Menu

How to safely avoid bug bites + apply bug spray to kids

Itchy red bug bites may seem like an unavoidable part of summer, but there are some ways to avoid them.

How to safely avoid bug bites + apply bug spray to kids

It's backyard barbecue season, but that doesn't mean you have to be the feast! Many parents want to protect their little ones from bug bites, which can cause never-ending itching and even allergic reactions. Itchy red bug bites may seem like an unavoidable part of summer, but there are some ways to avoid them.


How to safely avoid bug bites:

  • Avoid outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active
  • Avoid playing in or around standing puddles of water or flowerbeds
  • Wear thin, long-sleeved shirts and long pants to minimize skin exposure

What about bug spray?

Yes, bug spray is okay to use. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). Pregnant women and children older than 2-months-old should use sprays with the lowest available concentration of DEET, but no more than 30%.

If you plan to be outside for only a few hours, a lower concentration of DEET is recommended. If you plan on being outside for a full day, higher concentrations are recommended, but no more than 30%. Once inside for the day, wash bug spray off of your child's skin. Newborns and infants younger than 2-month-old should be dressed in long clothing and covered with lightweight blankets or mosquito netting. Always use insect repellent as directed.

Picaridin 20% is an alternative ingredient to DEET to look for in insect repellants. These repellents work, but they do not last as long. Do not use products with oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3-years-old. Other products, like electronic devices, wristbands, garlic or vitamin B1 have not been found to work to ward off insects. So you can feed your kids garlic bread all day long, but it won't keep them from getting covered in mosquito bites!

Bug spray application tips

Insect repellent should only be applied to exposed skin, and children should never apply it on their own. When applying insect repellent to your child's face, spray it into your hands, and then rub it onto your child's face. Make sure to avoid their mouth and eyes—and never use repellents on cuts, wounds or irritated skin.

It's best to not use combination bug spray and sunscreen products because DEET may make the sun protection factor (SPF) less effective. Also, sunscreen needs to be reapplied often, and so reapplying product with DEET may overexpose kids. Be sure to apply sunscreen to the skin first and then insect repellent so that it is most effective.

No matter which type you use, always store insect repellents in a locked cabinet where children cannot get their hands on them. Be sure to use bug sprays in open areas only, and never apply them near the food you plan to eat. Once you are back inside, wash your child's skin and clothing well with soap and water.

And, if you ever think that your child is having a reaction to an insect repellent, immediately:

  • Stop using the product
  • Wash your child's skin with soap and water
  • Call POISON HELP at 1-800-222-1222, your child's medical provider or if he/she is experiencing difficulty breathing, call 911.

Originally posted on Children's National Health System's Rise and Shine.

You might also like:

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners
Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

FEATURED VIDEO

"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

Keep reading Show less
News