SeeVay is a baby product store that provides comprehensive safety checklists and a curated selection of high-quality, safe baby products. Our mission is to give new moms peace of mind by ensuring their baby’s safety is always top of mind.
Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.
Wondering how to best protect kids from mosquitoes and the sun’s strong rays? There are some age guidelines to consider when it comes to using sunscreen and bug spray on children.
“Kids have thinner skin and things can be absorbed more easily,” warned Jennifer Beecker, the national chair of the Canadian Dermatology Association‘s Sun Awareness Program.
Special rules for babies
That’s why Health Canada does not recommend putting either sunscreen or insect repellent on babies under six months. Citronella oil shouldn’t be applied on infants or toddlers either.
Instead, parents are advised to “use a mosquito net when babies are outdoors in a crib, playpen or stroller” and “keep babies under one year out of direct sunlight… never let them play or sleep in the sun.”
On children aged six months to two years, you’re able to use insect repellents containing only up to 10 per cent DEET. But don’t use it more than once daily. That limit should still give three hours of protection.
Order matters
Another important tip:
“Apply sunscreen first and then insect repellent,” said Beecker.
She explained that the skin absorption of the chemicals in the bug spray may be increased if it’s the other way around.
Health Canada also urges parents not to use products that are a combination of sunscreen and insect repellent.
WATCH: Natural alternatives to outdoor essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent
Don’t spray either of the products on a child’s face — use your hands to spread instead.
In general, experts prefer sunscreen lotion over sprays (as practical as they may seem).
If you do use the spray, make sure to rub it in, “otherwise you’ll miss spots,” Beecker said.
Sunscreen ingredients
There have been concerns raised by some environmental groups over a common sunscreen ingredient — oxybenzone — being a carcinogen.
The claim, which Beecker said “is not based on any scientific evidence,” has been refuted by groups like The Skin Cancer Foundation  and the American Academy of Dermatology.
“We do know that approved sunscreens are very effective at preventing skin cancer, which is the most common cancer in the world,” Beecker stressed.
Still, some parents are letting the unfounded concern prevent them from protecting their children properly.
WATCH: Some parents are saying no to conventional sunscreen and making their own
For people who are concerned about a sunscreen’s ingredients, or those who have sensitive skin, Beecker recommended looking for one that uses a physical (rather than chemical) barrier, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
You may also want to stay away from those containing fragrances, as some people can react to that.
“You have to be a bit of a label reader.”
And look for one that’s water resistant, if possible.
READ MORE: What you need to know about sunscreen
More bug spray regulations for kids
Here’s what else Health Canada considers appropriate when it comes to insect reppellent:
Get a roundup of the most important and intriguing stories, delivered to your inbox
Get a roundup of the most important and intriguing stories, delivered to your inbox

At SeeVay, we know that the safety and well-being of your baby is your top priority. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to make sure you’re always on top of your baby’s safety. We understand that being a new mom can be overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start.


You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *