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It’s still tick season—here’s how to prevent tick bites this summer

Here's what parents need to know to keep kids safe

how to prevent tick bites

As if there wasn't already enough to worry about this summer, it's tick season, too. Tick populations and tick-related illnesses are on the rise, with blacklegged ticks—one of the species responsible for transmitting Lyme disease—more than doubling in the past 20 years. The FAIR Health organization reports that the diagnosis of Lyme disease has risen 185% in rural areas and 40% in cities within the last decade.

As a parent, pest control expert and founder of a plant-based pest control company, it's my job to educate families on safe, eco-friendly ways to protect against pests. With all of us spending more time in the outdoors this summer, here is everything you need to know to keep your family's summer outings tick- and worry-free.


When does tick season start?

Adult ticks are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November, and young deer ticks are most active from mid-May to mid-August. However, ticks can be active any time the temperature is above freezing. This means warmer, shorter winters can make ticks dormant for a shorter time-span, with tick season starting earlier than usual.

Where do ticks live?

The U.S. is home to at least 90 tick species, and no state is free of them. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that ticks are expanding into new regions nationwide. The blacklegged deer tick, typically found in northeastern and upper-Midwestern states, has started to spread into southern regions. The Lone Star tick, typically found in southeastern states, has expanded into mid-western and northern states. The Brown tick can be found everywhere in the U.S.

How and why do ticks spread?

Due to land clearing, reforestation and urbanization we are in closer contact with wildlife, namely deer, mice and ticks themselves. When deer and mice populations increase, which they have been, so does the tick population. Climate change is another culprit in the spread, affecting the regions ticks inhabit, the longevity of tick season and the way diseases are spread. Warmer weather means ticks can thrive in new locations and have longer active seasons. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, and because bacteria also thrives in warmth, this can also make Lyme disease more prevalent in certain areas.

How do you protect kids from ticks?

Curious kids should get every opportunity to run around outside and explore nature—with tick safety in mind. Ticks love to hide in the woods, but it's not just the woods parents need to be mindful of. A tick's favorite hangout is in grass, bushes and shrubs, meaning your lawn could become a tick's playground. Ticks don't actively seek out hosts, they'd rather wait for a human or pet to be present, so playing in the yard could make kids and pets into tick magnets.

Here are some easy steps you can take to keep ticks at bay and prevent bites.

  • Keep grass trimmed, pick up leaves and clip the grass is a great way to reduce your yard's tick population.
  • Dress kids in light colored clothing, tuck their pants into their socks and keep long hair in a ponytail or hat.
  • Check kids from head-to-toe for ticks after any outdoor activity, especially in hard-to-see areas like their head, sides and behind the legs. Ticks will crawl on the body until finding a warm place to feed on, so checking inside elbows and armpits is also key. Ticks can be as small as a poppy-seed!
  • Wash clothing and shower immediately can also reduce risks.
  • Check your pets! Ticks can infect them and also bite you or your child and spread disease. Talk to your veterinarian about preventative tick treatments, and search for ticks by parting their fur and conducting a thorough inspection.

Is tick repellent safe to use on kids?

Not all repellents are created equal, so always use a CDC-recommended tick repellent. While DEET is standard, some concerns have been raised about potential unintended side effects caused by common misuse. Picaridin is another CDC-recommended repellent ingredient that's bio-identical to a black pepper plant, recognized by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) as an equally effective alternative to DEET and protects against both mosquitoes and ticks. When used as directed, picaridin is safe for use on children of all ages and pregnant women.

What should I do if I find a tick on my child?

The good news is, it usually takes ticks around 24 to 48 hours to transmit disease through a bite. Thoroughly inspecting children for ticks after outdoor play—paying particular attention to joints and hard-to-see areas like behind the ear and on the scalp—can make a big difference in preventing disease from tick bites.

To properly remove a tick, use techniques recommended by the CDC and by health care providers:

  • Use a pair of fine-pointed tweezers. Place them as close to your skin as possible and grasp the tick's mouth.
  • Firmly pull the tick straight out of the skin.
  • Wash the bite with soap and water.

Be sure to follow up after a tick bite by keeping the affected area clean and checking for the possible development of a rash or other symptoms. If your child develops a fever, chills, aches and/or a bulls-eye rash, these are signs to call a doctor.

Pest expert, CEO/Founder of EarthKind

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

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The new top 100 American baby names, according to the Social Security office

Did you have a baby in 2018? Did your name make the top 10?

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[Editor's note: We know that being pregnant can be, well, a lot. And understanding what you really need versus what's just a nice-to-have takes time . With your needs in mind, we've selected the best products for pregnancy in The Motherly Shop. We've got you, mama.]

No one can beat Emma when it comes to naming babies in America. This week the Social Security Administration announced its annual list of the most popular baby names in America and Emma has the top spot on the girls' side for the fifth year in a row. On the boys' side Liam took the top spot for a second consecutive year.

According to the Social Security Administration, these were the top 20 baby names in America in 2018:

Girls: Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Charlotte, Mia, Amelia, Harper and Evelyn

Boys: Liam, Noah, William, James, Oliver, Benjamin, Elijah, Lucas, Mason and Owen

How do those top 10 lists compare to the top baby names of 2017? Well, the girls' list is nearly the same except that Mia and Charlotte switched spots, and Harper (a name that fell out of the top ten the previous year) is back and has ousted Abigail. On the boys' side, Lucas kicked Jacob out of the top 10.

The real changes happened lower down in the data. Let's take a look at the popular baby names that were trending hard in 2018:

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