Are you worried about mosquitoes biting and hurting your baby? Are you looking for a safe way to protect them?
It can be scary to apply bug spray to your baby’s tender skin. You worry about allergic reactions and if the ingredients in the sprays are safe enough for them. But you also don’t want your baby end up sick from a preventable bite, either.
It can feel like a no-win situation.
What you need is the best mosquito repellent you can trust to be safe for your kids. This article will help you find the solution you’re looking for.
- It’s all-natural
- Doesn’t sweat off
- Long lasting
- Can be used on babies
- Contains sunscreen
- Lasts for hours
- Free of dangerous chemicals
- Cute designs
- Works on pets
- Organic ingredients
- All-natural formula
- Dries quickly without sticky residue
- Gentle on baby’s skin
- Lasts for 8 hours
- A little goes a long way
- Deet free
- Lasts for 6 hours
- Deet free
- Won’t stain on clothes
Do Babies Need Mosquito Repellent?
While you could argue that humans have existed for centuries without having mosquito repellent to spray around, it can be an important trick to have up your sleeve while trying to protect your baby.
Mosquito bites can be painful for babies, and they can swell up way more than the same bites usually do for adults. Some babies can get severe swelling and even bruising on the bitten area. A big local reaction frequently happens for babies (1).
Signs of larger reactions to mosquito bites in babies can include (2):
- Large swollen area.
- Low fever.
- Enlargement of lymph nodes.
In addition to that, some children can end up with allergic reactions to the mosquito bites.
But those aren’t the only dangers of mosquito bites on babies. They could also scratch the bite excessively, which can lead to a skin infection that will require medical attention.
And, as everyone knows, mosquito bites can also carry a lot of diseases with them. Those diseases can be severe for babies. Some of the diseases found in the U.S. include West Nile virus and encephalitis viruses.
Living on a small farm near a pond and creek, mosquito spray in a not an option, but is a necessity. We LOVE the stickers and have had good experiences with the clips. They have worked well for us. We do keep the Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus on hand, but it does make our children more photo sensitive.
Editor's Note:Emily Lehman
Are Mosquito Repellents Safe For Baby?
Nothing is ever risk-free and mosquito repellents are no exception to that rule. They do carry risks with them.
While it is not a typical reaction and is extremely rare considering how many people use repellents each year, there have been reports of considerable side effects, including (3):
- Behavioral changes.
Your child is far more likely to have no side effects from using mosquito repellent than to have anything like this happen to them. And you should also keep in mind, there can be severe health consequences to being bitten by a mosquito too.
The diseases mosquitoes carry can cause a host of symptoms in children. West Nile, for instance, usually only causes mild symptoms in children, such as fever, fatigue, and aches.
But, rarely, some children will get very sick from West Nile. Those who have a serious health condition or a weakened immune system are at greater risk of severe symptoms (4).
If you’re overly concerned about putting any creams or sprays on your baby’s body, you might want to check out electronic mosquito repellents which use high-pitched noises to scare off the skeeters. Just be warned, their effectiveness is in question (5).
Other repellents you could try include clip-on, bracelet, and sticker repellents.
The Best Baby Mosquito Repellents of 2020
As parents, it’s our number one job to keep our babes safe and out of harm’s way, but that gets a little tricky when the solution itself poses some risk, too. Take your time finding a product you’re comfortable using — it’s worth it. Here are 10 products we think are worth looking into.
1. SallyeAnder No Bite Me Cream
If you hate the idea of using sprays on your baby because you’re worried it will inhale some of the fumes, a cream might be a better bet for you. You can rub it between your hands a bit to warm it up so your baby won’t feel uncomfortable from cold cream hitting its skin.
This hand-crafted cream can be used every four hours to keep mosquitoes away. If you do get bitten, it can also work as an after-bite treatment.
It contains a strong-smelling mixture of cedar, mint, lemongrass, geranium, clove, thyme, rosemary, and eugenol oils.
While some creams can feel greasy after application, this one doesn’t. The cream can be used on your face if you avoid the eye area.
This cream doesn’t sweat off, which is good news for active kids as they run around for hours at a time during the summer months.
For moms who are concerned about more than their households, they’ll like that the company doesn’t test their products on animals. All their products are also handmade in the U.S.
- It’s all-natural.
- It doesn’t sweat off.
- It lasts fairly long for coverage — up to four hours.
- It has a strong smell that isn’t for everyone.
- It’s a bit pricey.
2. Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard
If you're spending a lot of time outdoors, it's important to keep your baby's skin protected from the sun. Combining these two products can be a great way to help cover your bases. Look for something that is at least SPF 30, and preferably waterproof.
This combines the bug protection of a repellent with the sun protection of a sunscreen. It has SPF 30, which is enough to keep your child’s tender skin protected.
