Parents have long questioned the safety of insecticides on children. Studies have shown that insecticides might cause health problems for young children and should be used with caution. One of the newest products to hit the market is insect repellent bracelets. These bracelets are touted as being an all-natural, DEET-free and child-friendly alternative to traditional insecticides.
What it Repels
Several companies produce wristband style insect repellent, but each company offers slightly different options on what their products can repel. All available companies state that their products are effective on mosquitoes, but some also list flies, gnats, no-see-ums, fleas and head lice. Note that none of the widely available bracelets offer tick-repelling capabilities.
How They Work
The bracelets are made of proprietary blends of essential oils. Active ingredients might include geraniol, lemongrass, peppermint, lavender or citronella oils. These essential oils produce a scent that is unattractive to the insects it is designed to repel. The smell masks the natural scent of the human body and covers it with the smell of plant material. The bracelet stops the bugs from wanting to bite the child.
BugBand is a wristband that comes in nine colors and is designed to last 120 hours, according to the BugBand website. Insect Repelling Super Band are sold in packs of 15 or more and can last up to 200 hours. Bug Bam is designed specifically to repel mosquitoes and can last up to 100 hours. Gone Insect Bands are different than the others because it uses peppermint and lavender oils instead of citronella and geronial oils. Gone can last up to 120 hours, according to its website. All four of these brands are water-proof, sweat-proof, nontoxic and natural.
Wristband repellent companies, based on their own studies, claim that their products are effective a repelling pests. However, some studies show efficiency is lacking. A University of Florida study showed that wristband repellents were not an effective means of preventing mosquito bites.
Other Natural Repellents
A variety of plant-based repellents available. According to a 2011 report in the "Malaria Journal," Bite Blocker, a commercial repellent containing glycerin, lecithin, vanillin, coconut oils, geranium, and 2 percent soybean oil can achieve a similar repellent effect as DEET. The report also notes that other plant-based oils that have shown some repellent efficacy are coconut oil, palm nut oils and andiroba oil. Essential oils distilled from members of the mint, pine and cedar families are commonly used as insect repellents throughout the world.