Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Natural Insect Repellents for Kids

Now that it's getting warmer out--well, let's face it--it's been downright hot for quite a while--the bugs are coming out. And I'm not talking about the toddler pulling on your skirt or the 5-year-old begging you for a snack. I'm talking about the fat, eastern-NC mosquitoes that have been around since February. Has your child gotten a bug bite yet? Little M currently has three. And they are huge and red on his soft baby skin.

I never really loved to use bug spray because I couldn't stand the smell. If you can actually smell the chemicals, it's a constant reminder that what you're putting on your skin isn't good for you. And when I had kids, I definitely didn't use traditional bug spray on them, but I also didn't use it on myself because I didn't want them breathing it in as they nursed or getting it in their mouths as they drooled on my shoulder.

I bought Avon Skin-So-Soft before a camping trip I took a year ago, but it turns out that isn't all that good for you (nor does it work very well to keep the bugs at bay). So if you have kids and bugs happily intermingling in your backyard (or the park or the beach), do you just suffer in silence? Nope. There are lots of natural bug repellents you can use, including some homemade bug sprays for kids.

CJ's Bug Banisher
CJ's natural bug spray is available at Green Baby Diaper Service, so you don't have to blend your concoction in your kitchen. Just pick it up and spray! CJ's Bug Banisher includes a combination of citronella, peppermint, neem, lavender and tea tree essential oils to deter bugs naturally.

Bite Blocker Herbal Repellent Wipes
One review on says these smell like vomit, but the same reviewer said she took her 1-year-old on a trip to the Amazon (the real one, not the virtual one) and he came back without any bug bites. I would rather my kids smell like vomit than use DEET-laden products on them. Besides, don't they smell like vomit anyway? It contains Soybean Oil (2%), Geranium Oil (5%), water, coconut oil, glycerin, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and vanillin. A box of Kraft Mac n' Cheese has more chemicals! Plus, it's easy to wipe the repellent on kids' skin as opposed to dealing with sprays, gels, or lotions.

Homemade Bug Sprays for Kids
Homemade insect repellents may take a little more time, and collecting the ingredients may have you going out of your way a little. So why not join up with a few friends? Have each person grab an ingredient and get together with some spray bottles to do a little concocting. (Click on the titles to go to the website with the recipe)

Crunchy Betty Shoo! Spray Insect Repellent
This one combines apple cider vinegar with a little vodka and some essential oils

Homemade Bug Spray from Fresh or Dried Herbs
Wellness Mama makes a homemade insect repellent with witch hazel, distilled water, and fresh or dried herbs. In her super strong version, she uses apple cider vinegar.

Many herbs repel insects. If all you have on hand is fresh basil from last night's spaghetti, you can rub a leaf on your skin. You can do the same with lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, spearmint, or catnip!