Best Baby Friendly Mosquito Repellents
With the recent Zika virus scare combined with every other harmful illness out there, it’s natural for expecting mothers to also get anxious about chemical-based preventative measures including bug repellents. To put your mind at ease, we will be analyzing my top picks for baby-friendly mosquito repellents.
What defines a baby-friendly repellent?
When I refer to baby-friendly repellent, I am acknowledging application to both a pregnant woman and directly to a newborn’s skin. I was surprised to learn that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has recognized DEET as a safe repellent chemical for both babies and pregnant women in specified doses.
An alternative, but also effective, chemical is called Picaridin. Additional chemicals that have been found safe for pregnant women, nursing moms, and newborns include lemon eucalyptus oils and IR3535.
Although repellent ingredients themselves determine the safety of a product, it is also important to remember that inaccurately following application instructions can be just as dangerous.
Why buy natural repellents over chemical repellents?
If a pregnant woman, their spouse, or a newborn is living in or is obligated to travel to a country with known strains of Zika, then the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends using a DEET-based repellent (20-30% potency). If you’re looking for repellent for outdoor activities such a short hike or a camping trip in Zika-free areas, then natural repellents may be beneficial.
There is still some plausible arguments that chemicals such as DEET and Picaridin are harmful to the environment and to people in inappropriate doses.
What natural ingredients are being used?
Here is a list of 10 natural ingredients that are frequently used in non-chemical based bug repellents.
- Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
- Lavender Flowers
- Cinnamon Oil
- Thyme Oil
- Greek Catnip Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Neem Oil
Note that according to WebMD, lemon eucalyptus oil should not be used on children under the age of 3. Additionally, WebMD defines the ingredient IR3535 as a natural repellent ingredient that has been approved by the EPA for years.
How long do natural products last?
The duration of natural repellents working really depends on the natural ingredients (and potency) being used. For example, IR3535 can provide up to 2 hours protection. Catnip oil, according to the EPA, can provide up to 7 hours of protection when applied correctly.
When bug repellents are combined with sunscreen, ingredients can either breakdown or absorb into the skin faster. According to Web MD, combining sunscreen with DEET-based repellents forces the skin to absorb the chemical 3 times faster which can cause adverse health problems.
In summary, it is important to realize that combining sunscreen with any type of repellent (natural or chemical) may overall reduce the effectiveness of both products.
What kind of controversy has come up about natural repellents?
Of course, like any natural product, there are concerns floating around in the internet ether about whether or not natural repellent ingredients are as effective as chemical ingredients like DEET. Natural ingredients like lemon eucalyptus have been found effective, but not necessarily equivalent to DEET.
Additionally, some clinicians have found adverse reactions to lemon eucalyptus and other natural ingredients when taken inappropriately (by mouth).
Lavender oil is commonly used in natural repellents, but there is also research that it causes adverse hormonal reaction in boys including breast development.
Here are 5 baby-friendly mosquito repellents, each revealing pros and cons about using each product:
Top 5 Baby Friendly Mosquito Repellent's
The Simber mosquito sticker is a good product for places with not too many Mosquito's. The Non-Toxic ingredients do offer up to 72 hours of protection. However if your child loves running and being active the sticker seems to fall of easy depending what kind of clothing you apply it to.
This mosquito repellent is for everyone who is looking for the extra vitamin 3 and aloe in it. Vitamin E is known to remove scars and heal wounds and is great against treating sunburn. It's also DEET free & non-greasy, so your whole family can use it!
Babyganic's offers an awesome bug repellent and sunscreen that is perfect for swimming days. The spray is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and can be reapplied as needed. The spray is easy and quick to apply and offers and SPF 50 sunscreen. The best thing is that the bug repellent and sunscreen come in different bottles, so you get 2 things for the price of 1!
If you live in a tree friendly area that's not packed with mosquito's and other little bugs, then this is your go to. The honest company bug repellent offers a DEET free solution using natural ingredients to keep bugs off your child. If you plan a walk in the forest, with not too much sunshine, I would recommend using this spray. It's not combined with a sunscreen meaning the effectiveness of the bug repellent will be enhanced because it's not mixed with a sunscreen.
It's to be said that Johnson's baby cream oil has natural bug repellent properties. Although there is no information of how long the effectiveness lasts I would not recommend using this baby oil cream in an area that is densely populated by mosquito's. Although it is not advertised as a bug repellent, there is a lot of feedback stating that it keeps those little bugs off your child.
As a young mom, I have a legitimate concern about both sunburns and bug bites infesting my little kid’s skin. If I wanted to use one or both products, then both options are available to me in one pack. As adorable as the sticker repellents appear to be, my kiddo will rip those off in an instant.
Any lotions that are advertised as a sunscreen-repellent combination or just simply a moisturizer with no repellent properties is personally a waste of time for me. Although the Babyganics repellent is not recommended for babies under the age of 6 months…I can live with that. I didn’t regularly have a newborn outside, and if I did he was covered in a shaded area or wore protective clothing.