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Mosquito Repellent For Babies: Is It Safe?

Mosquito Repellent For Babies: Is It Safe?

Ever since the first person was bit by a mosquito, we’ve been looking for mosquito repellents. Mosquitoes vs. People: The ultimate rivalry.

However, what if the things we were using to fight off mosquitoes were doing more harm than good?

The question of mosquito repellent safety is not a new concept. We have all heard someone say something off-handedly about the possibility of harmful after-effects of using mosquito repellent sprays. But as we have grown older and now have our own children, these concerns seem bigger than ever. This is especially true because babies are the most susceptible to the diseases spread by mosquitoes. 

These dangers minimize with age. Our babies are in the most danger because infants and young children have not yet built up all the antibodies and strength that adults have. 

Mosquito bites are a common part of life for teenagers, adults, and most older kids, but it can lead to some big problems if they get the wrong bite when they are young. That being said, it is nigh impossible to live without ever getting bitten by a mosquito.

So, continue reading to learn about how you can best keep your baby safe from mosquitoes.

What Are My Options?

As the brightest minds in the world continue to expand our scientific knowledge, we are getting better at biting mosquitoes back. Almost all products can be fit into one of three groups based on the main active ingredient it utilizes to keep mosquitoes away.

DEET, Picaridin, and natural ingredient repellents are the three main types of repellent ingredients that go into mosquito repellent products. Picaridin and DEET are both chemicals that were created in labs as people tried to solve the ever-present problem of mosquito bites.

Have suspicions about DEET and Picaridin? Yeah, so do we, and for a good reason:

DEET

The most common ingredient in mosquito repellent sprays across the board is DEET. DEET was created in a lab by the military in the 1940s and is shorthand for N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. 

Bottles of mosquito repellent spray with DEET have a lot of warning labels that come along with it. It should never be sprayed in closed spaces, never go anywhere near your child’s mouth or eyes, and never should be put directly on the skin. As parents, we know that asking our little ones not to touch their mouths or eyes is pretty much an impossible task for them. 

If you ask us, that is a lot of don’ts. Plus, DEET can even melt through plastic and nylon. If it can destroy a watch, our parenting protective rage activates, and we pretty much throw that bottle far away from our babes. 

Picaridin

Picaridin is another chemical gunning to replace DEET, but we’re going to have to raise some eyebrows at this one too. Picaridin was created to be as effective but not as harsh or toxic as DEET. Picaridin is an artificial compound made to resemble a part of pepper plants that can be beneficial to keeping mosquitoes away. 

Picaridin is seen as an easygoing nontoxic alternative to DEET, although it can still cause plenty of irritations. Keep in mind, it is a fairly new product, made in just the last few years. Since it is one of the newest alternatives, its long-term effects have not been studied as thoroughly as DEET or natural repellents have. 

Natural Resources

Plants that repel mosquitoes naturally were used to help protect people long before DEET and Picaridin were made in labs by mixing chemicals. Tons of plants have been found to be pretty good at keeping not just mosquitoes but other bugs like spiders, fleas, ticks, moths, and flies away.

The best part about these mosquito-repelling plants is that you can just plant some of them in pots or in your garden, and you are already better off than you were before.

Most natural resources that help keep mosquitoes away are plants and flowers, which must be distilled to be most effective. Think about all those essential oils you see virtually everywhere. The right blend of those can be pretty effective at protecting your kids and yourself from any harm-wishing mosquitoes. 

How Mosquitoes Threaten Our Babies

Mosquitoes carry a few diseases that can be detrimental for anybody, much more so for babies. As babies have been in this world for only a short time, they are not as familiar with some illnesses and even hurts that we have become mostly used to.

Using the right repellents and products to protect your babies may save you much trouble and heartache later on. 

Many places have done their best to eradicate disease-carrying mosquitoes. While most places have started to lower their case numbers, the numbers are still large enough for us to want to protect our children from ever having to fight it. The number of mosquito-borne illnesses is rising, and so we must be vigilant in protecting our kids. 

The most common diseases spread by mosquitoes include:

  • Malaria
  • Yellow Fever
  • West Nile Virus
  • Zika virus
  • Chikungunya virus
  • Dengue

Babies are the most likely to face fatal consequences from mosquito-carried diseases, and the threat can start long before they make their big entrance into our world. A Scientific American case study on Brazilian mothers revealed a threat to fetuses from the mosquito-carried disease, the Zika Virus.

Women in Brazil who contracted Zika Virus while pregnant were more likely to have babies born with microcephaly. Microcephaly is an incurable condition associated with brain damage and significantly decreased head size.

Are There Any Other Products I Could Use?

Things like bug zappers, mosquito traps, and mosquito repellent bracelets have started to be commonplace on store shelves, but are they actually effective in protecting your kids? 

Not really: Studies have begun to show that bug zappers kill about every bug but mosquitoes. Even good bugs like ladybugs and butterflies fall prey to bug zappers, but not mosquitoes.

Plus, a whole bunch of bug zappers that just release an unhealthy stream of chemicals with every deadly zap: no, thanks. Citronella candles have also been found to be utterly ineffective. 

As parents, we at The Natural Patch Co. know that we want the world to be gentle to our children. While we can’t eliminate every mosquito from the face of the earth, we can use BuzzPatch. 

BuzzPatch is a fun emoji sticker that uses essential oils to mask the smell of our babies so that mosquitoes will never be able to find them. But don’t worry; it doesn’t smell gross like those sprays and zappers.

Nope: BuzzPatch smells pleasant (but only to us people). For babies under two, you will just need to place one sticker on their little onesie. Then, you can go about your family adventures!

What If My Baby Has Already Been Bitten?

Do not panic. The truth is they will probably be fine. You just need to take a deep breath and keep a good eye on all their bites and remember to apply some type of anti-itch relief. If your baby is acting unwell or displaying any concerning signs or symptoms, go to your healthcare provider as soon as possible. 

If your baby is fine and just going crazy from the itching (we can already hear the crying, poor thing!), we have the solution here.

At The Natural Patch Co., we made an itch relief patch that is 100% safe for your baby, but strong enough for an adult. Fun fact (or gross fact): the itch that comes after a mosquito bite is actually from the pesky bug’s saliva. 

MagicPatch is a sticker that, instead of sticky cream or lotion, simply uses its grid-relief technology to target the mosquito saliva and lift it from the skin. Ta-da: no more itch. 

You just need one patch per mosquito bite! Each MagicPatch lasts up to seven days. Guess what? It is also waterproof, so forget about having to reapply every few hours. Save yourself a whole box of bandaids and stock up on the easy-to-use product. 

The Safest Solution

Parents are always prepared (well, we try anyway).

Keep your choice of mosquito repellent on hand along with the bottle and rattle. Remember to also have a good supply of whatever anti-itch treatment you find is the most useful and check all packaging and labels to ensure your child’s safety. 

If you are going to be outside, then you need a repellent that can be reapplied, like BuzzPatch. Consider all your options, do your research, or reach out to experts near you. Throw your mosquito repellent patches in your diaper bag and never be unprepared again.

 

Sources:

EWG's 2018 Guide to Bug Repellents | Environmental Working Group

Did bug spray melt my watch? | Scout Life Magazine

12 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes | The Spruce

What's Behind Brazil's Alarming Surge in Babies Born with Small Heads | Scientific American