How to protect your babies from mosquito bites?

Modified: 30 April 2016

Are you worried over by seeing those red marks on your baby’s delicate skin due to mosquito bites? As a mother, you would definitely want only the best of everything for your baby. Therefore using a mosquito repellent is a must. Read on to know the need of mosquito repellents that can protect your little one.

Mosquito repellent helps to prevent mosquitoes from biting your baby for a period of time. The effectiveness of them depends on the chemicals used in them and the humidity of the weather. A strong chemical substance called ‘DEET’ (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide or diethyltoluamide) is used in insect repellents which provide protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and many other biting insects.

Is DEET safe for babies?

  1.  DEET must be present in repellents, only then they’ll be effective.
  2. Insect repellents containing DEET should not be used on babies younger than two months of age.
  3. It must be applied only once per day. So apply it to your baby when you go to parks or open areas where the insects or mosquitoes are more.
  4. Choose a repellent which has only 10% concentration of DEET. The concentration must depend on the no of hours your baby spends outdoors.
  5. Avoid applying it on irritated skin because it might lead to a burning sensation as it will be difficult for the babies to bear.

Types of mosquito repellents, pros and cons

1. Type: Creams, roll-on sticks, wipes and lotions

Pros: It is effective in indoors

Cons:  It can cause an allergic reaction if it is applied directly on your baby’s skin.

Safety precautions: Consult your doctor if you are willing to use it on your baby less than three months of age and ensure that you buy a reputed brand with a proven safety standards.

2. Type: Liquid vapouriser

Pros: It is effective in outdoors

Cons: It emits fumes when heated

Safety precautions: If you are using it in a room, you must not take your baby inside until the vapouriser is switched on, so it is always safe to have your baby away from the place/area where the vapouriser is on.

3. Type: Sprays and foams

Pros: It is effective in indoors and in outdoors in a limited area

Cons: There is possibility that the spray mist may be inhaled.

Safety precautions: It may cause allergies and breathing problems for infants

4. Type: Coils

Pros: It is effective in outdoors in a limited area

Cons: Coils release smoke when burnt

Safety precautions: The coils may cause allergies and breathing problems for babies.

5. Type: Mats

Pros: It is effective in indoors

Cons: It emits fumes when heated

Safety precautions: It may cause allergies and breathing problems

6. Type: Essential oils, such as citronella, neem oil, etc.      

Pros: It is effective on direct application

Cons: These may cause allergic reactions and the effect may not last long

Safety precautions: Essential oils are very strong and should not be used directly on the skin of babies or even toddlers.

Factors to consider while buying a mosquito repellent for your baby

When your baby is at home, you can use a mosquito net, but it cannot be carried everywhere while travelling with your baby. Mosquito repellents can be safe for your baby, but you need to know the factors that needs to be considered while choosing a mosquito repellent.

  • Always consult your doctor before you start applying the new mosquito repellents for your little one's.
  • Choose a product which is made of herbal ingredients like citronella oil, Eucalyptus oil, Lemon oil etc.
  • Doctors recommend that they can be used on babies above 6 months.
  • Do not apply the mosquito repellent creams/lotions on the palms of your baby as many of the babies would always have their hands inside their mouth and it is very important to prevent them from consuming it in any form.
  • As we discussed before, the mosquito repellent coils and liquid vaporizers must be restricted from using on your baby because of the breathing hazards they cause for the baby. Henceforth the creams and lotions are always the safe bet for you and your baby.
  • Don’t apply mosquito repellent under the clothing. It is safe to be used on the clothing or on the exposed parts of the body.
  • Mosquito repellent bands, boots and other items that you make your baby wear for longer duration have higher possibilities of causes irritation on some parts of the baby's skin, so while using those items/accessories remove them from the baby skin as early as possible.

My picks: 5 great natural insect repellents 

Badger Balm Anti-Bug Balm

Active Ingredients: 10% *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, and Essential Oils of 5% *Cymbopogon Nardus (Citronella), 2% *Cedrus Atlantica (Cedar), 2% *Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass), 1% *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), & 1% *Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium)

For more details: Click here

California Baby Natural Bug Blend

Active Ingredients: Pure essential oils of *cymbopogon nardus (citronella) 5%, *cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass) .5%, *cedrus atlantica (cedar) .5%.

For more details: Click here

EcoSMART Insect Repellent

Active Ingredients: 0.5% Rosemary oil, 0.5% Cinnamon Leaf Oil, 0.5% Lemongrass Oil, 1% Geranoil

For more details: Click here

All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent

Active Ingredients: Oil of Soybean 11.5%, Oil of Citronella 10.0%, Oil of Peppermint 2.0%, Oil of Cedar 1.50%, Oil of Lemongrass 1.00%, Oil of Geranium 0.05%.

For more details:  Click here

Buzz Away Extreme Towelettes

Active Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Geranium Oil, Castor Oil, Purified Water, Coconut Oil, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Lecithin, Sodium bicarbonate, Citric Acid, benzoic Acid. In a blend of Essential Oils of Wintergreen, Citronella, Cedarwood, Peppermint and Lemongrass. (Patented base HOMS® formula*)

For more details: Click here

Repel Natural Insect Repellent Pump Spray | Ages 2 Months And Up

Active Ingredients: Geraniol 5.0% , Soybean Oil 2.0% 

For more details: Click here

Natural Remedies

Without being afraid of the DEET and other harmful chemical products there are certain natural remedies that can be done at home in order to protect your baby.

Neem leaves

Neem leaves can be burnt and the smoke that is produced helps to drive away mosquitoes.

Essential oils of neem, citronella, peppermint, and eucalyptus

The above oils are all known to be effective mosquito repellents. But don't apply them directly on the skin. Those oils are strong and known to cause allergies on sensitive skin. Just a few drops of essential oils on your bedding will be fine. You could also put a few drops on a piece of cloth which you can put under your sheet.

DIY Home-made Bug Repellent spray

You can make an organic mosquito repellent spray for you baby by following the procedure given below.

Things needed:

  • Small Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Witch hazel solution
  • Peppermint, clove, lavender or lemongrass essential oil

Mix witch hazel and water in 50-50 ratio. Add 15 drops of essential oil of your choice. Spray this on your baby’s arms, legs, backs, and necks. Do not take your baby around heavily forested areas and stagnant water. This homemade spray will protect your baby’s skin from harmful insect and bug bites.

DIY Home-made Bug Repellent lotion 

This organic lotion is 100% natural and it is very much suitable for your tiny little baby.

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 15 drops peppermint, lavender, or clove essential oil

Mix the above oils together and apply it on your baby’s arms and other exposed parts. Even if they tend to get into their mouths, it won’t do any harm to your baby since they contain only natural ingredients.

"Treating your kid in a natural way is  always the best option"

Review written by Ilakkiya Parthasarathy

Born and brought up in Chennai, Ilakkiya is an IT engineer who works as a business analyst. She is an expert when it comes to buying; from pretty dresses to useful gadgets. Her ubiquitous opinions have led her to exhibit her writing skills to the world at large through Review Frenzy.