25 October 2018

A Quick Guide to Choosing Insect Repellent for Kids

Whether you live in a country where insect bites can be a problem, or if you’re going on holiday somewhere where they might be, there’s a lot of choice on the market when it comes to different types of insect repellent.

However, it’s even more important to make the right choice when you’re choosing a repellent for your kids, as some may not be safe for younger skin. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to choosing insect repellent for children.


If you’re traveling to a country where mosquitoes will be a problem, you’ll want a repellent with an active ingredient such as Picaridin or IR3535 at a concentration of 20% or one with a DEET concentration of between 7% and 30%).

Not only can bites be very irritating for your little ones, but in certain countries, mosquitoes could also be carrying diseases such as Zika and West Nile Virus.

Of course, these concentrations may need to be slightly higher if your children are going to be outside for a prolonged period of time but always exercise caution, especially with DEET, which we’ll touch on again in a moment.

You might want to use a more natural botanical repellent too, as these can be easier on your children’s skin.


Ticks are often found in forested areas and can carry the very dangerous Lyme Disease. For these, it’s recommended that you apply a repellent with a concentration of about 20% Picaridin or IR3535, 30% to 40% oil of lemon eucalyptus or 20% to 30%.

It’s also sometimes recommended that you treat your clothing too with a permethrin solution, which you can learn more about in this post from SectionHiker.


There’s often a lot of talk about the use of DEET as an active ingredient in insect repellents as there have been reports and studies which suggest that it can be toxic.

The truth is that DEET is very effective, but you should try to limit how much your children are exposed to it.

It’s best to use DEET in small quantities and opt for something else if you’re going to be applying it long-term, as exposing children to it every day can cause symptoms such as dizziness and headaches, so you might want to look into an alternative such as IR5353, or natural, botanical repellents such as Alfresco.

Many people prefer these more natural repellents, but the only downside with them is that they usually have to be reapplied more often than those containing DEET.

Young Children

It’s best to avoid using any insect repellent at all on babies under the age of two months and avoid using any containing oil of lemon eucalyptus until they’re at least three years old. As an alternative, consider placing a fine netting over their pram or pushchair to protect them.

Be sure to do your research into any insect repellent before applying it to your children and consider where you’re going to be traveling to and what kind of bugs the kids might be exposed to before making a decision.

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.

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