Bugs and mosquitoes are one of the biggest enemies of mothers. They are something that every mother must be vigilant in fighting, not only because their bites can cause marks and itching, but also because these insects can transmit diseases such as malaria, spotted fever and lyme disease. And we are more worried now because of the issue of Zika virus spreading in the country. Even if you clean your home properly, insects can still wander inside and bite your unknowing child.
To prevent this, making use of the best mosquito repellent for babies is necessary. Don’t just go for any bug repellent — you should use one that is safe for your little one since a baby’s skin is much more sensitive than an adult’s.
But before we proceed, let’s get one thing out of the way: the issue of DEET.
What is DEET?
DEET is a chemical that confuses the senses of bugs and insects, making them unable to detect their prey. Contrary to what others believe, DEET does not kill the insects. Some fear that because DEET is a chemical, it automatically means it is toxic and unfit for babies. This is an urban legend and has never been proven. If you want to research more about DEET, make sure you read reliable sources.
Would I Use a Bug Repellent with DEET?
Sure. According to studies, DEET-free bug repellents are less effective than those with DEET. I would rather use an effective bug repellent than one that is practically useless. The harmful effects of DEET have never been proven, while the effects of a mosquito bite may be devastating. Now what is my biggest issue with DEET? It smells bad. You may feel like you’re slathering on chemicals on your skin, which is the number one reason why mothers don’t want it. It can also irritate the skin of hyper-sensitive babies.
If you want to steer clear of DEET, there are two other ingredients proven to be effective for preventing mosquito bites. These are piricardin and oil of lemon eucalyptus (aka p-menthane-3,8-diol). Citronella oil is also a good mosquito repellent, but is not as effective with other types of bugs. When looking at mosquito repellents, check if they have these ingredients for maximum effect. Whenever I get a bug repellent, I make sure at least one of these three ingredients are present.
Top 5 Choices for Safe Bug Repellent for Babies
My top choices for bug repellent for my baby are a mix of DEET-free and DEET-included products. If you’re anti-DEET, then go ahead and check the DEET-free ones. Without further ado, here are my top choices when it comes to preventing bug and mosquito bites on my baby:
1. Avon SKIN-SO-SOFT Bug Guard PLUS IR3535 (DEET-free)
This is one of my favorites because not only does it protect your baby from insect bites, it also protects him from the harmful rays of the sun. This is very useful especially when going out. Instead of placing sunscreen plus bug shield on his skin, I only need to use one product on my baby. Imagine having to place two products on your baby’s skin! It gets too sticky and the products probably won’t work when combined.
I love it because it has a nice smell and moisturizes the skin as well. If your child has sensitive skin though, make sure to apply just a little first. If he breaks out a rash or some redness, don’t use it. Click here to see the price in Amazon.
2. Vitchelo Insect Repellent Bracelet (DEET-free)
Placing bug repellent lotion on your baby’s skin can be problematic, especially with constant reapplication. Also, if you need to apply something else on your baby’s skin like medication or maybe just sunscreen, a repellent lotion won’t work. A bug repellent bracelet would solve these issues at once.
The disadvantage with bracelets is that some smell bad, like chemicals on the skin. Some mothers also complain that bracelets don’t work at all. If you are looking for a bracelet that smells nice and really works, go for Vitchelo Bug Repellent Bracelet (click here to check price in Amazon). One of the main ingredients is citronella oil, which is what causes the fruity smell. My only problem is I have to make sure my child doesn’t chew on it (he is at the chew-everything-stage right now). The workaround would be to have me and my husband wear it so that our baby would be kept safe from mosquitoes when going out.
3. Cotton Trading’s Slap-on Mosquito Repellent Bracelet (DEET-free)
Although it is a bracelet, the repellent pellet is actually inserted into a watch-like slot. The advantage of this one over Vitchelo is that it is waterproof, and there’ll be little issue with my baby “accidentally” chewing on the bracelet itself because there are no chemicals there. Also, I can be assured that the chemicals or oils won’t touch her skin, so there’s no need to worry about the smell sticking to your baby’s skin. Because it’s a snap on, the size is pretty much adjustable. I like that it can fit my little one’s wrist or her ankles. Packaging says each pellet should last for 15 days, but not really. It works best the first seven days, after that it seems the effectiveness wanes so I had to back up with repellent wipes or lotion. Click here to check the price in Amazon.
If you are not afraid of using bug repellents that contain DEET, this is your best choice. Among the others recommended, Bug X is the most effective and longer lasting (click here to find out the price at Amazon). Make sure though that it doesn’t get in contact with plastic. This product contains 30% DEET, which is within the recommended amount by CDC. This is your best choice IF you are going outdoors and can’t apply bug repellent on your child’s skin over the next few hours. Because it has 30% DEET, make sure to test on a small part of your child’s skin first before using on his whole body (except his hands, because we know our baby’s favorite chew toy is his hand).
If you are alright with using DEET but don’t want to use that much (as in 30% with Bug-X), you can opt for Cutter Mosquito Wipes which contains only 7.15% DEET.
These are wipes so it’s easy to apply, although it’s placed in one bigger package, unlike other wipes which are packaged individually. The pack is not as resealable as one could expect, so you’d have to place it in another zip-lock, just to make sure it doesn’t leak or dry out. But all in all, this is one of my top choices. Click here to view price.
I use these insect repellents on varying degrees, based on the day’s activities. If we’re just staying at home, I use either Cutter Mosquito Wipes or Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard. If we’re going out where my baby will be more active, I make him wear the mosquito bracelets because when he sweats, the lotion and wipes become less effective. If we’re having a picnic or going to places where mosquitoes and bugs are rampant. I use the Bug X Towellete because I want the maximum protection for him.
How about you, which bug repellents have you tried and which works best? Share your experience with other moms by writing a comment below.