DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a common ingredient found in insect repellent. DEET containing products should not be applied to children under two months of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that products for children should contain no more than 30 percent DEET. Always read repellent labels carefully and be sure to follow all directions and precautions. Apply repellent to clothing or exposed skin only once outdoors. Use only enough cover exposed skin as more repellent does not make it more effective. Be sure to wash off the repellent using soap and water and wash sprayed clothing before the children wear them again.
Some potential dangers of insect bites are Lyme disease, transmitted by ticks and encephalitis, transmitted by mosquitos. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, DEET repels ticks for about two to ten hours and mosquitoes from two to twelve hours depending on the percentage of DEET in the product.
Children who have been outside in areas where ticks may be present should be checked by an adult from head to toe so that all ticks can be removed.
To remove a tick, use tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick out straight. Use soap and water to wash the area. To dispose of the tick, place it in a plastic bag and seal it. Before throwing it away, contact the child’s parents and/or pediatrician to determine if the child should be examined or monitored, or if the tick should be tested. Many communities offer tick testing at no cost to residents. Tick testing can provide information regarding what types of bacteria the tick may have been carrying.
Protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats, socks, and shoes also protect children from both sun exposure and insect bites.