The 7 Best Bug Sprays for Kids in 2019

Keep your family safe from bites and diseases

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent at Amazon

“What's great about this formula is it isn't greasy and it sprays on dry and smooth in an aerosol can.”

Best DEET-Free: REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent at Amazon

“This formula uses lemon-eucalyptus oil to make mosquitoes buzz off for up to six hours.”

Best With DEET: OFF! Deep Woods Repellent Dry at Amazon

“This pick from OFF! has a concentration of 25% DEET so it will keep insects at bay for up to an eight hours.”

Best Wipes: Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes at Amazon

“Wipes are a great way to make sure you can always protect your family on the go.”

Best Fragrance-Free: Sawyer 20% Picaridin at Amazon

“Contains 20 percent Picaridin and promises up to 8 hours of protection.”

Best Natural: Babyganics DEET-Free Repellent at Amazon

“This formula harnesses the power of essential oils like citronella, peppermint, rosemary, to keep bugs off your skin.”

Best Wearable: Insect Shield Tee at Insect Shield
“The efficacy of these products lasts for about 70 washings.”

 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent

When it comes to protecting your family from insects that carry Zika, West Nile, and Lyme's Disease, the CDC recommends using repellents that contain DEET to keep your family safe.

This favorite from OFF! does just that with a lower concentration of DEET (15%)which is suitable for shorter periods outside—say in your backyard for a barbecue. What's great about this formula is it isn't greasy and it sprays on dry and smooth in an aerosol can.

Whenever applying insect repellent to a child you should never spray directly onto their skin, but onto your hands and then rub into their skin (avoiding their hands), and then wash your hands after.

To find the most up to date knowledge on bug sprays check out the EPA's repellent finder.

Best DEET-Free: REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

If you want to shy away from DEET for your family, this formula uses lemon-eucalyptus oil to make mosquitoes buzz off for up to six hours. The scent is natural and fresh as opposed to other chemical-laden versions. Just note, the CDC does not recommend using oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3 years of age.

Online reviewers say they like the natural ingredients and say it works extremely well. Some aren’t fans of the scent, but most say they prefer it over other brands and that the scent fades over time after you apply it.

Take a look at other product reviews and shop for the best bikes for kids available online.

Best With DEET: OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent VIII Dry

When your family is going into an area that is known for bug-borne diseases you want to fight them off with a higher DEET concentration. This pick from OFF! has a concentration of 25% DEET so it will keep insects at bay for up to an eight hours. For an added layer of protection be sure to cover your exposed skin with clothing as well.

As with all bug sprays be sure to follow the instructions of use before applying. Since this has a higher concentration of DEET you might only want to use it when you are going deep into buggy territory, not everyday use. For places with Zika, West Nile, and more you'll want to keep your children as safe as possible.

The EWG's bug repellent guide can break down the best types of formulas to look for when venturing outside.

Best Wipes: Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes

cutter-wipes

Courtesy of Amazon

Sprays are not only a pain to apply, but they can also be quite cumbersome to carry around all summer. When you are looking for the best insect repellent for children wipes are a great way to make sure you can always protect your family on the go.

These wipes by trusted brand Cutter are formulated with 7.15% DEET. This lower concentration of DEET might be preferred by parents when Zika, Lyme's, and other diseases aren't a big factor in their area.

To apply just open the pack and wipe the towelette over exposed areas of skin, being sure to avoid the face and hands. When you are done, you can put the towel back in the package for reapplication if needed.

Best Fragrance-Free: Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin

Along with bug sprays typically come a telltale scent, but this one from Sawyer Products promises scent-free protection from mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks and more. The formula contains 20 percent Picaridin (another powerhouse in preventing diseases) and promises up to 8 hours of protection.

Thousands of online customers say this bug spray can’t be beaten. Many say it’s the best they’ve found after trying countless other brands, and that they’ve traveled around the world using it with great results. They note there’s no oily residue and like that it’s a powerful alternative to DEET-based products.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best sunscreens for kids.

Best Natural: Babyganics Natural DEET-Free Insect Repellent

When it comes to protecting your family its safest to chose an EPA registered bug spray that is scientifically proven to fight off bugs as well as being safe to apply to your children. With that being said we know that sometimes you want a more natural formula for everyday use to prevent bug bites that don't carry a risk of diseases. Our top pick for the best natural bug spray is Babyganics DEET-free repellent.

This formula harnesses the power of essential oils like citronella, peppermint, rosemary, to keep bugs off your skin. Since this uses essential oils as its means of fighting off bugs it has a potent smell that isn't entirely unpleasant. Reviews are mixed on its effectiveness but a lot of factors like region and time of day need to be taken into account.

If you are in the market for one of the best natural bug sprays, to prevent bug bites, this pick from Babyganics is worth a shot.

Best Wearable: Insect Shield Tee

insect-shield-shirt

Courtesy of Insect Shield 

Skip the bug spray and try clothing treated with permethrin which has been proven to repel ticks and mosquitos. Just have your kid wear this shirt—or anything else treated with permethrin—when they go outside and insects like chiggers, flies, mosquitos, and ticks will be repelled.

The efficacy of these products lasts for about 70 washings. You can also buy permethrin yourself and treat your own clothing with it, you just have to follow instructions very carefully to make sure it works correctly.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the best bug spray for kids on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered over 20 different bug sprays to buy overall, screened options from 15-20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the bug sprays themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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