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12 Best Bug Sprays for Babies: Review Guide

by  Katie -  Last updated on December 16, 2020
Best Bug Sprays for Babies

Last Updated on December 16, 2020

Which are the best bug sprays for babies?

What insect repellent is safe for your child?

Which bugs do they keep away?

These are crucial questions.

Illnesses like Zika and Lyme disease are on the rise.

They’re all transmitted by mosquito or tick bites.

Then, there are rumors about mosquito repellent being toxic for children.

It’s scary when you want to protect your kids but you don’t know what to use.

Today, you’ll find out whether DEET is safe for babies.

Also, you’ll discover what other effective insect repellents exist.


Quick Comparison

If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here are our top picks.

Top Bug Sprays for Babies In 2021

1. Cutter All Family Insect Repellent Pump Spray

Cutter bug spray offers a mild DEET solution that defends against mosquitoes, ticks, flies, chiggers, gnats, and fleas.

It’s good for everyone in the family, including babies.

The repellent is a thin liquid bottled with a pump sprayer.

Truthfully, I prefer this over an aerosol because it provides better control.

And here’s a fun fact: this insect repellent will last for years without expiring. Store it in a cool dark place.

But there is one catch when it comes to DEET.

No matter how weak the concentration, DEET may damage some synthetic fabrics, plastic, leather, and painted surfaces. It won’t hurt nylon, wool, or cotton.

2. Cutter 95838, Family Mosquito Wipes

If your diaper bag is already crowded, bring along these wipes instead of a bottle.

Each one is impregnated with the lowest concentration of 7.15% percent DEET, which means it is not deet-free. It repels mosquitoes for up to two hours and is the best insect repellent wipe out there and works great outdoors.

This bug spray smells nice and won’t leave the skin sticky or greasy.

Each resealable pack contains fifteen towelettes.

Again, this is a product that protects against biting flies, chiggers, fleas, ticks, gnats and mosquitoes.

3. OFF! Deep Woods Variety Pack

Pretty much everyone recognizes the brand name OFF! It has a good reputation.

You can choose from aerosol, pump spray, or wipes.

This variety pack includes the pump spray and a couple of towelettes.

The formula of this bug spray has 25% DEET, which means it gives you up to 8 hours of protection against bugs and is not deet-free. We feel these bug repellents are perfect for your little one.

4. OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent IV

Instead of liquids or sprays, try a lotion. It tends to last longer, and it’s straightforward to apply with less mess.

This repellent has 7% DEET.

It has no obvious fragrance, just a masking fragrance to dampen the chemical odor. It also repels mosquitoes for up to six hours and has a nice, refreshing scent.

Moreover, this bug spray contains aloe to benefit the skin. We feel these bug repellents are perfect for your little one.

5. OFF! Family Care Insect Repellent II

Let’s switch gears for just a moment and look at the OFF! Picaridin bug repellent.

It has a 5% concentration to deter biting insects like mosquitoes.

Make sure to keep in mind that this is also suitable for sensitive skin.

When you apply it according to the instructions, the bug spray keeps the insects from being attracted to your baby’s skin.

Fortunately, it doesn’t feel oily or greasy and keeps mosquitoes away.

Plus, unlike DEET, it won’t harm plastics, painted surfaces, or synthetic materials.

6. Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin

Consumer Reports was pleased with this insect repellent back in 2016. They called this bug spray the “Fisherman’s Formula.”

It’s a non-greasy lotion that protects up to 14 hours against deer ticks, flies, gnats or mosquitoes and is perfect to protect the baby’s skin.

This non-greasy repellent also defends against gnats, chiggers, sand flies, and biting flies for up to 8 hours and it smells great.

In other words, it will keep your child safe from the Zika virus and malaria, among other illnesses.

It’s fragrance-free, and it won’t damage fabrics or other surfaces, and repels mosquitoes for up to 14 hours.

7. Sawyer Products Premium Controlled-Release Insect Repellent Lotion

Here’s a bug repellent that’s sweat-proof.

This bug spray defends against mosquitoes and ticks for up to eleven hours.

It’s also odorless and not sticky or greasy. It also repels mosquitoes for up to six hours and has a nice, refreshing scent.

Make sure to keep in mind that this is also suitable for sensitive skin and keeps you away from bug bites, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Feel free to use it over the top of sunscreen.

Lotions last longer than sprays, although they aren’t good for applying on clothing.

