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How best to repel mosquitoes and other insects from your baby at night

sleepy-baby

Mosquitoes are mostly active at night so it can be a real nuisance in the house hiding away in curtains and drapes particularly in the bedrooms.  Who hasn’t heard that telltale whine as you drift off to sleep?

It is possible to open windows and let fresh air in if you also take certain steps to keep the room insect-free.  But don’t just focus on the house.  Be aware of your external environment.  A cleverly planted garden can discourage biting insects, there are lots of beautiful flowers like marigolds and chrysanthemums and herbs such as lavender and rosemary which mosquitoes in particular, really dislike.

It’s horrible to wake up in the morning with bites particularly for infants and babies so take a look at our tips to keep your house and, most importantly, the kids’ nursery bug-free during the warmer months.

  • Shut the windows – sounds obvious but keep your bedroom windows closed. If you really want to open them for fresh air then you will need to use insect nets or blinds
  • Insect nets and blinds – these cover the windows and doors allowing you to leave them open for fresh air to circulate whilst keeping the room bug free
  • Cot and bed insect nets and domes – use an insect net which covers the bed or crib, there are myriad styles and designs to suit all types of bed, crib, and cot. Some of these also double up to cover the infant when in a seat or over a playpen.  Choose from a range of funky colors and make the net a real feature of the nursery or bedroom.  The tent effect or Arabian night styling is a wonderful novelty allowing the child to stay cool with exposed skin, free from the bites of mosquitoes and other insects.  Most mosquito nets are usually white because this is the hardest color for the insect to focus on.  Also, do bear in mind that some of these nets and shields are pre-treated with insecticides which might be a matter of life and death if you are trying to avoid malaria in Africa but probably not necessary for your average residence in the States.  However, you can spray the net with Citronella to further discourage biting insects
  • Install fans – these not only keep the room cool at night and the sleeper cool under insect netting but the disruption to the airflow caused by the fan is disliked by insects
  • Keep the bedroom door closed – sounds obvious but insects will fly upstairs from open windows and doors downstairs so keep the bedroom door closed at all times. If you are worried about a baby or an infant and feel uncomfortable about closing the door then use a baby monitor or install an insect repellent door screen.  Some children don’t like falling asleep with the door closed but a night light usually provides reassurance and you can dim this right down when they are asleep
  • Check for cracks – insects are really clever at finding their way through tiny gaps you may have missed particularly mosquitoes so check carefully around the window frames and use a draught excluder if there is a gap under the door
  • Wear light colors – lighter colors and white are far harder for mosquitoes to see so opt for pale and pastel shades of night attire – avoid dark blue and black
  • Camphor- place a piece of camphor in a bowl and then fill with water leaving the bowl in a location where insects seem to congregate
  • Burn Citronella candles – use citronella or geraniol which is floral-scented alcohol in candle form, these candles are very effective at deterring insects but never leave a candle unattended even for a short time and never in a child’s bedroom or nursery
  • Sweep the bedroom – check out the child’s bedroom every evening before they go to bed. Insects, particularly mosquitoes, like dark corners and are particularly adept at hiding in the folds of fabrics such as curtains and drapes.  Make sure all bed netting and window and door shields are secure and check bed covers in particular for tiny tears or gaps where the net has become dislodged or detached by the child during their previous nights’ sleep
  • Check your external environment – even a tiny amount of standing water in a pot or planter will attract thousands of biting insects so make sure there is nothing available in your garden or yard. Empty paddling pools very regularly and check out children’s toys which are great receptacles for water after a summer soaking.  There are a range of attractive garden lights and luminaires either standing or hanging which can deter insects and provide a real feature to your outdoor environment, sodium lamps are another option

Keeping your home and in particular, bedrooms, insect-free and comfortable for sleeping relies on a process of management rather than just one quick fix.  Diseases like malaria are on the rise again with malaria-carrying mosquitoes mostly biting at night and indoors.  By implementing a few changes to your domestic environment, it is possible to repel the majority of biting insects including mosquitoes and avoid reliance on harmful chemicals that are injurious to human health and bad for the environment.