What should you look for in an insect repellent for babies? After all, mosquitos and other insects are pesky enough around adults, even more so for babies. Naturally, you’ll want to avoid your baby being bitten – particularly if you’re in an area where there is dengue or other nasties around. (Don’t forget – if you’re a pregnant mama-to-be you’ll want to heed the warnings about Zika virus, which is now thought to be risky for unborn babies.)

Why fabric is a good insect repellent for babies.

  1. Just like adults, your best barrier is clothing.  Long sleeves and long pants are a great idea, but if there are mosquitos about, it’s likely to be hot, so that may be easier than it sounds.
  2. For night times, buy a mosquito net that fits over your travel cot.  These aren’t cheap (around $100 plus), but they’re a great barrier. A permethrin-treated net will go the extra mile here.

Other ideas to repel mosquitos and insects from your baby.

While we’ve heard parents swear by the remedies below, there’s one problem: not everyone agrees on which work/don’t work. Be prepared for a little trial and error.

  • Stickers called “mosquito bands” (buy from a baby shop or the chemist) – these are wrist bands you put on your baby and also sticky patches to put on your cot, pram or high chair.
  • Citronella patches  that stick onto clothing. The “Tigerbalm” brand has a strongish version of this.
  • Moo Goo tail swat body spray – reapply regularly but it works. (DEET free.)
  • MOOV has a bunch of natural products.
  • We know we said it above, but don’t forget a mosquito net over the cot!  (The Phil and Ted’s traveller cot actually has a mosquito net built in – so if you think you’ll be travelling in mossie prone areas, this can be a good option.)

DEET or no DEET?

Parents have differing opinions about whether you should use a product containing DEET on a baby and we’re not touching that one with a barge pole 🙂  If you do, definitely choose one with low DEET percentage (ie: 10%, versus 50%).  You’ll have to reapply it more frequently, but if you do, it will be just as effective as the higher percentage product.

Other (non baby specific) ideas to repel mosquitos include:

  • Citronella candles. (Some say this works, others don’t) – be aware of reactions to citronella.
  • Sandlewood candles.
  • Noise ‘emitting’ devices (the jury is out on if these work or not).
  • In Australia, some parents have had success with a product called Mosi guard (DEET free).
  • Burt’s Bees brand makes a repellant you might like to try.
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Aussie journalist, travel writer and founder of babieswhotravel.com Sue White has always been a traveller. When her son was born, Sue knew her travel itch would still need regular scratching. But how do you travel with a baby under one and still have a good time? Is it even possible? Where do busy new parents discover practical tips to support those first few trips? To find out, Sue and her baby son travelled both Australia and Europe doing house sits and house swaps; cat sitting and car journeys; took on 24 hours flights and short domestic jaunts; travelled with friends, solo and family members; and cycled, drove, flew and train-ed around seven countries, all before his first birthday. Learn more about Sue.

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