9 Best Bug Sprays And Lotions For Kids

Mom spraying two boys with bug repellent in the woods.

Choosing the correct bug sprays for kids can make or break your summer! Warm weather provides more precious time outside, but this newfound freedom unfortunately also means more bugs! As parents, we know bugs can be a tricky part of enjoying the great outdoors. It is no fun to have itchy kids. Plus, who wants to be constantly swatting the bugs away while trying to play? This summer, many families are choosing national parks, camping, and RVing. Thus making these questions all the more relevant. Therefore, to help you better enjoy your outdoor family adventures, we’ve rounded up a list of the 9 Best Bug Sprays For Kids

Types of Bug Spray for Kinds Included in this Article

A dad holds his two young kids close while sitting atop a rock ledge in Acadia National Park, looking onto the stunning ocean view.
Photo Courtesy: Lori LeRoy

Firstly, parents can review each of these three sections detailing the best bug spray for kids and make a selection that is right for their family. Our first section, DEET Free Mosquito Repellents for Kids, highlights versatile options for any situation, ideal for all ages. For those looking for a heavy-duty option, we have also included Safe DEET Bug Repellents for Kids. Finally, if you are looking for an alternative option, two of our community members submitted Essential Oil Bug Repellents for Kids. Finally, no matter what option to choose for your kids, you’ll feel satisfied knowing you’ve kept them bug-free to continue enjoying your family’s outdoor adventures!

RELATED: 4th-Grade National Park Pass: What You Need to Know

DEET-Free Bug Sprays for Kid

Close up of a mosquito biting the skin of a white person.

It’s no secret bug sprays are a popular product on the market for families. Have you ever walked down the bug repellent aisle at your local grocery store? There are so many options! In fact, it can quickly become overwhelming for many parents trying to decide which is best for their kids. A few options are better than others, however! Then, many families prefer DEET-free bug sprays for kids. Therefore, here are the top DEET-free bug sprays for kids to help you narrow down your search!

AVON Skin So Soft Bug Guard

Bottle of Skin So Soft bug spray. One of the best bug sprays for kids.
Photo Courtesy: AVON via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

AVON Skin So Soft Bug Guard was the most recommended bug spray for kids when we polled our Facebook group Families Love Travel. It is most effective against mosquitoes, deer ticks, gnats, no-see-ums, sand flies, and biting midges. Skin So Soft also uses Picaridin, which is a bug repellent alternative to DEET that has a low odor and a non-greasy feel. Plus, AVON Skin So Soft Bug Guard comes in easy-to-use towelettes! Lastly, the products are perfect for applying to children, simple to pack, and great for traveling. Certainly, families looking for the best mosquito repellent for kids will appreciate this option.

Badger Anti-Bug

Three Badger Anti-Bug balm packages staged together. It is one of the best bug repellents for kids.
Photo Courtesy: Badger Store via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

Then, Badger Anti-Bug Balm is certified organic and features a pleasant smell. Made without chemicals, Badger Anti-Bug Balm is also proven to last up to 3 hours, making it great for active families. This eco-friendly bug repellent is also easy to apply, securing its place on our list featuring the best bug spray for kids. Families can also get it in a balm or spray form. Finally, your kids will love the cute badger cartoon featured on the packaging!

Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent

Spray bottle of Babyganics, a natural insect repellent. It is one of the best bug sprays for babies and kids.
Photo Courtesy: Babyganics Store via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent offers families a natural alternative to the usual bug sprays for kids. It is also one of the best bug sprays for babies. In fact, it is made entirely of plant-based ingredients, it will keep mosquitoes, gnats, and flies away from little ones for the long haul! Additionally, Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent can be purchased in spray or towelette form. Families will also love its non-greasy application and low-odor as well! Gentle on skin, it is also non-toxic, should it happen to end up in your child’s mouth.


A spray bottle of Natrapel, one of the best bug sprays for kids.
Photo Courtesy: Natrapel via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

Natrapel is registered with the EPA, proven to repel mosquitoes and ticks for up to 12 hours. Families seeking the best mosquito repellent for kids will certainly appreciate this option. Natrapel also uses Picaridin, a popular DEET alternative. Then, it is approved for use of children over 2 months, making it one of the best bug sprays for babies. In addition, Natrapel can be used by those pregnant and breastfeeding. Best of all, the Natrapel spray can also be found in a variety of sizes, making it perfect for family travel and storing at home! 

Sawyer Insect Repellent

Spray bottle of Sawyer insect repellent, one of the best bug sprays for kids.
Photo Courtesy: Sawyer Products Store via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

Then, Sawyer Insect Repellent is a fragrance-free bug repellent that uses Picaridin, a DEET alternative. It is effective against flies, mosquitos, ticks, and more. Families will also love that it comes in lotion and spray. In addition, Sawyer Insect Repellent offers lotion dispensers for a refillable, eco-friendly option. Sawyer Insect Repellent also claims that it will not harm clothing, backpacks, or other materials (perfect for loading the kids in their car seats after a long day outside!).

