Your child comes running to you scratching at his arm. It’s yet another mosquito bite. What can you do to not only soothe existing mosquito bites on your kids, but prevent further mosquito bites from occurring?
There are many mosquito repellents on the market and many of them work well. The problem is not in the efficacy, but in the sensitivity to children.
Mosquito Repellent and the Sensitive Skin of Kids
Often, children have very sensitive skin that can easily be irritated. The chemicals in many insect repellents can be very irritating to that sensitive skin.
Because the skin from a mosquito bite is already irritated, it is even easier for it to experience further irritation from the mosquito repellents. Another issue is toxicity levels.
Mosquito repellents also can be toxic to kids, especially babies. At the time that I started researching natural alternatives, one of my kids was under 2 years old and using DEET and other chemical insect repellents is not recommended for kids under 2 years old.
Mosquito Repellent and Possible Side Effects on Kids
The effects from chemicals such as DEET are said to be mostly mild in a case study reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
However, the fact that side effects exist at all is a concern to me as a parent. When treating my kids for anything, I want to be sure that there are no side effects wherever possible. Even if the side effects are mild, they are still there.
Because three of my children have asthma, they often experience sensitive skin issues that sometimes come along with that.
The commercial insect and mosquito repellents would often cause itching, sneezing, and other irritations, so I went on a mission of sorts to find a natural insect repellent that was safe on skin.
I like to use tea tree oil on my skin as a moisturizer, but was using sensitive skin lotion on the kids.
Discovering Tea Tree Oil as an Insect Repellent on Kids
One day we were at a park and one kid got a bout of dry skin. I had the tea tree oil with me and the lotion was in the car. I put some tea tree oil on that child.
Mosquitoes started to come out shortly before we left. I noticed that two kids got bites and two didn’t. The one with the tea tree oil didn’t get bitten and neither did I.
I knew tea tree oil was soothing, so I applied it to the bites and the other kids didn’t complain about those on the way home.
Normally, we would have had insect repellent with us, but it wasn’t quite mosquito season…or so we thought until they started coming out.
At first I didn’t make the connection of the tea tree oil as a repellent, but later on I was thinking about what the difference might be in those who didn’t get bitten.
Tea tree oil was really the only difference. I then decided to do further research and found out that tea tree oil has long been used as an insect repellent.
I started using it for that purpose and as long as the kids have on tea tree oil, they don’t get bitten by mosquitoes. It turns out that the disinfectant and antibacterial properties of tea tree oil are also good in the case of treating the mosquito bites.
How to Make and Use Tea Tree Oil as a Natural Mosquito Repellent for Kids
The tea tree oil can be rubbed directly on the skin once diluted with water or mixed with another oil. I blend it with water in a spray bottle for easy application.
Mix 3 parts water to 1 part tea tree oil. Spray directly on area for application. Unlike the chemical insect repellents, tea tree oil can be applied on skin that is underneath clothing, as well as uncovered skin.
The chemical repellents can only be applied to uncovered skin. Tea tree oil needs to be applied more frequently than the chemical insect repellents for best results.
Cautions on the Use of Tea Tree Oil as an Insect Repellent for Kids
While my kids and I have not experienced any adverse reactions to tea tree oil, it is important to note that some individuals may have allergic reactions to tea tree oil.
An allergy test can be done 24 hours prior to impending usage by applying a small amount to an inconspicuous area of the skin.
If no irritation occurs in 24 hours, it may be safe to use the tea tree oil. If any irritation occurs, discontinue use and consult a physician.
*Note that the author is not a licensed medical professional. Always consult a licensed medical professional for issues pertaining to your health.