Tired of bugs taking bites out of your children this summer and beyond? It can be one of the most irritating disadvantages of this time of year. One of the most common questions I hear from concerned parents is whether they should use products containing DEET.
For tips to educate yourself on what will work best for your family, see the summer tips below published in June 2013 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Avoid the use of scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child.
- Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools
of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.
- Avoid dressing your child in clothing with bright colors or flowery prints.
- To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently back it out by scraping it with a credit card or your fingernail.
***VERY IMPORTANT: Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products should be avoided because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied.
Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related diseases. Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes can transmit West Nile Virus and other viruses.
The current AAP and CDC recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10% to 30% DEET. DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age. The effectiveness is similar for 10% to 30% DEET but the duration of effect varies. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about 2 hours, and 30% protects for about 5 hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage.
The concentration of DEET varies significantly from product to product, so read the label of any product you purchase. Children should wash off repellents when they return indoors. As an alternative to DEET, picaridin has become available in the U.S. in concentrations of 5% to10%.
© American Academy of Pediatrics, June 2013
Dr. Kara Beair, DO, is a Resident Physician in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine
Using DEET on my child has always been a concern of mine and I can never remember if I should or should not use it. Now I know. I hope this information answers your questions about using DEET. Here in Texas, the mosquitoes are quite gruesome right now, so this information has helped me know what exactly to use on my preschooler – and I wanted to share it with my readers.