Getting outdoors is loads of fun, but if you're worried about bug bites and insect-borne diseases you need to know which bug spray options are best. Dr. Dina breaks down whether or not DEET insect repellents are safe for kids and how best to use them.Getty
Using a product with DEET (diethyltoluamide) is the best way to prevent bites from insects, including ticks. The amount of DEET in a bug spray is listed as a percentage—the higher the percentage of DEET, the longer it will guard against bites.
At 7% DEET, this bottle is your best bet for gentle baby and toddler skin. We love that it's unscented and loaded with skin-soothing and softening aloe and is one of the most affordable insect repellents containing DEET. It's also an ideal addition to your overnight bag when you're camping with a baby.
Just a reminder though—even though this baby-safe DEET formula is approved for little ones six months of age and older, it should still be used sparingly.
We love the baby-safe formula above, but if you're looking for something that stands up to more active older kids, this Cutter formula is a great choice for low-to-medium-level DEET on children. It dries almost instantly against skin and clothes, promising a less messy and totally non-greasy finish.
At 10% DEET, it's ideal for kids ages five through 12 and works for hours at a time without greasy active ingredients that leave stains.
Whether you're heading to the woods for a day of hiking or making the most of your very own backyard, this Off! Backwoods spray is ideal for teens and adults. With 25% DEET it promises long-lasting protection against mosquitos and other gnarly bugs for several hours at a time. If you live in a Lyme disease-prone area, this is bottle is a total must-have because it works efficiently to repel all sorts of ticks.
Just remember, it's a heavy-duty higher concentration DEET product and should still be used carefully to ensure proper mosquito bite safety.
Dr. Dina Kulik is a paediatrician and emergency room doctor in Toronto and mom to three boys. Send her your kids’ health questions at email@example.com
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