Use insect repellent
Use Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA)-registered insect repellents with
one of the following active ingredients:
DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon
eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol,
or 2-undecanone. Always follow the
product label instructions.
• When used as directed, these insect
repellents are proven safe and effective
even for women who are pregnant or
• Reapply insect repellent as directed.
• Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
• If you are also using sunscreen, apply
• The effectiveness of non-EPA registered
insect repellents, including some natural
repellents, is not known.
If you have a baby or child
• Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2
• Do not use products containing oil of lemon
eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children
younger than 3 years old.
• Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
• Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
• Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes,
mouth, and any cut or irritated skin.
» Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and
then apply to a child’s face.
Treat clothes and gear
• Treat items such as clothing and gear with permethrin
or buy permethrin-treated clothes and gear.
» See product information to find out the number of
washings or length of time the protection will last.
» If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions.
» Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection
Find the insect
repellent that’s right
for you by using
EPA’s search tool*.
Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- The EPA’s search tool is available at: www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-insect-repellent-right-you
CS289371-D September 15, 2017
Accessible Version: https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html
MOSQUITO BITE PREVENTION
Control mosquitoes outside your home
• Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold
water like tires, buckets, and planters.
• Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, rain barrels, etc.).
• For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
• Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and
cannot be covered or dumped out.
• Use an outdoor flying insect spray in dark humid areas where mosquitoes rest, like
under patio furniture, or in the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always
follow label instructions.
• If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes
using wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Control mosquitoes inside your home
• Keep windows and doors shut and use air conditioning when possible.
• Use, install, or repair window and door screens.
• Once a week, empty or throw out any items that hold water like vases and
• Use an indoor flying insect fogger* or indoor insect spray* to kill
mosquitoes and treat areas where they rest. These products work
immediately, but may need to be reapplied. Always follow label directions.
• Only using insecticide will not keep your home free of mosquitoes.
How long it
β-Cyfluthrin 7-10 days
Cypermethrin Up to 6 weeks
Wondering How to Keep Mosquitoes Away from Babies?
- Clothe the Baby from Head-to-Toe. …
- Stay Inside at Dawn, Dusk, and Post-Rainfall. …
- Only Use Baby-Safe Mosquito Repellents. …
- Protect Carriers and Strollers with a Net. …
- Avoid Using Scented Lotions, Soaps, and Perfumes. …
- Stay Away from Popular Mosquito Hangouts.
How the best bug repellents for babies compare
|Natrapel Tick & Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin||$$|
|Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin||$$|
|Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent||$|
|Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent||$$|
The best bug repellents for babies are a great way to keep your little one safe in the outdoors, especially now that summer has arrived. But there are so many brands on the market and all claiming to be the best, what do you choose? We’ve done the research and tested out some of the top-rated repellents on the market in order to bring you our top 10 recommendations.
Finding a mosquito repellent for babies can be difficult, but there are lots of options out there. If you’re wondering what the best bug spray for babies is, we’ve compared the top-rated repellents in this article. We took into account how easy it is to apply, how well it works, and how long it lasts, as well as whether or not they contain DEET. We also considered irritation and allergies that could cause discomfort on your child’s skin. Thanks to their lower toxicity levels and effectiveness against bugs besides just mosquitoes and ticks, some of these insect repellents are better suited for use on children than others.
What Mosquito Repellent is Safe for Babies?
DEET: Considered the gold standard for repelling biting insects, DEET is safe and effective for babies and children 2 months and older, according to the AAP and Centers for Disease Control.
For your baby, an effective insect repellent not only protects them from bites but also makes them less appealing to mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs. Look for a repellent with 20% picaridin or DEET (this ingredient is stronger and offers more protection) to keep your little one safest for longer.
Repelling insects from your baby and from you is important, especially if you want to enjoy the outdoors with peace of mind. The best bug sprays for babies are highly effective, easy-to-use, and made from natural ingredients that wont irritate sensitive skin
Mosquitoes are annoying, but they’re also aggravatingly tough to get rid of. But there are a few mosquito repellents that can help you keep the pests away this summer. These mosquito repellent sprays, creams and lotions are the best options we’ve found for keeping those pesky buggers at bay.
Generally, bug sprays for babies are safer than adult versions but always read the package instructions before you start spraying!
How do I protect my baby from mosquitoes while sleeping?
Mosquito Nets are very effective when it comes to protection against mosquitoes. All you have to do is to ensure that the nets are securely attached. If you baby sleeps with you on your bed, you can use a bigger net covering the entire bed. If your baby sleeps in a cot, use a cot net.
What Keeps Mosquitoes Away For Babies?
Follow these tips to protect your children. Dress them in long, light coloured, loose fitting clothing that covers their arms and legs. Use mosquito-proof mesh on doors and windows so mosquitoes can’t come inside. Use mosquito-proof netting over prams and strollers when outside.
