Protecting Your Children With DEET


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What is DEET?
DEET, (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, also known as N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) was developed in 1944 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and continues to serve as the primary—and most effective—ingredient in many over-the-counter brands of personal insect repellent. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend using DEET to repel biting mosquitoes during periods of outdoor activity. At American Pest, we’ve put together some commonly asked questions regarding DEET for use on children.

Which insect repellents work the best?
Disease pathogens are spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes, and ticks, too. It is extremely important to protect your exposed skin from mosquito bites, and personal repellents containing DEET can be a worthwhile addition to your backyard mosquito control program. There are many products advertised to repel mosquitoes, but non-DEET products are not likely to provide consistent efficacy and most have not been tested as rigorously as those containing DEET. While products claiming to be natural or organic may seem popular, especially in urban areas, they are not recommended by the CDC or the AAP to protect children from mosquitoes and ticks.

How to select insect repellents with DEET?
The first thing to consider is the length of time your child will be outdoors. A product containing 10% DEET will generally be effective for up to two hours of outdoor play in a typical backyard setting. For longer durations, or areas of heavy/dense foliage, you will want to select a repellent containing a minimum of 20% DEET. The effectiveness of repelling mosquitoes plateaus at about 30%, making higher concentrations unnecessary.

Can I apply mosquito repellents on young children?
Yes. You can apply products containing 10%-30% DEET on children aged 2 months and older. When applying, spray it onto your hands and rub the product into their skin. Avoid the eyes and mouth, and use sparingly around the ears. You may also avoid the hands as young children, especially, tend to place their hands in their mouths frequently. Always remember to consult the label before you use it on yourself or children.

  • Use enough repellent to cover exposed skin or clothing; avoiding the mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Do not apply to skin that is under clothing
  • Heavy application is not necessary to achieve protection
  • Do not apply to cuts, wounds, or irritated skin
  • You can wash products from the skin with soap and water once you return indoors

The path to complete freedom from mosquito and tick bites in your yard begins with American Pest. Our progressive solutions are developed by entomologists and designed with your safety in mind. If you would like more information on protecting your home in D.C., Maryland, or Virginia with backyard mosquito and tick control treatments, please contact us.


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