Looking for an insect reppellant for babies that keeps nasty bugs at bay?
We know that as new mom, mosquitoes and other bitty pests are the last thing you want to worry about—bug bites are uncomfortable at minimum and in some areas, can harbor dangerous diseases like EEE or West Nile Virus.
If you’re looking for best bug spray for babies (once they are over the age of 2 months old), there are many things to consider for safety. We’re here to give you a breakdown of the most popular options, including their active ingredients and recommended usage.
What We Tested: Top 4 Bug Sprays for Babies
Best Overall: Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes
- The product: Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes are gentle on skin, mess-free, and effective, making them our overall favorite insect repellent for babies. Cutter boasts their product is soft on skin but tough on bugs, and we agree.
- The ingredients: Perfect for moms on the go, these towelettes make applying insect repellent quick and easy. The wipes are formulated with Deet – a repellent that works by masking scents from insects, essentially making your little one invisible to biting bugs. The AAP recommends repellents with Deet only be used on babies 2 months or older, and that the amount of Deet should not exceed 30%. Cutter All Family Mosquito wipes are effective at repelling insects like mosquitoes and ticks but with only 7.15% Deet, so they are safe for the whole family.
- How it works: Application is simple: just remove a towelette from the packet and wipe it over your baby’s exposed skin, avoiding their mouth, nose, eyes, and hands. Since these wipes have a lower concentration of Deet, you may need to reapply if you are outdoors for an extended period of time. We recommend following the label instructions, and always wash any remaining repellent off your baby upon returning indoors.
Best Long Lasting: Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin
- The product: Long-lasting and fragrance-free, Sawyer Insect repellent lotion with Picaridin is the perfect pick for moms looking for an alternative to Deet.
- The ingredients: The key ingredient Picaridin is a version of Piperine (found in pepper plants) and offers comparable protection to DEET. However, it’s only recommended for infants 6 months or older. This insect repellent comes in lotion form, is effective for up to 14 hours, and offers your baby protection from mosquitoes and ticks, as well as other biting insects like flies and gnats.
- How it works: The product is very effective, but the picaridin has the potential to irritate eyes, so we recommend applying it cautiously. Fortunately, this lotion is so long-lasting you will not need to reapply often. To apply, gently rub the lotion on any exposed skin avoiding your baby’s face and hands, and as with all repellents we always recommend washing it off your baby’s skin as soon as you are back inside. We love its non-oily texture and that there is no offensive scent. If you are looking for additional protection, Sawyer also offers a fabric-safe bug spray.
Best Natural: Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent for Babies
- The product: Made with a blend of plant and essential oils, this natural bug spray for babies is paraben and DEET-free and perfect for sensitive skin.
- The ingredients: Citronella, peppermint, and rosemary are a few of the key ingredients that make this natural insect repellent baby safe, but milder than some of the chemical alternatives. While Babyganics states their spray keeps mosquitoes away, they make no mention of ticks or other insects, which is something to keep in mind when heading to the great outdoors. This bug spray may be more ideal for use in locations with less disease-free insect populations.
- How it works: Before applying shake the repellent well and spray onto your hands. Next, using your hands apply evenly to your baby’s skin and repeat every 90 minutes, or as needed.Overall, we love that this natural insect repellent for babies is gentle on skin, has no chemical residue, and is formulated specifically for little ones.
Best Heavy Duty: Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent V
- The product: Armed with a high concentration of DEET, this bug spray for babies is long-lasting and helps keep disease-carrying bugs at bay. Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent is a great option if you plan on taking your baby deep into nature and need extended protection
- The ingredients: This spray is formulated with 25% DEET to keep mosquitos (and ticks) away for up to 8 hours.
- How it works: We recommend applying this potent repellent in an open (and well-ventilated) area, like with any other bug repellent, you never want to spray your baby directly. First, spray into the palm of your hand, then gently apply the repellent to any exposed skin — always avoid your baby’s hands and face to prevent any irritation. Additionally, be careful to never apply bug spray to broken skin or wounds, and always wash it off immediately upon returning indoors. And although the CDC has deemed Deet to be safe (when used correctly), we try to use this heavy-duty spray sparingly. This is the perfect option for hiking or camping in the deep woods, but we’d opt for repellents with lower levels of DEET for regular day-to-day use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What age do babies need insect repellent?
The CDC recommends only using insect repellent on babies 2 months and older. To protect newborn infants, you will want to use physical barriers like a sun and bug cover around their car seat or stroller, as well as clothing with long sleeves and pants. For babies that are at least 2 months, it is recommended to use an insect repellent or bug spray—specifically one that has active ingredients known to repel disease-carrying insects (like ticks and mosquitoes).
How often do I need to reapply bug spray on my baby?
The frequency at which bug spray needs to be reapplied is completely dependent on the active ingredients in the insect repellent you are using. We recommend always reading and following the label instructions, as some repellents last longer and you want to be cautious to not over-apply. Also, you may want to avoid combination products like sunscreen + bug spray, bcause active ingredients like DEET may reduce the SPF in the sunscreen. We recommend just sticking to straight bug spray to avoid any confusion.
Are lotions or sprays better at keeping bugs away from my baby?
Using lotion or a spray comes down to a matter of preference—the active ingredients in the repellent and the bugs they protect your baby against will be the same. For some, lotions may be preferable to sprays since they can be easier to apply, and they offer minimal odor and longer-lasting protection.