Worried and pondering how to protect your baby from mosquitoes? As you know, mosquitoes are not just annoying but they pose risks and, for babies, these risks increase as their immune systems aren't as strong as adults. In addition to mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and malaria, which will affect people of any age, infants are also vulnerable to Skeeter Syndrome, an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva that causes bites to swell significantly.
If you're concerned about how to keep your baby safe from dangerous mosquitoes and able to enjoy the outdoors, follow the following tips.
1. Use protective clothing
Dress yourself and your baby in loose, long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and pants. If you keep as much of your baby’s skin covered as possible it will give the mosquitoes less area to land and bite. Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing so that's why the loose-fit is important. Also be sure your baby is wearing closed-toe shoes or socks. Lightweight material will keep your baby from overheating on hot summer days.
2. Use age-appropriate repellent
For babies younger than two months old, most sources say to not use repellent, especially if it contains DEET. For babies older than two months, it’s acceptable to use repellent, but look for low concentrations of DEET or other active chemicals. Follow CDC recommendations when choosing a repellent. If you’d prefer not to use a chemical-based repellent, look for a natural repellent that works for your baby, or make your own using essential oils.
Regardless of what type of repellent you use, be careful when applying it. Don’t spray directly onto your baby’s skin—instead, spray some on your fingers and then apply. Avoid the eyes, mouth, ears, and open wounds, plus don’t put repellent on your baby’s hands, to prevent ingestion.
3. Try screens or mosquito nets
When you go outside, use a mosquito net over your baby’s carrier, stroller, or playpen. You can find a variety of options online, like this one by Dreambaby. Just be sure the netting mesh is small enough that mosquitoes can’t sneak through, and look for an elastic hem to hold the net in place.
4. Use fans where possible
If you’re staying in one place while you’re outdoors, like in your garden or on your patio, set up fans to circulate the air around your baby. Mosquitoes are not strong flyers, so the breeze created by fans can prevent the insects from buzzing near you and your little one.
5. Spray yourself
If you’re holding your baby close to you in a carrier or wrap, wearing insect repellent on your own body may help deter mosquitoes from your baby as well.
6. Avoid peak hours
Whenever possible, try to stay indoors during peak feeding hours. Dawn and dusk are when many mosquito species are most active, so you’re more likely to get bitten during these windows.
7. Tackle mosquito populations in your backyard
Mosquito populations hanging around your home can make it unbearable to go outside, even with the above precautions. If you have a mosquito problem, it’s important to take care of it on a larger scale, instead of only relying on repellents or other preventative methods.
Be sure to remove standing water around your property to eliminate breeding grounds, and try adding mosquito-repelling plants to your garden. For effective mosquito control options that avoid smearing repellents on your body, contact Mosquito Squad of San Antonio to learn more about our treatment options.
Don’t let your baby be bitten up by mosquitoes! Fight the bite and keep baby and your entire family protected from these pesky pests all season long.
“Five of the six plant-based repellents we tested—All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor, Burt’s Bees Herbal, California Baby Natural Bug Blend, Cutter Natural, and EcoSmart Organic—lasted one hour or less against Aedes mosquitoes, the kind that can spread Zika. (Note that despite its name, EcoSmart Organic does not contain certified organic ingredients or bear the Department of Agriculture’s organic seal.)
Daniel Fabricant, the executive director and CEO of the National Products Association, a trade group, says there is variation in the effectiveness of natural insect repellents, just as there are for other kinds of repellents.
In fact, Consumer Reports did identify one mosquito repellent that uses a natural plant oil as its active ingredient that worked well: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, 30 percent (shown above). This insect repellent warded off Aedes mosquitoes, Culex mosquitoes (which can spread West Nile), and ticks (which can spread Lyme) for at least 7 hours.
Other Safe and Effective Repellents
Several other repellents also did well in our tests: Those with 20 percent picaridin (a synthetic compound resembling a chemical in the black pepper plant), including Sawyer Picardin and Natrapel 8 Hour; and those with 15 to 30 percent deet, including Ben’s 30% Deet Tick & Insect Wilderness Formula, Repel Scented Family (15 percent deet), and Off! Deepwoods VIII (25 percent deet).
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection says that all of those ingredients—including deet—are safe, even if you’re pregnant, provided you use them properly.
How to Use Repellents Safely
All repellents can cause side effects, especially if you apply too much of it or too often. For example, they can all cause rashes and skin irritation. In addition, deet might cause disorientation, particularly in high concentrations, which is why we don’t recommend repellents that are more than 30 percent deet.
So use all repellents with care. Here’s how:
Consumer Reports also warned that the wristband insect repellents aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They tested the Coleman Naturals Insect Repellent Snap Band and the Super Band Wristband and found that neither one prevented mosquitoes from biting.
It’s important to find the repellent that works best for you, but you shouldn’t forget about our other mosquito control tips that you can implement at home to keep mosquitoes away.
Contact San Antonio Mosquito Squad today for a free quote on a treatment that will have a lasting effect in your backyard, keeping the bugs at bay while reducing or negating the need to use spray-on repellents. Why spray yourself? Treat your yard instead!