Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 at 7:00 am
Parents want what’s best for their kids. It’s great to be able to play outside in the warm weather, but the fun stops when the mosquitos start biting. Some parents have concerns about the safety of insect repellants. Others worry about their effectiveness. Here is a quick look at the most important things to know about natural insect repellents.
Reapplication is Necessary
Natural insect repellants may contain ingredients made from plant oils. Some include citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and cedarwood. Parents who are concerned about the potential effects of DEET might select insect repellants that contain natural ingredients.
Be aware that natural insect repellants need to be reapplied more frequently than do the insect repellants that contain DEET. Set a timer on your smartphone so you will remember to round up your kids and reapply the natural insect repellant several times.
Be Careful When Applying
Before you apply natural insect repellant, check your child’s skin for cuts. It’s just not a good idea to add insect repellant to an open wound – even if the insect repellant is natural. Keep the insect repellant away from your child’s eyes.
It is advised that parents put the natural insect repellant onto their own hands first. Use your hands to apply the natural insect repellant. Applying it directly to the child’s skin could result in accidentally putting too much of it on your child.
Read the Label
Not all insect repellants are the same! Some need to be applied more often than others. It is entirely possible that one brand of natural insect repellant will contain different ingredients than another brand will. Check the label while you are still at the store. Does it contain something that your child is allergic to?
Do not assume that just because an insect repellant is natural that it is safe for everyone. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) points out that oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children who are under 3 years of age.
Remember to Wash it Off
It is important to take the time to wash the insect repellant off of your child after you are finished playing outside. This is true for “regular” insect repellants and the natural kind, too. Nobody needs to have insect repellant on their skin after they have come indoors (where the mosquitos aren’t).
Choose Effective Insect Repellants
WebMD says that soy-based insect repellants were the most effective alternative to DEET. Insect repellants that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus also work really well. Studies have shown that natural insect repellants that contain citronella, peppermint oil, and other plant based oils are not particularly effective.