It moisturizes dry skin with aloe and Vitamin E and it doesn’t feel greasy. This lotion doesn’t contain DEET or PABA.
It protects against mosquitoes, black flies, and deer ticks. It’s safe to use on children 6 months and older. It can be reapplied every two hours for insect control if necessary. But you should not use more than 9 times a day and fewer than that for your baby.
For moms who are turned off by the strong smell of essential oil products, this one should be more bearable — it’s not nearly as strong.
- It can be used on babies as young as 6 months.
- It contains sunscreen too.
- It’s affordable.
- You’ll have to reapply it fairly frequently.
- While the scent is milder, it isn’t odorless.
3. Brookhaven Delights Patches
There are little stickers you can put on your baby to keep mosquitoes from swarming. They have fun, friendly faces which means they can be a good pick for older children as well. You’ll typically get a large quantity in one pack so your child will be protected all summer long.
Spray and cream repellents are super messy and need to be reapplied often. You’ll save a lot of time and energy by switching to a sticker repellent. Yes, it is a real thing!
Simply adhere the stickers to clothing. The back glue is strong enough that your baby can’t pull them off, but they won’t destroy your child’s clothes. Eco-friendly soy ink is also used to produce the adorable design your entire family will love.
Each sticker is naturally formulated with citronella and lemongrass to ward off bugs and mosquitos. The number of stickers you’ll need depends on your child’s size and the amount of skin exposed.
The repellent is formulated to work for up to 72 hours, but most moms have found the stickers to be most effective for approximately 24 hours. For the best results, the sticker should be on your child’s clothes, instead of a stroller or carrier.
- Lasts for hours, removing the need to reapply constantly.
- Safe, natural formula is free of dangerous chemicals.
- Children will love the cute designs.
- You can go through a set of stickers pretty quickly if you go outside frequently.
4. BugMace All Natural Mosquito Repellent
Don’t want any chemicals touching your baby’s skin if you can help it? You can find some natural alternatives for mosquito repellent, but keep in mind, you’ll have to apply them more frequently.
This product says it is safe for babies, kids, and adults. It won’t feel greasy on your child’s skin, which is good news for moms who have to physically lift up their children to bring them indoors for bedtime. They won’t be slipping and sliding out of your grasp.
It contains certified organic essential oils, which moms who love organic products should appreciate. Some of the oils contained in the spray include lemongrass, citronella, geranium, soybean, rosemary, clove, and thyme.
This BugMace can give your child up to seven hours of protection and it contains no DEET at all. That means one application will last your child the whole time they’re outside — you won’t have to stop their fun to reapply it.
If you have a four-legged baby, it’s also safe for them to use.
- Will work on your pets.
- It uses organic ingredients.
- It’s non-greasy.
- It’s pretty expensive.
- The odor is pretty strong.
5. Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent
Insect repellents may get rid of the bugs, but the strong scents can also bug your baby’s nose. Avoid the irritation with this sweet-smelling blend made from natural ingredients. Not only is it more pleasant, but it’s free from chemical residue and is gentle on your baby’s sensitive skin.
The formula is non-greasy, non-toxic, and free of DEET. It highlights 100% natural essential oils, including citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium. This blend smells terrible to insects and mosquitos but is lovely for humans.
Don’t worry though! While it’s definitely got a scent, it isn’t so strong that it’s overwhelming or irritating.
This is a spray repellent, so moms should spray it on their hands and then apply directly to baby’s skin. The lightweight formula dries quickly and won’t leave your child feeling sticky. You should apply it every two hours if you’ll be outside for an extended period of time.
- The all-natural formula smells great to you, but terrible to mosquitos.
- Easy to apply, dries quickly, and doesn’t leave a sticky residue.
- Gentle on baby’s skin.
- The sweet smell may attract bees, so be careful if there are a lot of them around.
6. AMERTA Natural Mosquito Repellent For Kids
If the idea of using DEET on your baby makes you uncomfortable, you need a DEET-free repellent. You’ll have several choices, but you may have to search a bit for it. DEET is one of the most popular repellent ingredients because of how well it performs.
This natural repellent lotion can be used on kids who are 1 year and older. And moms who are scared of DEET will be happy to know it doesn’t contain any.
This lotion will be moisturizing for kids and can help with the itching existing bites can cause. One application can last for up to 8 hours.
The lotion is made with jojoba oil, which is a good carrier oil, and it also includes lavender, rosemary, peppermint, and lemongrass.
The formula is vegan, non-greasy, and isn’t tested on animals. That’s something socially-conscious moms should appreciate. It also isn’t sticky feeling.
People sensitive to odors may want to stay away from this product because it does have a strong smell because of all the essential oils in it.
