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Kids love to do a variety of outdoor activities during the summer months, and parents need to protect them from insect bites. This article gives two safety tips for parents when using chemical insect repellents on their children.

Summer is a time when children of all ages spend hours each day playing outside. Swimming, camping, fishing, and going to the park are favorite activities for youngsters. However, these activities also place kids in contact with mosquitoes, biting flies, and other insects. Insect bites are not only uncomfortable, but they can also be dangerous and children can get Lyme Disease or West Nile Virus from a single bite. Parents who want to protect their children from insect bites often use chemical insect repellents, but they are unsure if the products are actually safe for their children. While insect repellents containing DEET have been approved for use on children over 2 months of age, the following steps should be taken to avoid dangerous situations.

1. Do not spray insect repellent around a child.

Children are hard to keep still, and spraying insect repellent around a child may result in accidental ingestion. The child may move and get repellent in his or her eyes, nose, ears, or mouth. Additionally, insect repellent can be ingested simply due to the dispersing effect of the spray. To avoid these events, parents should spray their own hands with the repellent, then apply it to the child as necessary.

2. Do not use a repellent with more than 30% DEET.

Some people think that the more DEET that a product contains, the better it will be at repelling insects. However, a concentration of DEET that is higher than 30% can be toxic to a child since the chemical is absorbed through the skin. If a child begins to suffer insect bites several hours after the first application, it is safer to re-apply a repellent with a lower concentration of DEET than it is to use a repellent that has too much DEET in it.

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