How To Protect Baby From Mosquitoes Naturally
Homemade Mosquito Repellent for Babies
Photo credit: BabyCenter
You’re not the only one who loves your baby’s sweet skin. Head outdoors on a warm summer day, and it might quickly be apparent that mosquitoes or other biting insects are fans too. Fortunately, the right repellant can keep bugs at bay.
Insect repellents or bug sprays are designed to repel bugs that bite, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and biting flies. (Sadly, they’re not effective against stinging insects like bees or wasps.) When used correctly, sprays can help babies and tots avoid itchy or irritating bites, and more importantly, reduce the risk for diseases often transmitted by these pests – including Lyme disease, Zika, and West Nile Virus, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
“I recommend the application of repellent when children are going into an area that has high potential for tick and mosquito bites, like woodsy forest areas, grassy areas, and moist regions where mosquitoes like to breed,” says Robert Hamilton, MD, FAAP, pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
The key is choosing insect repellents made with active ingredients that are both effective and safe for your child’s age, the AAP notes. Common options include:
- DEET: Considered the gold standard for repelling biting insects, DEET is safe and effective for babies and children 2 months and older, according to the AAP and Centers for Disease Control. (DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months.) A product’s concentration of DEET can vary from 10 percent to as high as 50 percent, with higher percentages being effective for longer stretches, however, the AAP recommends sticking with products with a concentration of 30 percent or less. DEET may cause skin irritation in rare instances and can stain clothing. In very rare instances, DEET has the potential to cause adverse nervous system reactions if ingested.
- Picaridin: A synthetic version of a compound found in pepper plants, picaridin was approved in the U.S. in 2012 and has a long history of use in Europe and Australia. Many parents prefer it to DEET because it hasn’t been shown to have a risk of toxicity if ingested, is unlikely to irritate skin, and doesn’t stain clothing. The AAP recommends products made with 10 percent picaridin for children and infants 2 months and older.
- Oil of eucalyptus/P-menthane diol: It can provide several hours of protection against mosquitoes, the AAP notes. The downside: It’s only safe for children ages 3 and up.
- Natural repellents: Essential oils such as catmint or citronella may keep mosquitoes at bay for short periods. They’re considered safe for babies and children, but their efficacy hasn’t been proven and they tend to wear off quickly. Plus, some have the potential to irritate skin.
How we chose the best baby bug sprays
We analyzed reviews in BabyCenter’s Community and combined the results with expert recommendations from groups like the AAP plus our editors’ research and experience to find the insect repellents most recommended by parents. Keep reading to learn our favorite picaridin bug spray for babies and the safest and most effective natural insect repellent. And if you’re heading outdoors, don’t forget the baby-safe sunscreen.
IN THIS ARTICLE
- Best bug spray for babies overall: Off! FamilyCare Insect Repellent Smooth & Dry
- Best picaridin bug spray for babies: Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus
- Best natural bug spray for babies: Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent
- Best insect repellent wipes for babies: Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes
- Best organic bug spray for babies: Badger Anti-Bug Shake and Spray
- Best bug spray for babies overallOff! FamilyCare Insect Repellent Smooth & DryPhoto credit: AmazonADD TO BABY REGISTRY:Add to Amazon registryBUYING OPTIONS:$10Buy at Amazon$7Buy at Target$6Buy at WalmartContaining 15 percent DEET, this easy-to-apply spray can keep pests at bay for up to six hours. The non-greasy formula dries on contact, so your sweetie’s skin won’t feel oily or slippery. Heads up Some users say the spray can leave a white, powdery residue if it gets on clothing.Specs
- Contains 15% DEET
- Aerosol spray
- 4 ounces
- Best picaridin bug spray for babiesAvon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard PlusPhoto credit: AmazonADD TO BABY REGISTRY:Add to Amazon registryBUYING OPTIONS:$22Buy at Amazon$15Buy at AvonMany parents of babies and tots prefer picaridin over DEET, since it’s equally effective but hasn’t shown risks for serious adverse reactions or skin irritations. (But again, these are very rare with DEET.) This picaridin-based spray contains vitamin E and aloe to soothe sensitive skin.Heads up The brand also offers a version of the spray containing SPF for sun protection.Parents say“I really like Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus SPF 30. It’s pretty gentle for baby skin, DEET-free and pretty effective.””I was using Badger, but this year I will be looking at low-dose picaridin products, potentially Avon.”Specs
- Contains 10% picaridin
- Spray pump
- 4 ounces
