Current Environment:

Bug Spray

Warmer weather provides more opportunity for children to get outside and enjoy the fresh air with family and friends. Warmer weather also means exercising more caution outdoors.

Mosquitos and ticks can spread illnesses including Lyme Disease, West Nile Disease, and Zika. The proper use of insect repellent can help keep insects away, lowering your risk of potential illness. Remember, insect repellents only keep away insects that bite - not insects that sting.

Details on DEET

DEET is safe for use on children over 2 months of age. Be sure to read the label and follow all instructions, applying the product only to areas of exposed skin.

Take a look at the concentration of DEET in the products you buy. The concentration indicates how long the product will be effective; A higher concentration works for a longer time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a concentration of no more than 30%.

In addition to DEET, picaridin-containing products are also considered safe and effective by the EPA. Natural repellents may be used if there is no concern about getting a serious insect-borne illness. Wristbands soaked in chemical repellents and ultrasonic devices have not been proven effective against mosquitoes.


  • Choose products in the form of sticks, lotions or unpressurized sprays.
  • Only apply insect repellents on the outside of your child’s clothing and on exposed skin - not under clothing.
  • Wash your children’s skin with soap and water to remove any repellent after returning indoors: wash their clothing before they wear it again.
  • Keep repellents out of young children’s reach to reduce the risk of unintentional ingestion.


  • Never apply insect repellent to children younger than 2 months of age. Instead, use mosquito netting over baby carriers or strollers in areas where your baby may be exposed to insects.
  • Avoid applying repellent to children’s hands; children sometimes put hands in their mouth and eyes.
  • Never spray insect repellent directly onto your child’s face. Instead, spray a little on your hands first and then rub it on your child’s face. Avoid the eyes and mouth.
  • Do not spray insect repellent on cuts, wounds, or irritated skin.
  • Do not use products that combine DEET with sunscreen. These products can overexpose your child to DEET because the sunscreen needs to be reapplied more often.


Last Updated 7/9/2021

Source American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health and Climate Change (Copyright © 2021)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.