Raising North Dakota: Safely protecting our kids from mosquitoes

Good Day Dakota

Mosquitoes … they may look harmless, but when they rise in the masses from the grass beneath your feet, you seek cover.

Your kids, on the other hand, could care less – so how do we safely protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus?

Most of us, like daycare director Shelly Hauge, reach for the bug spray…

“I just wanna make sure that whatever they have to use that we apply before we go outside, I’m really nervous about the West Nile,” says Shelley Hauge, director of Child’s Hope Learning Center.

So Hauge and staff carefully spray repellent into their hands and cover each child from head to toe.

But there are some parents who are leery of using chemicals on their children, such as DEET, which is found in most bug sprays.

Hauge says, “That is a big fear is the chemical stuff and we have had parents have brought homemade things they made, so that’s perfectly fine too.”

While experts consider DEET one of the most effective ways to prevent bites, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Center for Disease control do not recommend using DEET on children younger than two months of age, and no more than 30 percent DEET on older children.

So how do we protect our youngest and most vulnerable?

“We have to have the mosquito netting around the pac-n-play or stroller, so I have done that before just to get the fresh air,” says Hauge.

Some caregivers turn to chemical-free repellents as well, and there are many to consider.

With that being said, it is up to you, the parent, to decide what is best for your kiddo.

“I think you just have to be aware of what age and what the mosquito population is doing right now,” says Hauge. “When hot out, they don’t like that, so they’re not out much, but on a cooler day, then they’re in the grass and floating around. So then you just have to be aware if it’s a good day, or of course windy days in North Dakota, then they kind of blow away!”

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