8 Best Kid-Safe Bug Sprays & Insect Repellents Just In Time For Summer

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by Jane Chertoff and BDG Commerce
Originally Published: 
Kid Safe Bugspray

Time to grab the bug repellent Mamas, the hot weather summer is quickly approaching. For kids, summertime is the best time. There’s swimming, bike rides, camping, ice cream, and days spent running around outside in the sprinkler and playing with cool toys. Even with all going on in the world this year, hopefully, your kids still get to spend as much time as they can in the backyard this season. After a long (very long) year spent indoors, we’re certainly not letting mosquitos stop us from summer fun. Those mosquito bites wreaking havoc on your kid’s sweet and delicate skin. The worst!

Finding a bug repellent that’s safe for your family to use can be a challenge, though. You don’t want anything too dangerous like DEET, but you still need something that’s going to keep those annoying bites at bay (for your sanity as much as for the kids). Below are some of the best insect repellents, lotions, bracelets, and more to use this summer. These are family-friendly and can be used for adults as well as the kiddos. Make sure you stock up, this is one of those products you need when you need them, there’s no waiting. Now light up your citronella candles and read ahead.

Here are all the best bug repellents for babies and kids.

Best Bug Spray For Kids

Most bug sprays are so harsh smelling. If the smell bothers your kids, you’ve got to try Bug Soother, which has a lovely lemongrass and vanilla scent your family will love. Don’t let that innocent fresh scent fool you, though. This is highly effective at keeping not only mosquitos away, but gnats, no-see-ums, sand fleas and black flies, too. It’s OK to use on pets and horses, too, which is pretty gnarly if you keep animals around. Most importantly, the ingredient list checks out as all-natural so you don’t need to worry about spraying your family down before camp, the beach, a camping trip or whatever you get into this summer.

One Reviewer Says: “I am constantly attacked by mosquitos and can't enjoy time at the lake. I used Bug Soother, which was recommended by my son's girlfriend, and ended the night at the bonfire without any bites. From someone that is typically a buffet for mosquitos, this is an amazing product. The smell is nice and it doesn't feel sticky or that you have chemicals on your body.”

Kids hate being sprayed? Avoid fights this summer by simply placing one of these handy insect-repelling bracelets on their wrist or ankle instead. This 10-pack of bracelets won’t slow your kids down for spray time. These are safe for kids ages 3 and up, so great for older kids. You can send a pack or two for them to bring to camp or for everyday use. They are DEET-free and waterproof, so all-around kid-friendly. They also are full of essential oils, so you can avoid any nasty smells.

One Reviewer Says: “Effective, easy to use and fun colors. I wear a few at once (both wrists and ankles) because I'm super sensitive to bug bites. Literally saw a bug flying toward my wrist and turned around after smelling the bracelet from a few inches away. Have not been bitten since I started wearing these about 8 days ago. Then, this morning I forgot to wear them while in the yard and was bitten in two places! Lesson learned!”

If you are in need of a travel-size bug spray to keep in the car and pack along for all your summer adventures, you can’t do better than this organic repellent. It’s designed to be family-friendly and safe for kids because it’s DEET-free and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, toxins, or preservatives. Another huge benefit is that it is effective against ticks, too, in case your kids play in wooded or grassy areas. The spray has over 500 four-star reviews on Amazon, with one parent writing that it’s a “godsend.”

One Reviewer Says: “This year the mosquitoes are enormous where I live and this has kept them away from me every time I've used it. It's also been a huge help when we hike. We've only had ONE tick when using this stuff, and that was after eight hours in the woods without reapplying. I love not rubbing chemicals into my skin and not having to worry about being eaten alive by bugs.”

Best Bug Spray For Babies

You might be worried about using an actual bug spray for babies — and, you’re not alone. While not necessarily a spray, these cute stickers may help keep the bugs away. They aren’t meant to be put directly on the skin, but you can use them on children’s clothes or a stroller to help control the issues. These are good for parents too. Each patch contains citronella, lemongrass and geraniol essential oils, and each patch lasts up to 24 hours.

One Reviewer Says: “We love these bug stickers as my two year old calls them. She loves that they smell good and they are just like stickers. She loves to put them on her shirt by herself. My kids haven’t been bitten by any mosquitoes since using these and it’s so great!”

Best Bug Spray With Sunscreen

Like your favorite shampoo/conditioner, there’s nothing better than a two-in-one. That’s what you get with this combo SPF 30 sunscreen and insect repellent lotion. If your kids can’t sit still for one second (we get it, summer is short and there’s fun to be had!) they’ll be thrilled this takes care of pesky bugs and uncomfortable sunburn in one. You get two pump bottles per pack.

One Reviewer Says: “Bought this mostly for the bug protection but the sunscreen has worked perfectly as well. We were camping and the area had floodwater up to the back of our campsite which meant a ton of mosquitoes. By the end of the trip, everyone had abandoned the bug juice they had brought and were using this instead. In addition, everyone used it to go kayaking on the lake and not one of us got burned.”

Best Organic Bug Spray For Kids

If you’re already a fan of California Baby bubble bath, diaper rash cream, and other baby-friendly products, you’ll love their plant-based natural insect repellent, too. It has a nice herbal scent because its ingredients are mainly cedar, lemongrass, and citronella oil. You can feel safe using it on your kids because it’s DEET-free and free from harsh chemicals. You can spray it directly on your kid’s skin if you feel comfortable or over their clothing or backpacks.

One Reviewer Says: “I have a 9-month-old who is VERY sensitive to bug bites, mainly mosquitos. Living in Florida, you will NEVER get away from biting insects. Every time that I have sprayed this on my daughter, I have not noticed a single bite. I did read reviews prior to purchasing as well as the company's recommendations and I apply this every 2-3 hours. I will definitely be purchasing this product again BEFORE we run out. Also, I will have to say the product also smells very good (and fresh).”

Some bug sprays contain a lot of ingredients that make a parent think, “yikes!” You don’t have to worry about that with the Babyganics brand, which is both pediatrician and dermatologist-approved for your kid’s sensitive skin. The ingredient list is simple, too, including citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium essential oils. This formula has over 800 positive four-star reviews on Amazon.

One Reviewer Says: “My daughter lives in a tropical location. After her doing much research on safety and use of this product she bought it and is very happy with it. No adverse reactions from baby. A little goes a long way and it works!”

Young kids might love the fact that this bottle of Badger has an actual badger on the front, while parents will love the fact that it actually works. This non-DEET, eco-friendly, organic solution is great at keeping pesky pests away. Created by a family-run, woman-owned company, it’s a product you can feel good about. The formula contains the essential oils of citronella, rosemary, and lemongrass, so you’ll know exactly what you’re putting on your kids’ skin.

One Reviewer Says: “Ok. This stuff is incredible. I recently went to a wedding [where] the ceremony and reception were in a fairly wooded area. The Badger Balm Anti-Bug Spray worked so well and smelled so great that even the bride in her wedding dress asked me to borrow it! First and foremost, IT WORKS. I am the type of person that bugs attack and I usually spend my summers itching like crazy from all the mosquitos. But not this year! A friend bought this [for] a trip in the Catskills and after a full weekend outdoors in the woods, I didn't have a single mosquito bite. This stuff has helped me withstand three long weekends in very wooded areas and countless evenings outdoors.”

Check out Spotted for more summertime fun essentials for kids.

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