Insect repellents containing DEET have been tested and approved as safe for kids older than 2 months. But take care when you use them: Choose a repellent with no more than 10% to 30% concentration of DEET (look for N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide on the label). Use lower concentrations if kids will be outside only for an hour or two. If they're outside longer, consider using a repellent with a higher concentration of DEET. (The higher concentration means that it will last longer.) Generally, repellent with DEET should not be applied more than once a day. DEET can put on exposed skin, as well as clothing, socks, and shoes. But don't use it on your child's face, under clothing, on cuts or irritated skin, or on the hands of young children. Also: Do not use a single product containing both sunscreen and DEET. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied often, while DEET should not be used more than once a day. DEET concentrations higher than 30% are not more effective and the chemical (which is absorbed through the skin) in high amounts can be toxic. Follow the directions on the label. Do not apply repellent to kids' hands. This prevents them from swallowing any if they put their hands in their mouth. It also can irritate eyes if they touch them. Don't spray the repellent anywhere near the mouth. Apply the repellent in an open area so that you and your child don't breathe it in. Wash kids' skin with soap and water when they come back inside, and wash all clothes before they're worn again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that repellents containing the ingredients picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus also can protect against mosquitoes: Picaridin is a compound found in many mosquito repellents used in Europe, Australia, Latin America, and Asia. Its chemical name, which you might find in the list of "active ingredients" on a product, is KBR 3023. Years of safe use of picaridin in other parts of the world show that it's safe and effective. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is also known as P-menthane diol (PMD). PMD is a plant-based repellent that gives protection time similar to low concentrations of DEET products. It is not recommended for kids under 3 years old. No matter which repellent you choose, check the list of active ingredients. It should contain one of these effective chemicals. Then, follow the directions carefully. Back to Articles Related Articles Can I Use Bug Killers and Repellents During Pregnancy? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Hey! A Mosquito Bit Me! There are thousands of different kinds of mosquitoes in many different sizes and colors. Learn all about mosquitoes and how they bite you in this article. Read More Malaria Malaria - a common infection in hot, tropical areas - is a leading cause of death worldwide. But if diagnosed early and treated, it can be cured. Read More Bug Bites and Stings Most bug bites and stings are just annoying. But some can cause infections and allergic reactions. It's important to know what to watch for, and when to get medical attention. Read More First Aid: Insect Stings and Bites Being stung by a bug is often just irritating and doesn't require medical treatment. But kids who are highly allergic to stings may need emergency medical care. Read More West Nile Virus The threat of West Nile virus has made getting a mosquito bite a cause for concern. What is West Nile virus, and what can you do to prevent it? Read More Bug Bites and Stings Generally, insect bites and stings are harmless. Find out how to keep pests from ruining your fun. Read More Lyme Disease Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, nervous system, and other organ systems. If Lyme disease is diagnosed quickly and treated with antibiotics, most people feel better quickly. Read More How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease? Does the thought of Lyme disease make you worry about enjoying the great outdoors? Here's some information to help you lower your risk for Lyme disease. Read More Lyme Disease The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Find out more about this disease and how to keep those ticks away. Read More Lyme Disease Lyme disease can be treated if it's caught early. Find out what causes it, how it's treated, and how to prevent it. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.