As the sun comes out so do the bugs, and being bitten can be extremely irritating and – in some cases – potentially dangerous. Therefore, having an effective insect repellent on hand is essential.


To help you find the best effective insect repellent that is safe for your child, we asked parents across the UK what they use and why they like it so much.

In the list we've included all different types of insect repellent so whether you want a lotion, a patch, a bracelet, a spray or plug, you will find an insect repellent that suits you and your child.

As the weather gets warmer it's important you also protect your child's skin and eyes with sunscreen, a sun hat and sunglasses. You may also find a car shade helpful for blocking out the sun in the car, or a buggy cover useful if your child is still in a pram or pushchair.

Best insect repellents for kids at a glance

  • Best insect repellent for dry skin: Avon Skin So Soft Original Dry Oil Body Spray, £5.25
  • Best lotion insect repellent: Jungle Formula For Kids, £7.49
  • Best insect repellent spray for babies: VIE Heathcare Anti Mosquito Spray, £9.54
  • Best waterproof insect repellent: Jungle Formula Kids Anti-Mosquito Slap-it Band Insect Repellent, £10
  • Best sustainable insect repellent: Toddle Insect Repellent for Children, £5.99
  • Best insect repellent wipes: VIE Anti Mosquito Wipes (24 pack), £6.09
  • Best plug-in insect repellent: Boots Repel Mosquito Killer 3 Pin Plug-In, £8.41
  • Best insect repellent patches: Green Baby Mosquito Patches (48 patches), from £3.80

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What to consider when buying insect repellent for kids

  • Age suitability – Insect repellents are suitable from different ages so always make sure you check the one you are buying is suitable for your child's age. Scroll to the end of this article for some further information on the ingredients you may wish to look out for when choosing products for very young children.
  • Type – You can get many different types of insect repellents; sprays, patches, lotions, bracelets, plug-ins and wipes. What you choose to use is ultimately down to preference: find one that is easier to apply or that your child finds most comfortable. If you're concerned about putting something on your child's skin then a plug-in may work for you.
  • Ease of application – Sprays, bracelets and plug-ins are probably the easiest options, however, you may get better coverage from lotions or wipes. Plug-ins only work when you are close to them, so if your child is out and about they'll need a different option.
  • Duration –Make sure you take a look at how long the insect repellent lasts and how often it needs to be topped up to be the most effective.
  • Scent – Many insect repellents work by scent, so you'll find a lot have very strong fragrances in order to work. However there are some products in this list that have more subtle scents or use different techniques that could be more suitable if anyone in your family is sensitive to fragrance, such as the bracelets.

Best insect repellents for 2024 that are safe for kids

1. Avon Skin So Soft Original Dry Oil Body Spray, £5.25 (150ml)

– Best for dry skin

Available from: Avon and Amazon


Suitable for: 12 months+


  • Nice scent
  • Sprays on easily
  • Dries quickly
  • Moisturises skin
  • Doesn't stain clothes


  • Might not work for everyone
  • Not marketed as an insect repellent

This spray is designed to soften your skin with the help of Jojoba oil, but many parents swear by its insect-fighting properties, too. It contains citronella oil, which is probably why it can help ward off bites. The oil isn’t recognised as an official repellent but there is so much anecdotal evidence that it does the job that it's definitely worth a try if you want to avoid DEET (more on that at the bottom of this article).

2. Jungle Formula For Kids, £7.49 (125ml)

– Best lotion

Available from: Boots


Suitable for: 12 months+ | Duration: 6 hours


  • Trusted brand
  • Light lotion


  • Not strong enough for countries with insect-borne diseases

Jungle Formula is an effective, widely trusted brand – its maximum strength formula is recommended by the Hospital of Tropical Diseases – and the brand now offers a kids’ version which is suitable for babies from 12 months. The light lotion doesn’t contain DEET, so it's milder than some of the other products in the range, and is specifically tested for kids, protecting your child for up to 6 hours from mosquitos, midges, horseflies and ticks.

The gentler formula may work brilliantly in some situations, but do note it is not recommended if you’re heading to countries with insect-borne diseases like Malaria – you will have to reach for a stronger version for that (with 50% DEET strength), which is suitable from 3 years, as well as speaking to your GP before you travel.

3. VIE Healthcare Anti Mosquito Spray, £9.54 (100ml)

– Best spray for babies

Available from: Amazon


Suitable for: 3 months+ | Duration: 6 hours


  • Easy to apply
  • Works well for sensitive skin
  • Nice scent


  • Not suitable for newborns

This natural DEET-free formula is specifically designed to protect babies from bites. Using p-menthane-3,8-diol (synthesised from lemon eucalyptus), it promises effective protection for up to 6 hours, and as it’s made from all-natural ingredients, it even smells nice.

