Summer Reminders: Keeping Children Safe

To reduce the possibility of being bitten by insects or arthropods that can transmit diseases (vector-borne), such as West Nile virus, Lyme Disease, and tickborne encephalitis (TBE), you should?

·          Use an insect repellent on exposed skin to repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other arthropods. EPA-registered repellents include products containing DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) and picaridin (KBR 3023). DEET concentrations of 30% to 50% are effective for several hours. Picaridin, available at 7% and 15 % concentrations, needs more frequent application. Spray the repellent outside, primarily on clothing, and only on exposed skin.  Avoid the eyes.  Spray the repellent into your hands and apply it to the face with your hands.  Do not spray the face.

·          DEET formulations as high as 50% are now recommended for both adults and children over 2 months of age. Protect infants less than 2 months of age by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.

·          When using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and then repellent. Inspect yourself or your child at night before bedtime and do not forget to look on the scalp. Wash off repellant at the end of the day before going to bed.

·          Before you travel, visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control to determine whether there are any risks of diseases in that area, even if your travel is in the US. If tick or mosquito-borne diseases are a risk in the region, plan to wear long-sleeved shirts, which should be tucked in, long pants, and hats to cover exposed skin. When you visit areas with ticks and fleas, wear boots, not sandals, and tuck pants into socks.

·          Inspect your child’s body and clothing for ticks during outdoor activity and at the end of the day. Wear light-colored or white clothing so ticks can be more easily seen. Removing ticks right away can prevent some infections.

·          Apply permethrin-containing (e.g., Permanone) or other insect repellents to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear for greater protection. Permethrin is not labeled for use directly on skin. Most repellent is generally removed from clothing and gear by a single washing, but permethrin-treated clothing is effective for up to 5 washings.

·          Be aware that mosquitoes are most active during twilight periods (dawn and dusk or in the evening). Avoid areas with standing water where mosquitoes breed. eliminate any standing water, such as cleaning gutters so they drain properly, filling ground depressions with soil, discarding old tires, putting away garden equipment that may collect water, such as pails, pots or wheelbarrows, and changing birdbath water at least every other day. Caution your children to do the same, as well as to avoid approaching unknown animals, wild or domesticated.

·          Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, and/ or sleep under an insecticide treated bed net. Bed nets should be tucked under mattresses and can be sprayed with a repellent if not already treated with an insecticide.

·          If you find a tick on yourself, try to remove it, and if you have any concerns about your or your child’s health, please contact your private caregiver.

·          For other tips to keep your child safe in the summer visit