Some scents such as lemongrass, citronella, cedar, neem, lavender, eucalyptus, and soybean can help repel mosquitoes. Keep in mind that lit candles, incense burners, agarbattis, dhoop or mosquito repellent coils can all look very attractive to a young child.
Mosquitoes are not just annoying; they also cause serious illnesses such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to keep your family safe. Wearing protective clothing, using appropriate insect repellents, keeping your home and surroundings clean and clearing out mosquito breeding areas are effective ways to keep mosquitoes away.
1. Choose clothes that minimise exposure to mosquito bites
One of the most effective ways of preventing mosquito bites is to minimise the area of exposed skin.
Dress your baby in clothing that covers the arms and legs. Shorts, skirts, dresses, capris, sleeveless tops and dresses are best avoided during the mosquito season.
Choose lightweight knits and cotton garments that allow the passage of air while covering the body. Clothes should also have a loose fit, as mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothing.
Younger babies can be dressed in onesies or bodysuits that cover as much of the body as possible. If you’re dressing your baby in a two-piece set, ensure her tummy is well covered with a light inner vest. Or, if possible, tuck the top in the lowers.
You can also tuck pants or lowers into lightweight cotton socks. This way, there will be no gap of exposed skin on the legs. If your child wears shoes, pick closed-toe shoes.
The colours you choose also play a part. Dark colours and floral prints tend to attract insects. It is best to dress your baby in light-coloured clothing. Light colours also keep your baby cool.
2. Use the right, age-appropriate mosquito repellent
Chemical repellents are considered the most effective mosquito repellents available. Most of them are effective for about two to five hours after application, depending on the concentration of the chemical in the product.
Always choose an age-appropriate repellent recommended by your baby’s doctor and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- For babies less than two months of age: Don’t use any repellents. Instead, use mosquito nets and clothing that covers exposed skin as much as possible.
- For babies over two months of age: You could use insect repellent with up to 30 per cent DEET, picaridin, or IR3535. Experts recommend that parents choose the lowest concentration of chemical possible. Keep in mind that a lower concentration of the active ingredient doesn’t mean it’s less effective. It simply means the product won’t keep the insects away for as long.
Learn more about how to select the right mosquito repellent.
3. Install nets and screens to keep mosquitoes at bay
To protect your family from mosquito bites at home, aim to prevent mosquitoes from entering your house.
Bring out the mosquito nets
Mosquito nets can be very effective if used well, and the advantage is that they have no negative health effects. If you share your bed with your baby, you can use a big net over the entire bed. Just make sure to keep nets securely attached. Check to see that no mosquitoes are trapped under the net.
If your baby sleeps in a cot next to your bed, you can use a separate cot net. However, keep in mind that cot nets can become ineffective if you are taking your baby out of her bed to feed or change a nappy several times a night.
Keep your baby’s cot, pram, stroller, and baby carrier covered with mosquito netting at all times, both indoors and outdoors.
Attach mosquito screens on doors and windows
To keep mosquitoes out of your house, install mesh screens on doors and windows.
Nylon insect screens are another good option. These screens are attached to the windows with Velcro and can be regularly removed and washed.
These measures will prevent mosquitoes, bugs and insects from entering your home. And will let you enjoy the benefits of fresh air, day in and out.
Check for holes regularly. Close any gaps in walls, windows or door frames as well. Attach door stopper brushes on doors so that insects and bugs don’t get in from under the doors.
4. Try mosquito-repelling fragrances
You’ll find a range of products, from incense sticks to scented candles and essential oils, that repel mosquitoes and can also help to keep your house mosquito-free and smelling nice.
Some scents such as lemongrass, citronella, cedar, neem, lavender, eucalyptus, and soybean can help repel mosquitoes.
Keep in mind that lit candles, incense burners, agarbattis, dhoop or mosquito repellent coils can all look very attractive to a young child. If your baby touches any of these, she can get a burn. Always make sure it’s kept well out of your baby’s reach. Read more about protecting your baby from burns.
Some products may contain synthetic compounds or a mixture of floral and fruit fragrances that tend to attract mosquitoes and insects. So, as far as possible, try to use fragrance-free lotions, soap, oils, shampoos and toiletries.
5. Don’t rely entirely on home remedies and natural mosquito repellents
Many mums swear by home remedies and natural methods of repelling mosquitoes. Some mums prefer to use homeopathic treatments, while some may choose to use clove-spiked cut lime (laung/nimbu) around their homes. However, there’s not enough evidence to prove how effective these methods are.
If you want to try home remedies, take care to always use other ways of repelling mosquitoes alongside. Use repellents that are applied to the skin, protective clothing and mosquito nets to stay protected.
6. Clear mosquito breeding grounds
It’s important to get rid of any places where mosquitoes thrive. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and can lay their eggs in very small amounts of water.
Make sure that any water tanks, drums and buckets are covered so the mosquitoes can’t get in. Don’t leave water in coolers, AC trays, plant pots, flower vases, indoor plants and pet dishes for too long.
It can take anywhere between seven to 10 days for mosquito eggs to hatch. So, change the water in containers often. Clean all water containers once a week and scrub the sides well.
Add a few drops of kerosene oil to open drains, small ponds and other places where stagnant water remains. The oil forms a thin film over the water and stops mosquitoes from breeding.
Keep your garden, lawn and potted plants well-trimmed. This reduces the areas where mosquitoes could hide.
In many areas and apartment buildings, pest control, spraying or fogging is done regularly to get rid of the mosquitoes. However, you should also check in and around your home to ensure that there’s no standing water or areas where mosquitoes could breed.
7. Learn to recognise and prevent mosquito-borne diseases
Mosquitoes thrive in warm and humid weather, so be extra cautious during these times.
To keep your family safe, learn about the symptoms, treatment and preventative measures against mosquito-borne diseases such as:
What Is The Best Homemade Mosquito Repellent For Babies?
Lemongrass and rosemary oils are well-known for their mosquito repellent property. Take equal amounts of rosemary and lemongrass oil (precisely 10 drops each) to 60 ml of carrier oil, preferably coconut oil. You can apply this mixture evenly over the baby’s body.
How Do I Stop Mosquitoes Biting My Baby At Night?
Use mosquito nets for an added layer of protection when sleeping outdoors or covering strollers and cribs. Cover skin with clothing. Mosquitoes have a harder time biting through clothing, so dress babies and kids in long pants, long sleeves, hats with netting, socks, and closed-toed shoes.