Bug bites are more than a nuisance. Mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, and other insects also carry dangerous diseases in their bites. Keep your children safe with the best bug spray for kids. These sprays are strong, long lasting, and are made DEET-free with kid friendly ingredients.
Our top 10 list uncovers the best bug sprays for kids on the market that you can trust for the whole family.
Know the Active Ingredients
Smart parents are careful about what goes on their child’s skin. Children are more susceptible to skin irritation from chemical applications, and they’re more sensitive to pesticides.
DEET is a common and highly effective insect repellent. While there is no conclusive evidence that it causes adverse health effects in children or adults when used according to the label, it is not the best option for kids. That’s because DEET is highly toxic if swallowed, can cause severe eye irritation, and simply smells of chemicals.
Thankfully there are safer alternatives to DEET. Picaridin and IR3535 are less toxic when inhaled or ingested, show no long-term side effects, and cause less irritation to sensitive skin. Both work for up to 8 hours of protection and are even odorless so kids won’t complain.
If you prefer a more natural solution, some of the best bug spray for kids options use botanical ingredients instead. Botanical ingredients can come from plants or can be synthesized in a lab. They’re less effective than picaridin or IR3535, and must be applied more often. On the other hand, they’re much less toxic and are much less likely to cause skin or eye irritation. Botanical mixes also usually smell nicer.
To recap, DEET is the most potent insect repellent, but may be too strong for kids. Alternatives with similar efficacy are picaridin and IR3535. Botanical concoctions are less effective than the others, but they’re less dangerous for children.
Best Bug Spray for Kids Top 10 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Bug Sprays for Kids
True to its name, Wondercide is an incredible botanical repellent suitable for adults, children, and even pets. The formula is free of heavy essential oil concentrates, which can be irritating to kids and animals. Instead, this insect repellent uses a diluted, yet potent, mix of ingredients including 4.2% cedar oil and 1.5% lemongrass oil. All active and non-active ingredients are 100% natural, and Wondercide sprays contain no synthetic fragrances.
This is a great bug repellent spray for all kinds of pests. Wondercide Natural Insect Repellent wards off mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, flies, no-see-ums, and a whole host of other creepy crawlies. It has a sweet citrus odor to us that bugs seem to hate. You’ll need to apply this product every 3-4 hours, but no one will complain about the smell or any skin rashes.
Wondercide Natural Insect Repellent gets our top pick for its non-greasy, pleasant smelling application, its ultra low toxicity, and because it repels a large list of common pests. This is the best bug spray for kids, pets, and the whole family.
Picaridin has been tested to be as effective as DEET for mosquitoes found in the Americas. It also shows strong effectiveness against biting midges and flies. If you live in a place where these pests are common, Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard is the best picaridin based bug repellent for kids. Its special formula includes soothing ingredients that nourish the skin and keep the active chemicals from being absorbed. Not only does this best bug spray for kids last longer that way, but you can worry less about your child’s exposure.
We like aerosol sprays because they tend to apply more evenly than pump spray bottles. The aluminum bottle is also more rugged than plastic bottles for use hiking or camping. The Avon SSS Bug Guard’s bottle is made very sturdy to stop leaking and sticky residue on the nozzle after use. When applied, this formula dries in seconds and leaves no odor or residue.
Picaridin isn’t for everyone, but it’s a gentler solution than DEET for parents concerned about harsh chemicals. Avon SSS Bug Guard was developed with children’s sensitive skin in mind, and works for up to 8 hours protecting them from biting insects.
Coleman SkinSmart uses IR3535 as an alternative to DEET. This strong bug spray repellent is odorless and dries almost instantly. Coleman uses a sturdy aluminum aerosol can that you can trust for full coverage without having to rub it in with your fingers. The cap twists to lock, which is actually a better design than Avon’s SSS repellent. It virtually eliminates leaking when the can isn’t in use.
We also really appreciate that this product comes with 6oz of repellent when the competition commonly sells 4oz at a time. It’s made all the better that SkinSmart lasts up to 8 hours protecting your family from dangerous pests. This is thanks to the strong 20% concentration of IR3535, giving this formula lasting results. Despite its high concentration of active ingredient, IR3535 is safe to use with kids and less toxic than DEET.
Effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and flies, this reliable bug spray for kids is ideal for outdoor adventures like camping and hiking. It must be reapplied after swimming, but can last up to 8 full hours with one application to your skin. It’s even safe to spray on your clothes, unlike DEET. This best bug spray for kids is the best value for your money and is even more effective than pricier solutions.
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