How and When to Safely Use Bug Repellent on Your Baby

You use bug spray with DEET on your own skin, but when is bug repellent safe for your baby? 

Bug Spray on Baby Jes2u.photo/Shutterstock
If you have a newborn in the summer, it can be concerning to take him outside. It's hot, sunny, and buggy and you're not quite sure what protection is appropriate or safe for his sensitive skin. 

So when is it safe to use bug repellent on a baby? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises not to use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Before that age, the CDC suggests you dress your baby in clothing that covers his arms and legs and cover the stroller or baby carrier with mosquito netting. 

Once your child is 2 months old and able to wear insect repellent, the one you choose should contain no more than 30% DEET, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Even though the AAP considers products with 30% DEET safe, they still contain strong chemicals, so you should take the following precautions when using them, especially on kids:

• Read labels carefully and follow all directions and precautions.
• Spray repellents in open areas to avoid breathing them in.
• Don't spray bug repellents directly on your child's face. Spritz them on your hands and then rub onto your child's skin and clothes. Avoid the eyes and mouth.
• Don't use bug spray on broken, irritated, or inflamed skin.
• Don't use products containing DEET more than once a day.