Protecting your baby from insect bites

To protect children under age 2 from insect bites, you can

  • Put a mosquito net over your child’s stroller
  • Dress your child in light or khaki coloured lightweight clothing made of a closely knit fabric that is closed at the neck, wrists, ankles, and waist
  • Put a hat or cap on her head and cover the back of her neck if necessary
  • Keep your child indoors when mosquitoes are most active (sunrise and sunset)

Insect repellent must be used with caution and only if there is a high risk of insect bite complications. For instance, you may decide to use it if your child is allergic to bites or there is a chance she could contract a mosquito-borne disease while travelling abroad.

Under 6 months – Do not use any insect repellent.

6 months to 2 years – Icaridin-, DEET-, and soybean oil–based products protect against mosquito bites. Icaridin and DEET also offer protection against ticks. Do not use products containing more than 20% icaridin, 10% DEET, or 2% soybean oil.

Apply a small amount once daily to body parts exposed to the air. Do not apply to the face or hands. The product may be applied to your child’s hat or cap, depending on the fabric. When protection is no longer needed, wash all skin that was in contact with insect repellent with soap and water.

Good to know...

Avoid combination insect repellent/sunscreen products because sunscreen should be applied more generously and more often than insect repellent.

Start with sunscreen, wait 30 minutes to let it absorb, then apply the insect repellent to limit its absorption into your skin.

Citronella and lavender oil-based repellents as well as citronella-scented eucalyptus products are not recommended for children under 2 because they are not effective for very long.

To learn about insect bite first aid, see the Insect bites.