- Best natural bug spray for babiesBabyganics Natural Insect RepellentPhoto credit: AmazonADD TO BABY REGISTRY:Add to Amazon registryBUYING OPTIONS:$8Buy at Amazon$11Buy at Target$9Buy at WalmartThis DEET- and picaridin-free blend is made with essential oils including citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium. The jury’s still out on whether these ingredients are effective, but some parents say it gets the job done.Heads up The manufacturer recommends reapplying every 90 minutes. Parents say “We use Babyganics sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer and bath soap. It’s an affordable option and we’ve been happy with it overall.”Specs
- Contains essential oil blend
- Pump spray
- 6 ounces (2 ounce size also available)
- Best insect repellent wipes for babiesCutter All Family Mosquito WipesPhoto credit: AmazonADD TO BABY REGISTRY:Add to Amazon registryBUYING OPTIONS:$5Buy at Amazon$10Buy at Walmart$5Buy at Lowe’sThese DEET-containing wipes make it easy to apply repellent exactly where you want it, so there’s less risk of the product getting on your baby’s hands or in her eyes. They come in a resealable pouch, too, that’s easy to toss in your bag. Heads up Each pack contains 15 wipes, so you may go through it quickly. Parents say“I love Cutter All Family insect repellent wipes.”Specs
- Contains 7.15% DEET
- 15 wipes per pack
- Best organic bug spray for babiesBadger Anti-Bug Shake and SprayPhoto credit: AmazonADD TO BABY REGISTRY:Add to Amazon registryBUYING OPTIONS:$11Buy at Amazon$11Buy at Target$9Buy at WalmartCitronella, rosemary, and lemongrass form the base for this certified organic spray, which may provide protection for up to three hours. The lemony scent is nice, too.Heads up Some users complain that it leaves a greasy residue on skin. Specs
- Contains essential oils
- Pump spray
- 4 ounces
- Best bug spray for babies with sensitive skinCalifornia Baby Natural Bug Blend Bug RepellentPhoto credit: AmazonADD TO BABY REGISTRY:Add to Amazon registryBUYING OPTIONS:$21Buy at Amazon$39Buy at California BabyThis DEET-free, essential-oil based blend contains soap bark and vegetable glycerin to soothe and hydrate skin while keeping annoying bugs at bay. Heads up The manufacturer recommends this product for babies 6 months and olderParents say“California Baby makes a special bug spray that’s safe for our LOs. Its completely non-toxic, DEET free, non-chemical, hypoallergenic formula that repels fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies while it soothes existing bites with organic aloe vera, yucca, Irish moss, and herbs that are specific to the healing of the skin. The main ingredients are citronella, lemongrass, and cedar which do not cause harm to humans, pets or the environment.””Living in mosquito land down here in the south, I can tell you that it really does work!”Specs
- Contains essential oils
- Pump spray
- 6.5 ounces
- Best smelling bug spray for babiesBug SootherPhoto credit: AmazonADD TO BABY REGISTRY:Add to Amazon registryBUYING OPTIONS:$10Buy at Amazon$10Buy at WalmartParents can’t get enough of this sweet smelling spray, which has notes of vanilla and lemon. The primary ingredient is lemongrass oil (it’s DEET-free), which hasn’t been proven effective against biting insects. Still, many families find that it works for them.Heads up It can be hard to find in stores outside of the southern states, but you can buy it online. Parents say “You will never use anything else again! It’s the best & I have no guilt using it on my babies.””Look up Bug Soother. It’s awesome. All natural. And actually works. Also it smells like a chai latte.”Specs
- Contains lemongrass essential oil
- Pump spray
- 8 ounces
- How to apply insect repellent to your baby or childGetting the application right ups the odds that a spray will actually banish bugs. More importantly, it’ll keep your little one safe, particularly when it comes to products containing DEET. Keep these tips in mind:
- Use the lowest concentration of DEET that you can. Sprays with 30 percent DEET concentration or less are considered safe for infants and children over 2 months. But you don’t need to go that high. Choose a lower concentration, like 10 percent, if you’ll only be outside for an hour or two. Save the more powerful stuff for when you’ll be outside in buggy areas for longer stretches.
- Apply spray outside. Spraying in an open area helps your baby (and you) avoid breathing in the spray.
- Only apply spray to exposed skin and clothing (but avoid your baby’s hands). Concentrate on the areas where bugs are most likely to bite and steer clear of spraying elsewhere (like legs in long pants). Never apply insect repellent to your baby’s hands, which can put her at risk for ingesting the repellent.
- Don’t spray directly on your baby’s face. Spray repellent on your hands and rub it onto your baby’s face, avoiding her eyes and mouth.
- Don’t overdo it. Once you’ve covered your baby’s exposed skin (and clothing, if you’d like), stop spraying. More spray doesn’t offer more protection. Also, avoid using DEET-based sprays more than once a day.
- Steer clear of DEET/SPF combos. SPF needs to be reapplied frequently, while DEET should only be used once a day.
- Wash up when you come inside. Pop your little one in the bath to wash off any lingering spray and toss her clothes in the wash.
- Avoid insect repellents, especially those containing DEET for infants under 2 months.
BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.
AAP. 2021. American Academy of Pediatrics. Choosing an Insect Repellent for Your Child. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Insect-Repellents.aspx [Accessed May 2022]
Nemours. 2019. Are Insect Repellents With DEET Safe for Kids? https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/repellent.html [Accessed May 2022]