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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can start using EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, 2-undecanone, or IR3535 when your child is 2 months old. For children age 3 years and older, you can also use products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE or para-menthane-diol, PMD).
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends not using products with a DEET concentration greater than 30 percent on children (and no repellent on children younger than 2 months).
You may want to try a natural insect repellent, such as an EPA-registered citronella product, but read the label first to make sure it's safe to use on babies. (Repellent products must state any age restrictions.)
Natural repellents generally don't last as long as chemical repellents, so you may need to reapply frequently.
Insect repellents are an important part of protecting your child from tic- and mosquito-borne viruses, especially when you're traveling in places where these illnesses are common. (See our articles on Lyme disease, dengue, and West Nile for more information.)
When using insect repellent on your child, follow these safety precautions.