4. Jungle Formula Kids Anti-Mosquito Slap-it Band Insect Repellent, £10

– Best waterproof insect repellent

Available from: Ocado

Jungle Formula Kids Slap-it Anti-Mosquito Band Insect Repellent

Suitable for: Children from 3 years | Duration: Up to 2 weeks repellence when used 8 hours a day


  • Up to 250 hours protection
  • No need to keep re-applying
  • No mess
  • Waterproof
  • Comes in a pack of 10


  • Child may get irritated wearing it
  • Not as strong as other products
  • Not suitable for under 3 years

The Jungle Formula Slap-It Bands claims 2 weeks repellence when used for 8 hours a day. This waterproof option uses the natural active ingredient geraniol that doesn't come into contact with the skin directly like other repellent bracelets. Thanks to the 'slap-it' design, the band automatically adjusts to the size of your child's wrist so you won't have to worry about it falling off. It is worth noting that Jungle Formula do suggest using the band in conjunction with their Kids Lotion featured above for maximum protection.

5. Toddle Insect Repellent for Children, £5.99

– Best for sustainability

Available from: Not On The High Street and Amazon

Toddle Insect Repellent for Children

Suitable for: 0+ | Duration: 8 hours


  • Eco-friendly
  • Non-sticky formula
  • Long-lasting


  • Have to reapply quite often

Toddle's insect repellent isn't just child friendly, it's also eco-friendly. It's non-toxic to wildlife and aquatic animals, meaning fish and algae are not impacted if your child goes in the water. The spray has a non-sticky formula and protects your child for up to 8 hours. The concentrated formula should offer you around 200 applications, meaning this bottle should last a while. It's also water resistant, so it shouldn't come off if your child chooses to go for a swim.

6. VIE Anti Mosquito Wipes (24 pack), £6.09

– Best insect repellent wipes

Available from: Amazon

VIE Anti-Mosquito Wipes (24 pack)

Suitable for: 3 months+ | Duration: 3.5 hours


  • Provides good coverage
  • Don't take up much room in a bag or case


  • May not be the most cost effective method
  • More time consuming than a spray
  • Only lasts 3.5 hours

If you would rather not use a spray or lotion, perhaps a wipe is more suitable. These wipes work the same as VIE spray but come in single-use packages. The application technique may be slightly more hassle but it could be more effective if you wipe it directly onto your child, and they're great for top-ups on the go. However, one wipe does only last around 3 and a half hours, and with each pack containing 24 mosquito repellent wipes, you may need to stock up.

7. Boots Repel Mosquito Killer 3 Pin Plug-In, £8.41

– Best for a plug-in

Available from: Boots

Boots Repel Mosquito Killer 3 Pin Plug-In

Suitable for: Any age as long as inaccessible to children and animals | Duration: 45 days (8-10 hours a night)


  • Easy to use
  • No application needed
  • Lasts a long time


  • Can only be used inside
  • May be dangerous if in reach of a child

Although a plug-in isn't suitable if you're moving around during the day, if you're looking for something to protect your child at night, you could try using this plug-in repellent in their bedroom. It should last up to 45 days and you can buy refills when it runs out. It will protect your child for 8-10 hours per night if used in a 30 cubic meter room. The plug is suitable for use in any 3 pin socket but must be placed away from children and animals. It's also not recommended for children who suffer from asthma.

8. Green Baby Mosquito patches, from £3.80

– Best insect repellent patches

Available from: Amazon

Greenbaby 48 mosquito patches

Suitable for: 0+ | Duration: 10 hours


  • Suitable for all ages
  • Can attach to clothing, buggies etc


  • More time consuming than other methods

We love these little patches, as they can be used for all ages – which is not the case for a number of other products on our list. They are little squares that are not applied directly to skin. Instead, you squeeze the patches to ‘activate’ the essential oils and ward off pesky mosquitos and other insects. Once activated, you can attach the patches to clothing, a cot or buggy. The ingredients are citronella and lemon eucalyptus oils in pure form, and they last up to 10 hours according to the brand.

Is DEET repellent safe for kids?

You might have heard some worrying stories about the ingredient DEET (or diethyltoluamide) and its possible negative effects on users’ health. In fact, many of the articles that have circulated in recent years are inaccurate and DEET is still considered one of the most effective – and safest – insect repellent to use.

The NHS recommends on its travel advice website that DEET can be used by all individuals over the age of 2 months, including pregnant women (unless known to be allergic). The key is applying it correctly to avoid inhalation or ingestion – spray it onto your own hand before applying it to your little one's skin, and don’t apply it to kids’ hands.

However, if you want to stick to more natural ingredients and avoid something as strong as DEET (it can damage non-natural fibres in your clothes), there are a number of products on the market.

Lemon Eucalyptus oil is a natural alternative seen often in insect repellents, as is Citronella oil. The NHS points out that although Citronella oil contains insect repellent properties and is often marketed against bites, its effectiveness can be very short-lived – so you may want to use it only as part of your anti-bug arsenal.


Products-aside, don’t forget that loose, long clothing and mosquito nets are among the most useful equipment in your fight against biting blighters.

How did we choose our 8 of the Best?

When testing and selecting the best insect repellents for kids, we considered how often it needed to be reapplied, water resistance, formula as well as ease of application.

Our best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don't just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.

About the author

Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products for parents, ranging from best sleep aids to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development.


Picture of Chloe Brightwell
Chloe BrightwellDigital Reviews Writer and Coordinator

Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team, specialising in household and trying to help parents save money. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products, ranging from best cordless vacuums to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development. During her teenage years she worked as a play worker and Brownie volunteer to support children's play.