Safe DEET Bug Sprays for Kids

DEET has gotten a bad reputation in the past. However, both the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics have confirmed that DEET is safe for children over 2 months, provided the concentration is between 10% and 30%. DEET bug repellent should not be used on infants younger than 2 months, though. Finally, to assist you in your search for the best mosquito repellent for kids, here are our recommendations for safe DEET insect repellents for families!

Repel Insect Repellent

Aerosel spray bottle of Repel Insect Repellent. One of the best bug sprays for kids.
Photo Courtesy: Repel Store via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

Repel Insect Repellent contains 15% DEET, creating a barrier of protection against mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies, no-see-ums, and fleas. Repel Insect Repellent is also resistant to perspiration, which means it only requires one application. Families will also love that Repel Insect Repellent comes in a variety of appealing scent options. It’s also pretty versatile, available as a lotion, aerosol, towelette, or pump. Certainly, Repel Insect Repellent is definitely an all-purpose bug spray for kids that families will love!

OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent

Aerosel spray bottle of Off! Deep Woods insect repellent.
Photo Courtesy: OFF! Store via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

Then, OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent with 25% DEET works to protect against mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, and chiggers. It also claims to apply dry, meaning skin won’t be left oily or greasy. OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent is also one of the best bug repellents for travel, camping, fishing, and outdoor adventuring for decades. Finally, its long-lasting protection means one application allows a full day of hiking, exploring, and fun outside with your kids! 

Sawyer Products Ultra 30% DEET Insect Repellent Lotion

Two bottles of Sawyer Ultra 30 Insect Repellent lotion. One of the best DEET bug sprays for kids.
Photo Courtesy: Sawyer Store via Amazon

Why Our Families Love It

In addition to non-DEET options, Sawyer also has a 30% DEET insect repellent. It is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, flies, chiggers, fleas, and no-see-ums. Then, with up to 11 hours of protection, one application of Sawyer Products Ultra 30% DEET Insect Repellent Lotion means a full day of fun! Families will also love that it is non-greasy, odorless, and resistant to perspiration. Additionally, Sawyer Products Ultra 30% DEET Insect Repellent Lotion is non-staining, which projects clothes, car seats, and backpacks. Not to mention, this is one of the best bug repellents for travel due to its compact size and ease of use.

Essential Oil Bug Sprays for Kids

Additionally, a lot of families have been looking for chemical-free alternatives to several household items lately; toothpaste, kitchen cleaners, and sunscreen, for example. In fact, many families swear by the use of essential oils as a bug repellent for kids. As such, we have also included two essential oil bug repellent options submitted by our Facebook members.


White hands holding three bottles of doTerra essential oils: Frankincense, Lavendar, and Balance.

Firstly, two contributors to our Facebook group shared that they use lavender essential oil as a mosquito repellent for kids. Not only is it a more long-lasting and affordable alternative, but it smells a lot better too! Lavender has also been used for centuries as a natural bug repellent (often as a deterrent to moths in dresser drawers!). Finally, some recent studies affirm its efficacy for warding off unwanted insects, maintaining its safety for children as well.

A Recipe for an Essential Oil Bug Spray

Hand with a bug spray bottle spaying the kids hand

Luckily for parents who love to DIY, you can also make your own essential oil bug repellent at home. So if you’re looking for an effective essential oil recipe to make in a jiffy right now, search no further! In fact, one of our Facebook members, Mia De Jesus, graciously provided hers to publish on Families Love Travel.

Essential Oils Needed

  • Cedarwood – 15 drops
  • Lemongrass – 15 drops
  • Citronella – 15 drops
  • Germanium – 10 drops


Firstly, mix the above ingredients with distilled water and plain witch hazel. Then, Maria shares that this recipe for an essential oil bug repellent can be “sprayed on skin and clothes”.

Looking to compare multiple recipes? Another recipe for an essential oil ug spray can be found here, by Facebook member Jill Robbins on her blog Ripped Jeans & Bifocals.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors!

Mom and son look over and outlook onto cliffs and water near Olympia.
Photo Courtesy: Diane Oliveira

No matter which bug repellents for kids you ultimately choose, read and follow its provided instructions. Using these safety guidelines will ensure proper use, as well as a long-lasting effect. Then, we hope this article on the best bug spray for kids helped you identify the best options for your family this summer. Now, get outside and have some fun! Finally, if you’re seeking even more options, read our other article featuring the Best Insect Repellent Alternatives to Bug Spray and Lotion.

Then, read all about our Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary For Families!

Thank You to Our Community!

Four kids cuddle with a puppy amoung the cliffs of Sedona, Arizona.
Photo Courtesy: Missi Dunham

Finally, a special thank you to the Families Who Love to Travel community! Many of our members submitted their favorite bug sprays for kids to share with other families. Families Who Love To Travel is a group of amazing families who love adventure and exploring through travel. Join the Facebook community, follow us on Instagram, and find us on Pinterest. Each platform allows families to connect with other families who also love the unique experiences travel has to offer!

Then, discover the 10 Best National Parks in the United States for Families!

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.


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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.