Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite! Babies love bugs. Ladybugs, butterflies and caterpillars delight your baby’s little eyes with their seemingly magical tricks of flying and spinning. Most bugs are harmless to touch, but others, like red ants, biting flies and mosquitoes can cause annoying itching, redness, and minor swelling. For those symptoms, ice and soothing creams can be very helpful. Children can be much more sensitive to stings and bites than adults. Swelling over more than an inch of skin or other physical symptoms like rough breathing can be signs that a doctor’s help is necessary.
There are really only 2 ways to keep bugs at bay. The first is avoidance and the other is insect repellent. Repellents that use DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, also known as N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) can often cause skin problems much worse than those that would be caused by the bugs themselves. DEET is a neurotoxin that, when used topically, can cause dermatitis, seizures and worse. The risks are higher for babies and young children. DEET is particularly harmful when swallowed. Since children are prone to sticking fingers, toes, knees and everything else in their mouths at every opportunity, it is especially important to avoid DEET.
Instead, stay inside at dusk and dawn, use protective clothing and, when necessary, use insect repellents that use natural ingredients like citronella, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint oils. You can also make sure the bed bugs don’t bite by investing in a rubber mattress. This provides protection against dust mites, many allergens, chemical off-gassing, and possibly even SIDS.