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Categories > Children’s Health > Children’s safety

Moms want to know…How do I keep bugs from biting?

Enjoying playgrounds, parks and hiking trails with your children is one of the healthiest things you can do for them. But outdoor pests like mosquitoes, bees, wasps, fire ants and other insects—and the risks they pose such as allergic reactions, West Nile virus and other illnesses—are enough to drive you back indoors in a hurry. Your family can still play outdoors but have them take these precautions against close encounters with bugs of the biting and stinging kind:

  • Wear protective clothing. Weather permitting, or anytime you’re in wooded areas, keep covered up as much as possible. Wear long-sleeve shirts and a hat. When hiking, tuck shirts into pants and long pant legs into socks. Avoid wearing bright colors and don’t wear sandals or walk barefoot in the grass.
  • Avoid peak mosquito hours. Take extra precautions or avoid the outdoors during the early morning, dusk and evening hours.
  • Apply insect repellant. Use a product that contains 10 percent to 30 percent DEET and follow instructions carefully to avoid overuse.
  • Don’t antagonize biters and stingers. Teach children to leave nests, hives and anthills alone and not swat at insects.
  • Be careful with cosmetics. Avoid sweet-scented soaps, perfumes, hairsprays and deodorants.
  • Make your home insect resistant. Install or repair window screens. Drain standing water at least once a week—clean out gutters, remove discarded tires and empty water from flower pots, birdbaths, wading pools, buckets, pet dishes, barrels and cans.