Will DEET hurt children?

DEET can irritate eyes and sensitive skin or dry it out. Some people are allergic to DEET. Infants and children tend to be more sensitive to DEET than adults. To minimize adverse reactions to DEET:

  • Apply repellent sparingly and only to exposed skin
  • Apply repellent to clothing to reduce DEET absorption through the skin
  • Avoid using products with DEET concentrations over 30% (particularly on children and infants)
  • Avoid inhalation or ingestion of repellents, contact with eyes, wounds or irritated skin
  • Avoid applying repellents to portions of children's hands which are likely to come into contact with their eyes or mouth

While DEET is an effective repellent, high concentrations can feel unpleasantly oily and can melt plastic, watch crystals and paint finishes. It is safe on nylon, cotton and wool. However, it can damage rayon, acetate and spandex. Test repellents on an inside seem of polyester/cotton blends to see if DEET damages them. Products with citronella, an oil extract from lemon-scented grass or from eucalyptus, can be purchased from health food or camping stores. Avon Skin-So-Soft is widely used as a repellent, but it is not effective for all people. These products must be reapplied more frequently, and they are much less effective than DEET.

Show All Answers

1. What if I don’t want my property treated or sprayed?
2. Are mosquitoes attracted to some people more than others?
3. What purposes do mosquitoes serve?
4. What diseases do mosquitoes carry?
5. Do mosquitoes carry AIDS?
6. Are the chemicals harmful to people or pets?
7. Will DEET hurt children?
8. What is the best personal repellent?
9. How can one type of insect be controlled without hurting other insects or wildlife?
10. What is the best way to control mosquitoes?
11. How effective is the spray?
12. Why can't mosquito control programs spray during the day?
13. How do districts decide where to spray?
14. How long does the mosquito spray last?
15. What does Mosquito Control do and why?
16. How safe are the pesticides being used?
17. When do you spray?
18. Is it true that only certain mosquitoes bite and/or transmit disease?
19. Can I as a homeowner make a difference in the mosquito population in my area?
20. Can I spray my yard myself?
21. Why is it so important that I inspect my yard when ditches and woodland surround me?
22. When are the Commission Meetings held?