- It’s all-natural.
- A little bit of the spray can cover a lot of territory.
- It can be used on 1-year-olds.
- Some may find the smell off-putting.
- Some people said it didn’t work well for them.
7. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Even if they're relatively safe to use, you might want to avoid the stronger chemical concoctions in more popular mosquito repellents. If you hate the smell of some brands or find yourself leery of DEET, you're in luck: there are alternatives out there.
The star ingredient in this insect repellent is the oil of lemon eucalyptus, which means children under the age of 3 shouldn’t use this repellent. It is DEET free, which moms concerned about chemicals should like.
It wards off mosquitos for up to six hours. That means you should only have to apply it once to your child since that’s a long time for them to be outside. If you’re on a camping trip, you could apply it twice in one day, if needed.
Because it comes in a pump spray, you must remember not to spray it on your child’s face. Spray it into your hands and apply it to their skin that way.
- It’s affordable.
- It’s DEET free.
- It keeps mosquitoes away for six hours.
- Some people said it didn’t work well.
- It does have a strong scent.
8. Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Even if you find a product that works, you won't want to use it for long if it ruins all your clothing and leaves a residue on everything to touch. If this has happened in the past, look for something that will wash away quickly and easily.
The ingredient that will keep mosquitoes at bay in this one is also lemon eucalyptus. So once again, your child shouldn’t use this spray if they are under the age of 3.
This will give protection for six hours for your child, but you shouldn’t apply it more than twice a day at the most. This spray doesn’t feel sticky on the skin, which should cut down on the complaints of your kid.
If you’re using this in conjunction with sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and then this product second.
You should ensure that you don’t spray this onto your child’s hands. If it accidentally happens, you should have them wash with soap and water.
This spray won’t stain your child’s clothes, which should make moms happy.
- It’s affordable.
- It’s DEET free.
- It’s long-lasting.
- It can cause skin reactions in some people, according to the label.
- The smell is considered a bit much by some people.
When Do I Start Using Mosquito Repellents?
How soon you can use repellents on your baby varies depending upon the ingredients you’re using. And you’ll want to keep in mind that some kinds of ingredients work better than others.
Some of the active ingredients can be used on your baby when they turn 2 months old. Those include (6):
But that doesn’t mean all mosquito repellents are safe to use on your baby at that time. You should stay away from those that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus until your child is at least 3 years old.
DEET is a bit controversial as to when it is safe to use on babies. While the American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s okay to use DEET at 2 months old, other sources say 6 months is a safer benchmark to follow (7).
When children are ages 2 to 12, you still shouldn’t use more than 10 percent DEET, but you can increase the frequency up to three times per day.
After a child reaches 12 years old, you can use products containing up to 30 percent DEET.
How to Apply Mosquito Repellent to Your Baby
When you’re using mosquito repellent on your baby, you have to exercise caution about how you apply it. Here are some rules you should follow when you’re applying it:
- Don’t spray it on your baby’s face — instead spray the repellent into your hands and dab it on their face while staying away from their eyes and mouth. That will protect them from breathing in the spray and from getting it into their eyes. For really young babies, you may want to skip applying it at all to their face.
- Only put the repellent on their exposed skin or spray it on their clothing instead. You never want to put it on the skin that will be covered up anyway.
- If your baby has a cut or a scratch, you should make sure not to put repellent on that area.
- Don’t go overboard with it. You won’t get any extra benefit by putting too much on.
- When you go back inside, promptly give your baby a bath to wash off the repellent.
- Stop using it right away if your baby develops a rash while using the product. Then wash it off of your baby and make an appointment with or call your doctor.
- Try to limit the application to one time a day (8).
Can I Use Natural Repellents?
If you hate the idea of using chemicals on your baby, you might want to turn to natural mosquito repellents. There’s nothing wrong with using these kinds of products on your baby, but there are a few things you should be aware of first:
- You need to read the label to make sure your baby is old enough to use the product. All reputable mosquito repellents should have an age on the label that states when they can be used on children.
- Keep in mind natural repellents don’t usually protect as long as chemical mosquito repellents do. That may mean you’ll have to keep reapplying it constantly during your baby’s time outside.
The Bottom Line
The SallyeAnder No Bite Me cream is our top pick as the best mosquito repellent for kids. It works both as a preventative and an after-bite treatment. I like that it doubles up — anytime you can find a product that pulls double duty as a parent, it’s a keeper.
While the scent is rather strong, I like that it’s all-natural ingredients. I also love the fact it’s handmade in the U.S.
It can be scary when you see mosquitoes swarming around your baby — after all, you want to protect them from everything. But with a proper mosquito repellent, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Moms out there, any handy tips for how you keep the bugs off your babe? Please share in the comments!