The manufacturer recommends increasing the safe zone around the body by applying a spray to the clothing and the lotion to the exposed skin.

8. Ben’s 30% DEET Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent

This is a bug spray (not an aerosol) with the maximum recommended concentration for babies.

At this potency, it protects against arachnids and airborne pests for about 8 hours.

The 30 percent DEET concentration also happens to be the minimum that the CDC recommends for defense against biting insects.

What’s more, this is a water-based formula that sits on the surface of the skin. It doesn’t get absorbed into the body.

Since it’s fragrance-free, it’s more pleasant for sensitive noses.

9. Ranger Ready Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin Mist Spray Bottle, Scent Zero

At 20% concentration, Picaridin bug spray keeps mosquitoes and ticks away for 12 hours.

But you’ll need to renew it after 8 hours to prevent fleas, chiggers, gnats, and flies from biting.

This is a pump spray with a fine mist. You can put it on your child’s skin or their clothing and stroller.

It’s odorless and not greasy and are perfect to keep your baby free from bug bites and repels mosquitoes for up to 12 hours.

Take note that the manufacturer recommends this product for children that are at least one year of age. But it should be safe for pregnant women.

10. Avon Skin so Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin Insect Repellent

Avon’s insect repellent towelettes contain an unspecified amount of Picaridin.

There are eight inside the reclosable bag.

Although the active ingredient is considered non-toxic, it’s a good idea not to put it on the skin that your baby will put in his mouth.

11. Natrapel Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent Wipes

These wipes have 20% Picaridin, the minimum recommended by the CDC to prevent diseases like West Nile virus.

It’s also the maximum concentration for your child. We feel this is the best bug spray out there.

Each towelette is individually wrapped. It has a floral fragrance. These bug repellent sprays also contain essential oils.

To avoid adverse reactions, don’t put on the repellent spray more than twice a day. Also, keep it off sunburned or injured skin.

12. Repel HG-94119 Sportsman Insect Stick

Instead of liquids, sprays, and lotions, try this stick applicator which gives hours of protection.

It has 30% DEET to protect up to eight hours against biting bugs. These bug repellent sprays also contain essential oils.

It’s considered safe for babies who are 2 months and older.

13. California Baby Plant-based Natural Bug Repellant Spray

If you’ve already searched for natural bug sprays for babies, you might’ve seen this plant-based product.

California Baby makes a variety of things for infants, from shampoo to sunscreen and lotion.

Therefore, you might be inclined to try this natural bug spray on your children.

After all, this natural bug spray is described as a safe, natural alternative to DEET.

But some cons might change your mind.

First, you’ll need to reapply this natural insect repellent spray every twenty minutes or so to keep the insects away.

This plant-based repellent spray contains essential oils like lemongrass, citronella, and cedar. These give it an appealing scent that allegedly repels bugs.

The problem is that as soon as the scent fades, the bugs come back.

If you’re in an area where bug-borne diseases are a significant risk, I wouldn’t bet your child’s safety on this.

14. Avon Skin so Soft Bug Guard PLUS IR3535 Insect Repellent Lotion – SPF 30

Moms and dads can benefit from bug spray as well.

It’s like herd immunity.

Avon’s combination of sunscreen and insect repellent spray is very convenient for adults and children. It saves space when you’re packing for a day at the park or the beach.

The lotion is water-resistant and non-greasy. It leaves the skin soft and lightly fragranced.

The ingredient that repels bugs is IR3535, which is considered safe for babies. These bug repellent sprays also contain essential oils. We feel this is one of the best bug sprays for babies as well as for the whole famaily.

It’s considered safe for babies who are 2 months and older.

The only downside of these bug sprays is that it contains chemical UV filters. It’s not a mineral sunscreen. Consequently, I don’t feel confident recommending it to babies.

15. The Original Drawstring Baby Mosquito Net

If you’d prefer to avoid chemicals altogether, get a mosquito net.

Of course, once your child starts to crawl and walk, they probably won’t want to stay put, and you’ll need a different solution.

In the meantime, I wish that all newborns and infants had access to a product like this.

The net measures 46 x 53 inches. That size allows it to fit over pretty much every stroller or car seat. Then, use the elastic drawstring to close it tightly.

There are over one thousand holes per square inch. That’s excellent as it prevents tiny insects from entering into your baby’s space. We feel these bug repellents are perfect for your little one.

