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The 5 Best Insect Repellents for Kids of 2024

Finding the best insect repellent for kids and your family shouldn't require a science class or intensive research. We've researched and considered the 10 top products available, considering which chemicals are recommended by experts as safe and effective for children. We tested each repellent in various circumstances for efficacy, ease of application, smell, and more to help you determine which options are the best for your family or bug-repelling goals.

Outdoor summer fun with kids takes some planning and gear. We've tested several products, from the best sunscreen for babies to top-ranked kids' water bottles, including our favorite swim goggles to ensure safe summertime fun.

1 Best Overall Bug Spray for Kids Sawyer Insect Repellent

Sawyer Insect Repellent is a versatile 20% Picaridin spray that is easy to use and comes in a small, handy-sized bottle for transporting. We like the smell, which disappears when dry, and the insects it is effective on are vast. We find Sawyer effective against most creepy crawlies, and it is suitable for skin and gear. It has a double-lid system container to help prevent leaks, and the smaller bottle fits almost anywhere, i.e., a cup holder or backpack.

This bottle has two lids to prevent leaks, but two tops are somewhat annoying to keep track of, and we suspect you'll lose at least one of them before the bottle is empty (we did on both bottles). The smaller bottle also won't last as long as the larger bottle competition if you use it regularly for the whole family. While it comes in a two-pack, it would be nice to get a little more repellent for your money or at least larger bottles so you don't need to tote more than one. Despite our gripe with the bottle size, we like this effective, straightforward spray that leaves no strange feel or scent. Plus, we see how a smaller bottle might be good for backpacks and car cup holders, so we are willing to work with the smaller bottle and dual cap to get the best protection. For frequent use, a bigger bottle like the OFF! Family Care Insect & Mosquito Repellent may be more suitable for your family's needs. You can often score a good deal on a multi-pack, too.

Read more of the best bug spray for kids, written by Wendy Schmitz here.

LAST UPDATED

February 20, 2024

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Personally, I use Sawyer’s Fabric Treatment–available in pump or spray–for my hunting and hiking clothes.

Popular Mechanics

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Casserly’s favorite water treatment is a squeeze filter like the SAWYER SQUEEZE filtration system ($29, sawyer.com), which screws onto the included flasks or a plastic water bottle. Squeeze filters are ideal for individual use. They’re light and inexpensive, and you can drink the water immediately through the filter.

Scout Life
Media Mentions from Scout Life

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While young babies should be protected with clothing and netting (not chemicals), older babies and children should use a suitable repellent to help avoid bites, discomfort, and insect-borne illnesses.

Molly Bradac