The Dos and Don’ts of Bug Bites and Kids

Dos & Don'ts for Bug Bites with Kids - SavvyMom
girl with mosquito bite, scratching hand has motion blur,

Stop bugging me! Buzz off! Is that the sound of your summer? ‘Tis bug season after all—and whether you’re up to your ears in black flies or swatting around your ankles for mozzies, no one likes to be bugged by bugs. Of course we’re worried about ticks and Lyme Disease, but everyday critters’ bug bites can take a real chunk out of your skin.

Add babies or kids into the mix, and your bug factor goes through the roof, whether it’s the whine of the mosquito (or the whine of the kid with the itchy, scratchy bites) or the worry about the trade-off between nasty things like West Nile Virus and the chemicals in insect repellents.

Never fear. We’ve got the skinny on saving that precious skin against bug bites—some great expert advice from our friends at About Kids Health (and their trusted answers from the Hospital for Sick Children) and some great product solutions too.

Dos & Don’ts for Kids and Bug Bites

The Dos

  • Encourage everyone in the family to wear long sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors in buggy areas
  • Apply any repellent to clothing and shoes, rather than directly on the skin
  • Stay inside during the most active periods for mosquitoes—dawn and dusk
  • Wash off any repellent on the skin once everyone comes indoors (Why? So it’s not continuing to be absorbed into the bloodstream, that’s why.)
  • Apply calamine lotion or a paste of baking soda to the bite or apply firm, steady, sharp pressure (using a finger nail or a pen cap) to the bite for 10 seconds to reduce itchiness from bites

The Don’ts

  • Use insect repellents with DEET concentrations greater than 10% on children (as DEET is absorbed across the skin into the bloodstream and in high concentrations can cause seizures or coma)
  • Use DEET or citronella-based repellents on infants
  • Put any repellent on the hands (to prevent contact with mouth or eyes) or on irritated or sunburned skin (DEET is more easily absorbed in these areas)
  • Apply DEET-based repellents more than every 4 to 8 hours


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