Summer safety part 3: Mosquitoes and ticks

Follow these tips for keeping kids safe this summer from pests and bugs like mosquitoes and ticks.

Summer is finally here and after a long winter, it’s easy to forget how important it is to keep our kids safe in the summer. Summer brings about fun in the sun, picnics, days at the beach and so many more fun and relaxing opportunities for friends and families to gather. Keep those summer activities fun by keeping kids safe. In this series of articles from Michigan State University Extension, we will explore some safety issues that may arise during the summer and how to avoid the downfalls associated with them. This article will explore mosquito and tick safety for children.

Summer brings warmth and sunshine, but it also brings pests and bugs. It’s important to keep kids safe from pests and bugs like mosquitoes and ticks. Such insects can be known to transmit diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease, so prevention from bites is the best way to avoid these diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that to prevent insect bites, you should use an effective insect repellent while playing outdoors, make your backyard a tick-safe zone (see information below) and check your children and yourself for ticks. The CDC also recommends using products containing active ingredients that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing. They suggest children should not handle or spray repellent products.

Review the Tick Management Handbook from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station for detailed information about tick management. The following are some tips from CDC for creating a tick-safe zone:

  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawn.
  • Place a 3-foot wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Stack wood neatly in a dry area to discourage rodents.
  • Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  • Discourage unwelcome guests such as deer, raccoons and stray dogs from entering your yard by constructing fences.
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

View Cincinnati Children’s “Tips for Protecting Children from Mosquitoes and Ticks this Summer” for more information.

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