Written by Ashwin Dewan and published on 08 June 2021.
Mosquito coils and repellents are our go-to devices to ward off mosquitoes and avoid getting bitten. But, are these mosquito coils safe for a baby?
Mosquitoes pose a serious threat to our health. They are responsible for some of the deadliest and dangerous diseases known to mankind such as malaria, chikungunya and dengue.
To counter these diseases, a variety of mosquito coils, repellents, creams, roll-on sticks and body sprays are available in the market. Most of these are effective to a certain extent. But, are they safe to use on a baby? A look at some of these in detail:
Mosquito coils are commonly used to provide protection from mosquitoes in India. However, when these coils are used for a long time indoors, they pollute the air in the area where they are kept. Babies should not be exposed to the fumes of these coils as it may lead to headaches, coughs, nausea and dizziness. Long-term exposure may include allergies, asthma and respiratory irritation.
What to do: Keep the baby in another room when the coil is burning. Bring the baby into the room only after opening the windows and remember to keep a burning coil away from the baby as it can result in serious burns.
A safe way would be to use the vaporizer for some time in the room for the mosquitoes to clear out and switch it off before bringing the baby into the room. Plug-in repellents are also useless in case there is a power cut.
Note: Plug-in repellents often have bright indicator lights that may attract babies, so parents should ensure that it is out of reach of the baby.
Applying creams or roll-on sticks can protect a baby for a limited time. As creams and roll-on sticks last for only a few hours, they need to be applied again. One should choose a repellent that is best suited to babies.
What to do: For babies over the age of two months, repellents with up to 30% of DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Parents should also remember to apply DEET and other repellents only to clothing and to exposed skin.
Mosquito sprays should be sprayed in open areas and never indoors. Parents should avoid the baby inhaling the spray. Fumes from sprays are not safe for a baby as they cause breathing problems.
As carriers of many diseases, mosquitos can be dangerous for children. This makes mosquito repellents a necessity in spite of their side effects. However, using these tips, parents can use mosquito repellents effectively without causing any adverse effects to children.
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