Summer is just around the corner, and of course, nothing beats a nice picnic in the backyard or BBQ dinners with the kids in the summer. The outdoors though are not that kind—bugs are always biting and you need to keep these nasties at bay. Keep your kids safe from insects and insect-related health conditions by stocking up on safe bug repellents. Your kids deserve the best, so here are some effective insect repellents that will help deter these annoyances.
- How do bug repellents work?
Answer: Insect or bug repellents are designed to stop bites from insects that bite, not insects that sting. It fends off biting insects like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, gnats and chiggers. Biting insects like mosquitoes are attracted to the smells and the carbon dioxide present in humans’ breath. Insect repellent contains active ingredients to deter biting insects from getting in contact with human skin. For longer-lasting protection, some products have a higher rate of these active ingredients.
- What active ingredients are used in bug repellents?
Answer: Active insect repellent ingredients include DEET, which is the most popular choice since it is safe for children as young as 2 months. Picaridin is another ingredient and it’s available in either 5 percent or 10 percent concentrations. Natural options are used as well; plant oils like citronella, peppermint, cedarwood and lemongrass are often found in organic bug repellents.
- What is the proper way to apply bug repellent?
Answer: To use it properly, make sure to follow the instructions for application of the product. In general, only apply the repellent on exposed skin. Avoid areas like the hands and the eyes. Insect repellent should never be applied on wounds, cuts or irritated skin. Do not combine it with sunscreen because it weakens its SPF (or sun protection factor). Always wash your hands following an application.
Our Top Picks
OFF! Family Care Insect & Mosquito Repellent
- Contains 15% DEET
- Lasts up to 6 hours
- Repels Zika/dengue/West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes
- Repels gnats, ticks, fleas, chiggers and biting flies
Protecting your entire family from the discomfort and diseases brought on by virus-carrying mosquitoes has never been better, thanks to the wonders of the OFF! Family Care Insect & Mosquito Repellent. Guaranteed one of the most effective and a persistent bestseller, the formula never fails to offer protection for both adults and children. Whether you’re enjoying the great outdoors or staying in screenless homes, its 15% DEET formula will fend off irritating bloodsuckers. Smooth spray and non-greasy formula also add more to its list of advantages.
REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
- Plant-based, DEET-free formula
- Keeps away insects up to 6 hours
- Cool, invigorating scent
- Effective against Zika/dengue/West Nile and Chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes
If you want plant-based bug repellents for your family, the better choice would be this Repel variant. It’s a nice formula to apply in the summer since it’s not sticky nor greasy plus it has a cool, sunny scent that is quite refreshing too. Unlike chemical-based repellents, this product relies on the benefits of lemon eucalyptus to provide protection against bugs that bite. A promising natural alternative for DEET and Picaridin repellents.
Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin Spray
- Contains 10% Picaridin
- Contains aloe and Vitamin E
- Safe for children
Avon’s Skin-So-Soft is a veteran in the world of bug sprays—the line has been acclaimed for decades due to its tenacious formula that keeps away bloodsuckers anywhere you go. The Bug Guard Plus Picaridin Spray has a formula that contains 10% Picaridin, aloe and Vitamin E. This means you will not only get ample protection from biting insects; you will also have skin that’s soft and smooth with regular application of the spray. Another advantage of this repellent is its clean, fresh smell.
Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray
- All-natural bug repellent formula
- Vegan product
- Portable and easy to carry
Effective natural, vegan insect repellents are widely available these days. Brands like Badger with their Anti-Bug Shake & Spray offers all-natural alternatives for those who aren’t keen on chemical-based products. The spray contains pure essential oils like rosemary, citronella and lemongrass to not only protect your family from a bug invasion, it also gives off a pleasant fragrance to refresh and relax. Now, a night dining outdoors or camping in the backyard is made more exciting with some help from this all-natural marvel.
Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent
- DEET-free formula
- Non-greasy and non-sticky
- Has cool, revitalizing scent
- Protects against disease-carrying mosquitoes
Coleman is a trusted brand for outdoor products, so naturally they came up with their own line of insect repellents to supplement their quality gear. This one applies in a snap and it protects by way of lemon eucalyptus. The scent is bracing and it does not reek of typical bug spray smells. Most importantly though, this helps safeguard users from mosquitoes carrying Zika, chikungunya, West Nile and dengue viruses. Carry this travel-friendly item with you anywhere you go this summer.
SALLYEANDER No-Bite-Me Natural Bug Repellent & Anti Itch Cream
- All-in-one formula
- Contains 16 essential oils
- 100% hypoallergenic and handmade product
This best-selling insect repellent gets lots of praises due to its efficient all-in-one formula; aside from fending off biting bugs, it also soothes and heals insect bites. This 100 percent handmade, hypoallergenic, natural and DEET-free formula contains a whopping 16 essential oils from insect-deterring lemongrass and cedar, soothing rosemary and fragrant clove. Deters nasties like mosquitoes, black flies, ticks and fleas up to 4 hours.
Choosing the right insect repellent for your kids can be a confusing task, thus this guide was made to inform consumers about its workings and benefits. Stocking up on effective insect repellents is a wise move for parents since it not only makes staying outdoors more comfortable for their kids, it also protects them from the unwanted effects of diseases that come from biting insects. All of the products in this list are successful in deterring bloodsuckers—just choose one and your family will be good to go.