitoes and other flying, biting insects. It also can only be applied to clothing — never the skin — or to outdoor gear like sleeping bags and tents. Protection lasts for several washings.

* Repellents with picaridin. Picaridin, also known as KBR3023, is the newest insect repellent on the block and is said to last as long as a 10 percent formulation of DEET. Picaridin is also odorless and colorless, and feels light on the skin. Although the Centers for Disease Control has recommended picaridin as an alternative that may work as well as DEET, the American Academy of Pediatrics has held back their stamp of approval pending long-term follow-up studies.


View replies by

Becky - posted on 05/15/2010




They do make some for babies.. cant think of the name right now but im sure your doctor would know it... or you can google it..

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms