The warm weather months bring hours upon hours of outdoor play for kids, and as a parent, you breathe easier when your little ones are running carefree through the grass, eliminating your worries of them breaking this or disturbing that. Children are often happiest when playing outside, but you have to be mindful of the unique safety concerns, too, especially when it comes to the little ones. For example, can you use tick repellent on toddlers? If you're raising an explorer, you need to know.
New York pediatrician and mother of two Alison Mitzner tells Romper, "It's important to realize there are many different insect repellents. The repellent that is most effective for ticks is that which contains a product called permethrin. This should only be used on your child’s clothing and not their skin. Be sure to wash off tick repellent completely when coming indoors."
Some parents are not comfortable using such a strong chemical on their children, Mitzner says, and may opt for the more widely used DEET options. "If using a repellent with DEET, you want to have no more than 30 percent DEET as the American Academy of Pediatric states. DEET is safe to use on children over 2 months of age, but it's important to always follow directions. Use only on clothing and exposed skin, and avoid inhalation. For the face, it is best to use by applying to your hands first and then rubbing on skin."
Although repellents with permethrin and DEET have been deemed safe for use on children over 2 months old, many parents still prefer more natural repellents. The Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) suggested that moms and dads who prefer plant-derived materials try repellents made from citronella, lemongrass, and cedarwood. Additionally, the GLA recommended pre-treating the child's clothes with repellent before outdoor play, keeping it off your child's sensitive skin while also keeping ticks at bay.
Whatever avenue you feel comfortable taking, it is important to protect your toddler from disease-carrying insects. Precautions are particularly critical if you'll be in an area known to be insect-ridden, so make a plan and stick to it. (Because nothing kills the free-spirited, outdoor vibe like holding down a wailing 2-year-old while you grab the tweezers.)