As summer beckons, expect children to participate in outdoor activities and out-of-town trips. In most tropical countries, prolonged sun exposure isn’t the only thing parents worry about.
Equally concerning are mosquitoes that leave children uncomfortable bites and may carry mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever, Zika virus, malaria, Chikungunya, and West Nile virus. Parents have to stock insect repellent products to dodge them, including mosquito sticker patches such as BuzzPatch, lotions, wipes, candles, bands, and sprays.
Before rushing to the nearest drugstore, read on for crucial points in choosing a mosquito sticker for your kids.
What is a mosquito sticker?
In addition to insect repelling lotions and sprays, mosquito sticker products are now offered for children’s use. These items protect your children from mosquitoes by emitting a scent that disorients these disease vectors. For instance, natural essential oils, those coming from citronella, mask the carbon dioxide given off by our little ones, shielding them from mosquitoes.
A mosquito sticker is pasted on a child’s clothes to activate its insect-fighting properties. It can be used in conjunction with other products. And as there’s no one-size-fits-all rule to guarantee zero bites, also take items like MagicPatch before leaving the house. These itch-fighting stickers naturally relieve discomfort caused by insect bites.
Three considerations in choosing your kid’s mosquito repellent
Safety should be your priority when it comes to your children. Some insect repellents contain synthetic chemicals, so care should prevent these products from harming your munchkins. Here are some suggestions for effectively keeping your children safe and free from mosquito bites.
- Pick products with natural ingredients
A mosquito sticker contains insect-repelling ingredients which may be synthetic or natural. It’s best to choose natural and organic products that boast natural oils such as citronella, peppermint, and lemongrass as the most common ingredients. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is deemed safe for young children older than three years old. (1)
Natural oils may also effectively ward off these pesky insects. Besides the three natural oils mentioned earlier, other natural insect repellants are lavender, lemon eucalyptus, thyme, cinnamon, neem, Greek catmint, geraniol, and soybean can be mixed with other topical products or applied directly on the skin to protect your children from insect bites. (2)
2. Know which active ingredients are safe
Today, most products widely used on the market contain two active ingredients: DEET and picaridin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, products containing the following chemicals are safe and effective with proper use:
- Diethyltoluamide (DEET)
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved DEET use for several years, including on children. Few users have reported skin irritation as an adverse effect of DEET on rare occasions. (3)
Picaridin is widely used worldwide and is also known as KBR 3023 or icaridin. (4)
This relatively-safe chemical is known as ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate or EBAAP. Apart from repelling mosquitoes, this compound is also effective against ticks and head lice without being environmentally harmful.
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)/ Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus or P-menthane diol (PMD) is taken from the Australian lemon-scented gum tree. The CDC had endorsed this plant-based chemical as a non-DEET mosquito repellent in 2005.
Methyl nonyl ketone and IBI-246 are also known as 2-Undecanone. This organic compound is colorless and may be sourced from plants or produced in the lab.
When choosing an effective product, look for insect repellents with at least 10% Picaridin and DEET content. Don’t forget always to follow the instructions on the label. (4)
3. Choose one with long-lasting protection
In the summer, kids need long-term protection to enjoy outdoor activities. Whether participating in children’s summer camps, outdoor camping, or barbecue nights, their mosquito sticker must withstand hours of exposure.
Generally, purely organic compounds are less long-lasting than their synthetic counterparts and will have to be reapplied or replaced often. In addition, higher concentrations of active ingredients mean lengthier protection.
Check the mosquito sticker’s packet to know how long it can protect your child. Lotions, sprays, and candles last for up to six hours, while other products could last for three days.
A word of caution
Mosquito repellents with DEET content of up to 30% may be used for infants more than two months old, as approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The organization also advises parents to use insect repellents with 10% picaridin. (5)
However, be wary of using the oil of lemon eucalyptus in young children. The AAP discourages parents from using this plant-based compound for children under three years old because of the absence of studies to back its safety on kids in this age group. Additionally, it’s better to avoid sun and mosquito protection products. An insect repellent reduces the efficacy of sunscreen. And because DEET-filled repellents should be used sparingly, it runs counter to sunshield application, which should be done every few hours. (5)
To sum it up….
Choosing the safest and most effective item for your little one with a wide range of products can be challenging. Luckily, this article discussed some points to provide you with enough confidence to choose the best mosquito sticker that is safe and effective for your kids.
- “What You Need to Know About Insect Repellent for Kids”, Source: https://www.consumerreports.org/insect-repellent/insect-repellent-for-kids-a2054067274/
- “10 Natural Ingredients That Repel Mosquitoes”, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/kinds-of-natural-mosquito-repellant#lavender
- “Insect repellents-guidelines for safe use”, Source: https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Insect_repellents_guidelines_for_safe_use/
- “Are Insect Repellents With DEET Safe for Kids?”, Source: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/repellent.html
- “Keeping Mosquitoes Away: Insect repellent and Children”, Source: https://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/keeping-mosquitoes-away-insect-repellent-and-children/