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The 5 Best Insect Repellents for Kids of 2024

We tested the top repellents from Off, Cutter Sawyer, and more to find the best at beating bugs

The Best Insect Repellents for 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.


June 12, 2024

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Media Mentions

Sawyer has an alternative [to DEET] made with Picaridin, which works just as well without spoiling your clothes.

James Wong
Freelance Writer

Media Mentions

Zinzi Edmundson, the founder of Treehouse newsletter, who gardens in Maine, suggests spraying your shoes, especially (she uses Sawyer’s permethrin).

Laura Fenton

Media Mentions

I carry bottles of water, but I also have a Sawyer squeeze water filter. Also, if it’s cold, make sure you sleep with your water filter in your sleeping bag, so it doesn’t freeze.

Shilletha Curtis