It blocks even tiny bugs like midges. But the mesh allows plenty of air to flow.

When not in use, it comes with its own bag for storage.

The minimum age for a baby to wear bug spray

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should never apply bug spray to newborns.

Babies must be at least two months old to wear insect repellent.

This includes any type, including DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and botanicals or essential oils.

But take heart, you still have other solutions for infants under two months old.

For example, you can purchase mosquito netting for the stroller.

You can also dress your child in a hat, with long sleeves, socks, and pants to minimize the amount of skin exposed. Avoid perfumes and scented products, too.

Since insects are usually more active around sunrise and sunset, keep your children indoors during those times.

Is DEET safe to use on babies?

Once your child is old enough to wear insect repellent spray, it’s time to decide which one best suits your situation.

You may have heard that DEET is dangerous.

This is not true.

Some people may be confusing it with DDT, an outlawed pesticide.

Or they may have heard stories about children having seizures from DEET.

Happily, the government took these claims seriously and investigated them.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) did an in-depth review of DEET twice during the last thirty years.

They found that as long as DEET is used only on the skin, and not abused or consumed, there is virtually no risk to babies or young children.

The best way you can protect your baby or child is to apply the DEET to her with your own hands.

Pump the lotion or liquid onto your hands, then apply a light layer to her exposed skin. Keep it away from her eyes and mouth.

Also, be careful if she tends to put her hands or feet into her mouth. It’s best not to apply it to those parts.

You can spray it onto clothing like her hat. Just take it off and do it in a ventilated area, not right by her face.

If you need to apply sunscreen, rub that in first, then apply the insect repellent on top.

The spray will need to be reapplied after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed. You don’t need to use a lot of DEET to keep bugs away from your little ones.

The percentage of DEET is also important to consider. For example, 10 percent DEET bug spray offers protection for about two hours while the 30 percent concentration protects for about five hours.

It turns out that the higher the concentration, the longer the effects last. If you’re using a 30% DEET formula, the protection lasts for hours longer than a 7% concentration.

What alternatives to DEET are there?

There are alternatives to DEET like Picaridin, IR3535, and botanicals.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends Picaridin and IR3535 as well as DEET.

They say that all three have low safety concerns and provide very good protection against various biting insects and ticks.

Additionally, they protect better than insect repellent bracelets or stickers. But DEET is totally fine for your little ones that are 2 months and older.

What do these insect repellents for babies protect against?

Picaridin, IR3535, and DEET All three defend against the insects and arachnids a carry West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Zika virus.

DEET and picaridin are safe for all children in concentrations up to 20%.

Meanwhile, 30% DEET or less can be used on children.

10% Picaridin keeps away flies, chiggers, and fleas, too.

Interestingly, IR3535 defends against an additional nuisance – body lice.

It’s also known as3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-amino propionic acid, ethyl ester. You can find it in products like Avon’s Skin So Soft bug repellent.

What about botanical ingredients or essential oils?

There is another insect repellent for older children called the oil of lemon eucalyptus. This pure essential oil hasn’t been studied on infants, so it’s best to avoid this option for now.

As for botanical bug repellents, they aren’t the best choice for babies.

With the oil of lemon eucalyptus insect repellent, You’ll see some with natural ingredients like soybean oil, castor oil, citronella, geraniol, lemongrass, and so on.

Yes, the oil of lemon eucalyptus smells good. But the problem is that they don’t repel insects as well as DEET, IR3535, or 10% Picaridin.

Worse, the oil of lemon eucalyptus only stays potent for a short time. You’ll have to put it on again after just twenty or thirty minutes.

Another con to keep in mind is that some of the ingredients of this so-called essential oil are allergens.

As much as you’d like to throw together homemade natural mosquito repellent/ Natural bug sprays for your babies, please don’t do it. Trust the science.


Someone wise once said that a step you take before a problem happens looks like overreacting. But after the crisis, you’ll wish you had done more.

Don’t be one of those parents that wish you’d done more.

Keep in mind, the few dollars you spend on bug spray for your child are more than worth it.

It keeps your baby safe and gives you peace of mind.


1. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/protect-baby-bug-bites#1

2. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp185.pdf

3. https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/deet

4. https://www.ewg.org/childrenshealth/22197/ask-ewg-what-s-best-bug-spray-buy-my-kids  by Nicole Ferox,

5. https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/

6. https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/

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