Keeping your family protected against biting mosquitoes and other bugs is important, but not at the cost of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Luckily there are safe bug repellents for kids that do the job without leaving you worrying about what you’re exposing your little ones to.
The Environmental Working Group has just released its recommendations for the best bug repellents for kids. Keep reading to find out the products you should be shopping for this summer.
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The top three EWG recommendations are DEET, Picaridin and IR3535. Yes, you read that right––DEET is included in the EWG’s list. The important factor to note is the concentration level of DEET and the other two ingredients, in any bug repellent product.
According to the EWG, DEET is safe to use as long as you avoid products that are 100 percent concentrated and only use bug repellent with a maximum of 10 percent DEET. The only exception to this limit is if you’re using DEET to protect kids in an area known for ticks’ carrying Lyme disease bacteria or for Zika outbreaks. Then the EWG recommends a DEET concentration of 20 percent to 30 percent.
If you choose products containing Picaridin and IR3535, you should look for bug repellents containing no more than 20 percent of either. The EWG says that Picaridin is a great alternative to DEET because it is less likely to irritate eyes and skin.
The EWG does not recommend the use of “natural repellents” like castor, cedar, citronella, clove, geraniol, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and/or soybean oils because research indicates they are not the best choice.