As a parent, the last thing you want is for your children to be exposed to harmful pests as they play outdoors. Although many children love to play outdoors and explore with different insects, you want to ensure that you protect them from the pests and the disease and bacteria they carry.
Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce your child’s exposure to harmful pests as they enjoy their time outside. Here are some ways you can protect your children from pests outdoors.
Keeping Your Kids from Harmful Pests Outdoors
Evade the Pests
The best way to protect your child from harmful pests is to know when they are out and hungry. For instance, black flies are likely to be out during the late afternoon and evening while mosquitoes are usually active at dawn and dusk. Avoid keeping your child outdoors during these times. Also, if you happen to see a nest of wasps or yellowjacket near your child, tell them to get indoors until the pest goes away.
Cover them with the Appropriate Clothes
Before going outdoors to play, dress your child in appropriate clothing that will protect them from harmful pests. Dress them in light-colored clothing as bright or dark colored clothing may attract pests or make them harder to spot.
The appropriate clothing is long pants tucked into socks and long shirts tucked into pants. A broad-brimmed hat will help to keep insects away from your child’s face as well. Also, instead of sandals, have them wear closed shoes, especially if they are going to be in swampy or wooded areas. When taking your baby outdoors, fit a mesh net over their strollers so that pests do not have access to them.
Skip the Scent
Another vital tip to keep your kids from harmful pests is by not using scented lotions or soaps on them. Believe it or not, many pests like bugs and bees love the smell of scented soaps and perfumes. So, when your child is going outdoors, use fragrance-free products to make them less attractive to insects.
Drain Stagnant Water
This goes without saying that standing water is a favorable environment for insects like mosquitoes. Protect children against mosquito bites by eliminating stagnant water like bird baths, puddles, and unused pools, particularly in places that the kids love to play.
Avoid Pest Hangouts
Teach your child to steer clear places where pests are likely to stay. This includes garbage cans, bushes, orchards, or flower gardens. If you live in areas in North America or California, you might want to beware of tarantulas, which mostly hide in burrows. Before, they were called banana spiders as they were often found in shipment of fruits. Although their food is mostly other pests, you still want to be careful so that they don’t bite your child.
Use Safe Inspect Repellant
Repellants are an effective way of protecting your kids against biting insects like ticks, fleas, biting flies, and mosquitoes. However, you need to ensure that the repellants are safe and are applied correctly. Most insect repellant products can include citronella oil, DEET, 2% soybean oil, and lemon eucalyptus oil. Products that contain DEET are more likely to protect your child from biting insects compared to those products that don’t have it.
The black-legged tick is a common pest that is found in the backyard, and it carries the Lyme disease. If you live in places that are tick-infested, be sure to apply tick repellant known as permethrin on your child’s clothing.
Here are some tips for applying the insect repellant on your child:
- Always read the repellant’s label and apply it on the clothing of your child and on the exposed skin. However, you should not apply on irritated or wounded skin.
- Apply the repellant in open areas in order to prevent them from breathing in its vapors, which can be dangerous.
- Avoid applying the repellant directly to your child’s face. You should, however, spray the repellant to your hand and apply to their face while avoiding the eyes and mouth.
- Insect repellant should not be applied to children below 2 months.
- Never use products that have both DEET and sunscreen as this will render the sunscreen less effective and overexpose your child to it.
- Wash the repellant with soap and water once your child returns indoors.
Inspect your Child
After playing outdoors, make sure that you inspect your child’s skin for signs of bites or infestation form lice and ticks. Pay close attention to their armpits, scalp, and behind the knees.
While you cannot fully protect your child from all pests, following these simple guidelines will help you reduce their exposure to harmful pests. If your child gets insect bites or sting, let them take a cool bath to reduce the swelling. If the bite can’t be handled at home, immediately go to your nearest clinic or hospital for treatment.