Summer is around the corner, and that means those pesky mosquitoes will soon be out to get us. Of course, you want your little ones to enjoy their time outdoors, but you have to protect them from mosquito bites.
Mosquito bites are itchy and can irritate a child’s tender skin. They can also become infected which creates another problem to deal with.
Even worse, mosquitoes carry illnesses, and some of them are pretty serious, especially for a young child. So you want to keep mosquitoes away from your little ones as much as possible.
Mosquito protection for babies and young children is important. These seven tips will keep those pesky creatures away so your little ones can enjoy the day.
Mosquito Protection for Babies:
One of the best ways to prevent mosquito bites is to keep your little ones covered as much as possible. Lightweight cotton or knit fabrics are best because they allow air to move through the fabric.
This keeps your little one cool while protecting them from mosquito bites. Loose-fitting clothing is best. Mosquitoes can easily bite through fabric that’s tight against the skin.
If your child is outside in a mosquito-prone area, it’s best to avoid shorts, skirts, or sundresses. For babies, onesies or bodysuits that cover the upper body and legs are good choices.
For toddlers and older children, choose lightweight long-sleeved tops and long pants. And a hat can help keep mosquitoes away from a little one’s head and face.
Color makes a difference too. Mosquitoes prefer dark colors and flowery prints. They are less attracted to light-colored clothing, so choosing lightweight and lightly colored clothing is best for your little ones.
Protect with a Mosquito Net
When you are outside with your child, try using mosquito netting to keep them protected from bugs and mosquitos. You can find many varieties of nets.
Use mosquito nets over your baby’s stroller, carrier, or outdoor playpen. This allows the breeze to still blow through. Your child can easily see through it, and your child is protected.
If you live in a very mosquito-prone area, you can use a net over your child’s crib or bed for added indoor protection from mosquitoes.
Make sure the nets are securely attached so they don’t fall on your baby.
Drain Standing Water
Without even knowing it, you could be breeding mosquitoes in your own yard. Take a look around your house for any soggy areas or areas of standing water.
Mosquitoes could be lurking around tires, planters, birdbaths, or anywhere that water stands for an extended period of time. Get rid of or drain any areas of standing water, and be sure to change the water in birdbaths regularly.
For water that can’t be drained, mosquito dunks or mosquito bits can be added to the water. They will kill mosquito larvae and they are relatively safe for children, pets, plants, and other wildlife.
Mosquitoes love to hang out in flower gardens, bushes, piles of leaves, and garbage cans too. Keep your child away from these mosquito-prone areas as much as possible.
There are many brands of mosquito repellent on the market today. The CDC approves of the use of insect repellent for young children but not for infants under two months old.
Repellents containing Deet are the most effective at repelling mosquitoes. These repellents also work well on other biting bugs such as fleas, ticks, chiggers, and flies.
Products containing Picardin are also effective and are often used as an alternative to Deet. Picardin is considered less effective than Deet at repelling mosquitoes.
They do not work on stinging bugs such as bees and wasps. If your child is outside for a short period of time, you can use a repellent with 10% Deet. For longer periods, you can use repellents with 30% Deet for little ones over six months old.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) and the man-made version (PMD) are not safe for children under three years of age. Some other repellents containing essential oils like citronella, soybean, or cedar work for short periods of time but may irritate some children’s skin.
Applying Mosquito Repellent Properly
There are various options for the application of mosquito repellents. These include creams, liquids, sprays, and sticks.
- Read application directions
- Apply repellent to your own hands before applying to a child
- Avoid applying near your child’s eyes and mouth
- Don’t apply to a rash, cut, or scrape
- Avoid applying to your child’s hands
- Wash your hands after applying
You can apply repellent to exposed skin and clothing. Do not apply under clothing. Children should never handle these products themselves.
Newer Types of Repellents
Some people believe that mosquito-repelling bracelets are amazing, but they have received mixed reviews about their effectiveness. You can place these bracelets around your child’s wrist or ankle.
They come with or without Deet and some brands last as long as 180 hours.
Mosquito patches have become popular as well. These are small patches you can apply to your child’s skin. They are supposed to make you invisible to mosquitoes.
Some varieties are non-toxic, but the jury is still out on whether they work well or not.
Mosquito Repelling Fragrances
You can find lots of products from scented candles to incense to repel mosquitoes. Scents such as citronella, lavender, lemongrass, cedar, and eucalyptus seem to repel mosquitoes.
On the other hand, fruity and floral scents seem to attract them. It’s a good idea to use fragrance-free products on children to avoid attracting mosquitoes.
Try a Bug Zapper
Bug zappers are electronic devices that use UV light to attract mosquitoes and other bugs. Many people swear by them and use them on their patio or porch.
Insects enter the bug zapper’s grid and are electrocuted. There are many varieties of bug zappers, and they seem to effective at killing some types of mosquitoes and other annoying pests.
We all want to enjoy our summer and spend time outdoors with the little ones. Mosquito protection for babies and young children takes a little work, but if it prevents those itchy bites, it’s worth it!
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