Magazine article Working Mother

Bug-Spray Smarts

Magazine article Working Mother

Bug-Spray Smarts

Article excerpt

Many parents use insect repellents in potentially unsafe ways, according to a recent study from the University of Maryland at College Park. In a survey of 301 parents visiting Maryland campgrounds, nearly one third said they applied repellent to their children's palms, making it possible for a child to rub the repellent into her eyes or ingest it through her mouth. And 25 percent reported not washing off repellent before putting their kids to bed, prolonging their exposure to the chemicals. Ten percent said they sprayed kids directly in the face with repellent. According to the study's coauthor, Amy Brown, PhD, these practices are problematic since most parents in the study, like most parents in general, use products containing DEET, which can be toxic if used incorrectly. To be smarter about bug spray:

Watch the DEET level. Check the label; the repellent should be no more than 30 percent DEET, the maximum level that many experts recommend for kids. …

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