Nothing gets in the way of a fun camping trip faster than some hungry mosquitoes. It’s a real bummer when kiddos end up with itchy bug bites they just can’t stop scratching! And that’s before you factor in the potential risk of mosquito-borne illnesses that can come from those innocent bites.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s certainly the case with mosquito bites! Before you get into the heart of summer, check out the best mosquito repellent for kids…those that work for all ages, those that are best for sensory-sensitive kiddos, and so much more!
Our Top Picks
When it comes to protecting kiddos from the elements, parents are almost always looking for something reliable, guaranteed, and effective. When it comes to mosquito repellents for kids, this is just as true as for anything else.
You don’t want to play loose with the safety and wellbeing of your children, and you certainly don’t want to risk them ending up mosquito bitten, miserable, or even vulnerable to mosquito-borne illnesses. But at the same time, you don’t want to subject them to harsh, harmful chemicals that can wreak havoc on their sensitive little bodies.
Bearing in mind that perfect balance of safety from all angles, we recommend OFF Kids Insect Repellent Spray as the best overall mosquito repellent for kids. It combines the trustworthiness of OFF—the leading name brand in the business of deterring mosquitos—with the use of oils that spare your kids from exposure to damaging chemicals.
With the proper application, OFF Kids Insect Repellent Spray gives an hour and a half of protection from mosquitoes with every application. It can be safely used on babies, toddlers, and kids of all ages, so you can use it effectively and confidently for numerous years.
This mosquito repellent for kids takes the worry out of tracking down a reliable, name brand product that’s proven to do what it’s meant to do: keeping your kiddos safe from mosquitos and all their harms.
- Can be used for kiddos aged six months and up
- Will repel mosquitoes for up to 90 minutes when properly applied
- Easy application with spray pump
- Does not contain harmful chemicals, artificial fragrances, or harmful dyes
- Has a very greasy and sticky residue after application, which can be especially difficult for sensory sensitive kiddos
Best All Natural Option
For many parents, the concern about harmful chemicals and questionably sourced products is equally as worrisome as the nuisance and health hazards of mosquitos. After all, it raises plenty of concerns when, to protect your child from one harmful thing, you’re exposing them to another.
This is why Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil is a great alternative for parents who are on the hunt for the best all natural option. This is a great mosquito repellent for kids who are three years of age and older. In many cases it’s been shown to repel for longer than chemical products, and it does so using completely natural botanicals.
With the amount of research that has gone into proving the effectiveness of lemon eucalyptus oil at repelling not just mosquitos, but ticks as well, this product is a fantastic natural option. Parents can rest assured of the quality and safety of Murphy’s Naturals, as well as of its effectiveness at protecting their little ones from harmful and nuisance insects.
- Relies on purely natural botanicals, allowing for a stronger repellent without harmful side effects
- Can repel mosquitoes for up to six hours maximum, three hours guaranteed
- Repels ticks for up to four hours as well
- Research cautions against the use of lemon eucalyptus oil on kiddos under three years of age
Best No-Spray Option
Every kiddo has their own separate needs. Many parents end up at their wit’s end with bug spray application when their young toddlers or sensitive kiddos wind up stressed and resistant to the feeling of sticky, oily sprays being slathered all over their skin.
Luckily, mosquito repellents for kids come in a broad diversity of ways these days…and one of the most popular is in the form of Cliganic Mosquito Repellent Bracelets! These nifty bracelets are infused with natural ingredients and contain no harmful chemicals, so they’re safe to wear all day long at a picnic, campground, or on a hiking adventure.
As stylish as they are effective, these one-size-fits-all repellent bracelets can fit most kids and even adults, and they help keep mosquitoes at bay for hours at a time. These are great to use as your only mosquito repellent for kids, or as a supplement to sprays.
You might even consider keeping a few of these individually wrapped bracelets on hand in your backpacking first aid kit. They can be quite useful if you find yourself forgetting a repellent spray in the deep woods, or needing just a bit of extra mosquito protection on particularly boggy hikes.
- Easy to use and a great option for kiddos who don’t like spray repellents
- Uses all natural ingredients with no harmful chemicals
- One size fits all, making it perfect for kids and even adults of all ages
- Each bracelet comes individually wrapped, so you will have plenty on hand for whenever you need them
- While some people have reported having zero mosquito activity with the Cliganic Mosquito Repellent Bracelets, others report only reduced mosquito activity.
- Best for older toddlers and upward, as littler toddlers might chew on the bracelet and ingest some of the oil, leading to upset tummies.
Best Citronella-Based Option
When it comes to repelling mosquitoes the easy, natural, and effective way, nothing beats citronella. Tiki torches and tabletop candles burn this oil to ward off mosquitoes from communal gathering spaces, and many people put the plant in their landscaping to ward off mosquitoes.
In studies, citronella has been proven to be the most effective natural insect repellent (and can be even more effective at repelling mosquitos than the highest-graded chemical repellents). Many brands use citronella as a basis for a bug spray or roll-on oil.
