Protection Insect Safety
Aug 01, 2017
Tip #1: Talk to your children about the risks of bug bites
Before we get into anything else, it's extremely important to explain to your children the importance of bugs and their role in nature, but also, why it's important to protect ourselves from their bites. Of course, this doesn't have to be an over-complicated or overly scientific explanation, but if they understand why it is we wear bug spray or that mosquito bites itch (for example), they'll be more understanding when we go through the motions of getting ready to go outside.
Tip #2: Dress them accordingly
Of course, in the summer, it's hard to want to wear long sleeves or socks and toe-covering shoes to protect from bites, but there are some compromises you can make. If they don't have any lightweight, long sleeve shirts or pants that are appropriate for the weather, make sure they aren't in highly-scented lotions or brightly coloured clothing that will attract insects such as wasps or bees. Keep in mind colour as well, because not only do dark colours attract the sun, they also make it more difficult to see critters such as ticks on clothing.
Tip #3: Research the right bug spray or repellent
There's plenty to be said for the ingredients in repellents and spraying bug spray on children, and this one, frankly is all about personal preference. Using a repellent, however, is recommended because of the diseases or stresses that can come with being bitten or stung. Do your homework on the ingredients, and how it responds to your child's skin. Some oil-based repellents or the scent alone may irritate their skin, causing more harm than good. There are also plenty of natural options available; check local stores for these alternatives. Be sure to apply bug repellent at least 20 minutes after sun screen so that both work effectively, and wash the repellent and sunscreen off your child after they're done playing outside.
Tip #4: Be calm and cool when treating a bite
How children respond to insect bites often is dependent on how adults react. Be calm, cool and collected. A cool compress can help take out the sting or itch from any kind of bite, like mosquitoes or bees. If it's a bee sting, which is most shocking for a child, be mellow and apply a cold compress, such as ice. There really isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to any situation, but do your best to treat it as a learning opportunity, especially since, as calm as you are about it -they'll learn, it really isn't that bad.
Tip #5: Make sure they look for bites
This goes hand in hand with Tip #4, because, especially after playing outside in the grass or in a forest, there's no saying how many insects they may have come in contact with. Certain signs, such as the bulls-eye ring of a tick, can be a strong indication of Lyme Disease - which is alarming. But for kids, they may not even see, let alone realize, it's cause for concern. Teaching kids to inspect their arms and legs for any bites or differences on their body, is a great way to arm them with knowledge and encouragement they need as they become more and more self-aware. Of course, having them feel comfortable notifying adults, which, kids tend to do anyways, is the best next step to treat it if they do find anything.