5 Tips for Keeping Your Toddler Safe from Stinging Insects

by Cheryl Dunn

If your toddler has reached the age where he or she is ready to begin exploring the outside world, you're probably already hard at work toddler-proofing your yard and garden area. You're probably also wondering how to keep your child safe from stinging insects and may be apprehensive about using commercial insect repellents on sensitive toddler skin. Fortunately, there are effective ways to reduce outdoor insect populations to the extent that you probably won't need to use chemical insect control products on your child -- here are five of them:

Keep Water to a Minimum

Insects are drawn to water, so place birdbaths and fountains in a section of the yard that won't be used as a play space, such as a front yard rock garden area. Ask you local plant nursery to recommend some drought-tolerant landscaping plants so that you won't need to irrigate often.

Use Unscented Grooming Products

Most people don't realise that their grooming products can attract insects! Bumblebees, wasps, and hornets are all pollinators with stingers that are attracted to scent -- they think they're smelling flowers! Using unscented soaps, lotions, shampoos, sunscreen and other grooming products will greatly reduce your child's chances of unpleasant insect encounters.

Dress Your Child in Neutral Coloured Clothing

Bright colours attract pollinating insects because they associate them with flowers. Dressing your child in beige, brown and other non-floral colours will help keep them from becoming an insect magnet while playing outdoors. Colours such as dark blue and black should also be avoided because mosquitoes are attracted to those hues.

Use Playground Mulch in Designated Play Areas

Bright green lawn grass also attracts stinging insects -- playground mulch is a much better option for designated play areas. It will provide your toddler with a soft landing surface for those inevitable falls and tumbles, and you won't have to water it.

Keep Your Landscape Trimmed and Tidy

Regular trimming will go a long way toward discouraging insects from taking up residence in your yard -- particularly jack jumper ants. Many parents of toddlers also decide to grow their flower gardens in their front yards while their children are young to discourage insect presence in play areas.

Also, keep in mind that some insect encounters are an inevitable part of spending time outside -- however, the preceding tips will probably prevent you from having to use commercial bug repellant on your child's skin while he or she discovers the great outdoors.