/Can insect repellents be used on children?

Repellent products must state any age restriction. If there is none, EPA has not required a restriction on the use of the product.

According to the label, oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under 3 years.

Since it is the most widely available repellent, many people ask about the use of products containing DEET on children. No definitive studies exist in the scientific literature about what concentration of DEET is safe for children. No serious illness has been linked to the use of DEET in children when used according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Environmental Health updated their recommendation for use of DEET products on children in 2003, citing: “Insect repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, also known as N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) with a concentration of 10 percent appear to be as safe as products with a concentration of 30 percent when used according to the directions on the product labels.” AAP recommends that repellents with DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.

Parents should choose the type and concentration of repellent to be used by taking into account the amount of time that a child will be outdoors, exposure to mosquitoes, and the risk of mosquito-transmitted disease in the area.

If you are concerned about using repellent products on children you may wish to consult a health care provider for advice or contact the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) through their toll-free number, (800) 858-7378 or npic.orst.edu.

2018-08-22T16:23:46-07:00