When it comes to using citronella on kiddos, one of the most effective ways to use it without the risk of direct application causing skin irritation is via Buzz Patch Mosquito Stickers. Along the same lines as a bracelet mosquito repellent for kids, these are easy to apply and avoid the tacky residue of spray applications.
Best of all, these patches—which just stick to clothing like any sticker—can be used for kiddos of all ages. On a baby’s sock, the back of a toddler’s shirt, or on an older kid’s sleeve, these patches will resist water and wear and tear, giving effective protection for sometimes days at a time.
You also have the option of applying multiple stickers at a time if mosquito activity is particularly heavy. The beauty of Buzz Patch Mosquito Stickers is that they pose no harmful risks, so they can be effectively used in many ways, at any time.
- Uses citronella, which is arguably the most effective of all mosquito repellents both natural and chemical
- Easy for kids to keep on, with waterproof patches that adhere well to clothing
- Very effective for a minimum of eight hours, but can still deter some mosquitos for between 24 and 72 hours.
- Has a pleasant smell
- Can be used for babies, toddlers, young kids, and adults as well
- As with other non topical mosquito repellents for kids, some folks report no mosquito bites at all when using these patches. Meanwhile, others report them as ineffective.
Mosquito Repellents for Kids Buyer’s Guide
Consider How Long Your Kids Will Be Outside
Whether you are looking at a standard mosquito repellent containing chemicals like DEET, or a much more natural option such as those on our list, no mosquito repellent lasts forever. Even high-grade, chemical-based repellents tend to last only a couple of hours at most.
Bearing this in mind, it’s important to have realistic expectations of how long your kiddos will be exposed to mosquitos, and factor this into your choice of mosquito repellent for kids.
In some cases, you may want something that is more potent but shorter-lasting. At other times, you might prefer a less potent mosquito repellent that won’t require reapplication as often.
Consider the Age of Your Kids
Many mosquito repellents for kids are graded for certain ages. Some essential oils can be topically irritating for sensitive young skin or harsh on little, developing lungs. On the other hand, many chemicals carry risks for kiddos at any age.
Whichever mosquito repellent for kids you might choose, it’s important to ensure that it’s graded for the age range of your little ones. Otherwise, you may run the risk of worse outcomes from the repellent than you would have from the mosquito bites themselves.
Age is also a factor when it comes to the type of mosquito repellent for kids you might use. Sprays can tend to be more effective than other mosquito repellents for kids, but for the youngest kiddos or those with sensory issues, the feeling of spray application may make it harder to actually apply the spray than it’s worth.
In this case, for toddlers or sensitive kiddos, a mosquito repellent patch may be your best option, as it’s easy to apply, hard for kiddos to get off, and provides no sensory input.
Repellent bracelets can also be great for slightly older kiddos, but may not work as well for toddlers, as they may be compelled to take them off, play with them, put them in their mouths, etc.
Consider Potential Sensitivity to Ingredients in Repellents
In many cases, it’s well known that the chemicals in standard insect repellents are too harsh for younger or sensitive individuals. This is an important factor to be aware of when using any standard mosquito repellents on kids.
However, it’s also important to bear in mind that individual kiddos may have sensitivity to products in natural repellents, too. For best practices, you should always begin by applying the repellent to a small part of the body (especially if it’s a spray repellent) and monitoring for any signs of skin irritation or breathing trouble before applying the repellent more widely.
Mosquito Repellents for Kids Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just use regular mosquito repellent on my kids?
It’s not recommended to use regular, standard-grade mosquito repellents on kids, especially those under the age of two. They contain many harsh chemicals, which can be upsetting to young lungs and on an individual basis, may cause irritation, rashes, or difficulty breathing when inhaled.
There is also the risk of younger kiddos putting hands covered in mosquito repellent in their mouths, or sucking on fingers, toes, arms, etc. that are coated in repellent. This can lead to mouth and tongue numbness and other unpleasant, particularly dangerous side effects.
How often will I need to reapply mosquito repellent for kids?
The duration of effectiveness varies from product to product when it comes to mosquito repellent for kids. Some products last only an hour and a half, others last many hours, and some claim to last for a couple of days.
The key is to keep an eye on your kiddos and watch for an increase of mosquito activity, particularly around the time that most products claim their effectiveness will wear off. If you notice more biting insects making an appearance around that time, then it’s time for reapplication.
Wrapping up the Best Mosquito Repellent for Kids
Knowing the best mosquito repellents for kids will help you to confidently protect your kiddos from both the dangers of biting insects as well as the potential risks of harmful chemicals found in many common repellents.
Now that you’re equipped with these important facts, it’s time to take the next step! Check out our Camping With Kids checklist to be sure you grab everything you and your kiddos need for a safe, fun camping adventure that is memorable in all the best ways!
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of the great outdoors.
A Midwest girl born and raised, Renee has always enjoyed the deep, life-giving inspiration that connection with nature brings.
In addition to channeling the awe of outdoor life into her prolific novel-writing career, she currently enjoys sharing it with her son and spreading knowledge of safe, fun outdoor life with Beyond the Tent readers and anyone she can help face-to-face.
Renee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org