Children and RepellentsAccording to the label, oil of lemon eucalyptus products should NOT be used on CHILDREN UNDER 3 YEARS.

In addition to EPA's decisions about use of products on children, many consumers also look to the opinion of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP does have an opinion on the use of DEET in children (see below), but has not yet issued specific recommendations or opinions concerning the use of picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. CDC will post a link to such information from the Academy when/if it becomes available.

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 has 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% appear to be as safe as products with a concentration of 30% 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 would 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, 1-800-858-7378 or npic.orst.edu

Precautions:

  • Do not allow children to handle the product. When using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child. You may not want to apply to children's hands.
  • If you or your child get a rash or other reaction from an insect repellent; stop using the repellent, wash the repellent off with mild soap and water, and call a local poison control center for further guidance. If you go to a doctor because of the repellent, take the repellent with you to show the doctor.
  • Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label.) Do not use repellents under clothing.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays, do not spray directly on face; spray on hands first and then apply to face.
  • Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy application and saturation are generally unnecessary for effectiveness.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. Also, wash treated clothing before wearing it again.

Q. Can insect repellents be used on children?

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