By Michele Chan Santos

Check the label before burts-bees-herbal-insect-repellent-rei.jpgyou spray insect repellent on your kids this summer, and you may find that many insect repellents marketed for families and children contain DEET. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics has approved the use of DEET on children, the Academy recommends only applying these products once a day, and not on children younger than 2. So here’s our list of less toxic bug repellents:

  • REPEL is a plant-based lemon eucalyptus insect repellent, available from Basegear in 4-ounce bottles for $7. This solution repels mosquitoes and deer ticks for up to six hours, according to its label. REPEL has a very strong lemon scent; and it needs to be carefully applied to the face to avoid eye irritation.
  • Burt’s Bees Insect Repellent contains eucalyptus and lemongrass oil (Burt’s Bees is well-known for their natural, child-friendly products). REI sells this repellent in spray form for $8. Avon has been very successful with their Skin So Soft Bug Guard line, some combined with sunscreen, that are meant for the whole family.

Another argument in favor of natural repellents: Applying DEET in combination with sunscreen increases the possibility of DEET having toxic effects on the child. So save DEET for applications on clothes when mosquitoes are likely to be thick, and try natural products for spraying on skin.

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