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Summer is here and there’s nothing better than taking your kids outside to enjoy the world around us. Spending time in nature has many significant benefits for people, especially children. These benefits include better function & control over ADHD behaviors, better self-discipline, lower levels of aggression, and better motor fitness & mental health.
It’s hard to deny that spending time in nature is healthy and vital for growing kids, however some of us are wary due to concerns about too much sun exposure & the newly raised concerns about mainstream sunscreens, or the potential of getting eaten alive by bugs and being exposed to the diseases carried by ticks & mosquitoes.
What About Mainstream Repellents?
Many mainstream bug repellents contain a chemical called DEET. There is a lot of fear-mongering out there surrounding DEET, and for the longest time, I thought we were supposed to avoid it. However, I take safety against insects pretty seriously as I personally know more than a handful of people who have contracted tick and mosquito-borne illnesses, such as Lyme and encephalitis. These diseases are no joke, and while it depends a lot on where you live, the risk is real and the health effects significant.
For my family personally, when we are going to be spending significant time in areas riddled with mosquitoes and ticks, such as when camping, we choose a more traditional insect repellent containing DEET. Many natural repellents just don’t last as long as a repellent with DEET. Since the broad scientific consensus is that DEET is perfectly safe, we will continue to use it in “higher risk” situations.
If you need proof about the safety of DEET from a more naturally-minded source, check out these articles from the EWG (Environmental Working Group): EWG’s Guide to Bug Repellent and EWG’s Best Bug Spray Guidelines
Picaridin is another chemical commonly found in bug sprays. It is generally considered safe, but it hasn’t had as much safety testing done as DEET has.
What About All Natural Bug Repellents?
I acknowledge that any chemical can pose a threat to someone at some point in time. When it comes to everyday use in the back yard or at the park, we often opt for more natural repellents.
Also, while some say DEET is safe on babies as young as 2 months old, others say they should be at least 6 months old.
DEET & Picaridin are not the only chemicals in bug sprays, so you may be wondering how to not only avoid those but maybe avoid some other ingredients in traditional bug sprays. I will admit it is VERY difficult to get explicit ingredient information for bug sprays. That can make some families nervous.
This list will contain the top-rated, safest bug sprays for babies and young children. There will be a mix of DEET options and all natural options for those concerned about harsh chemicals. Not all bug sprays are created equal, so read on to find out our favorites for babies and every member of the family.
1. Cutter Skinsations Insect Repellent
Cutter Skinsations is a bug repellent containing 7% DEET. Since this is a lower concentration of DEET, you may need to apply it more often (possibly as often as a DEET-free spray).
What I love about this bug spray is that it is a pump spray, not an aerosol. That is not only better for the environment, but it is also better for us because it reduces the chances of inhalation and uses less toxic chemicals.
Also a pump spray, Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent has a higher concentration of DEET (25%) which means it will last longer than the previous one. That concentration of DEET is still safe for children and babies over 6 months of age.
Click here to see Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent.
3. California Baby Bug Repellent Spray
If looking for a DEET-free option, California Baby Bug Repellent Spray is one of the best natural insect repellents you can get. It has the most positive reviews and more happy customers than many other natural brands.
It’s made from a blend of essential oils that naturally repel insects, including citronella, lemongrass, and cedar. This spray may be a little pricey compared to some, but the peace of mind you receive from its efficacy makes the price worth it. Not many other natural repellents are as effective.
4. Burt’s Bee’s Herbal Insect Repellent
The Burt’s Bees Insect Repellent is a top pick according to the EWG’s Think Dirty App. If you’re looking for a tried and true natural option, this insect repellent is a great choice!
This insect repellent is also made with essential oils, though a slightly different blend than the California Baby repellent. This blend includes rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, peppermint, citronella, clove, and geranium oils.
5. Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent
Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent comes in a spray bottle or in convenient disposable wipe form! While I generally like to avoid single-use disposable products, I can’t deny that these wipes can make life easier when an angsty toddler doesn’t understand why they are being sprayed with things… 😉
Babyganics has no DEET, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial scents or dyes. This blend is made from citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium oils.
Get Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent at Amazon.
6. Belursus Mosquito Repellent Patch
These patches are a great, natural option for when you don’t want to deal with sprays, reapplications, or trying to remember to reapply throughout the day. These patches work reasonably well and are good for 24-hours of protection.
The Belursus patches are made to go on clothes and are safe for kids and babies. Some adults may need to wear one or two patches at a time for complete protection. They are also made from a combination of essential oils.
See more about the Belursus Mosquito Patches by clicking here.
Don’t Get Eaten Alive!
Wanting to enjoy the outdoors is hard when it’s at the expense of you and your family’s comfort. Finding the right insect repellent goes a long way toward helping you love your outdoor experiences with your kids.
What is your favorite safe mosquito repellent for babies? Let me know in the comments!