Mummies, are mosquito coils safe for your kids?

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With a desire to protect their babies from mosquito bites, mums may wonder if mosquito coils are a good idea. Read on to know if it’s really good for use with babies

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Burning just one mosquito coil can equal to the burning of between 50-130 of cigarettes, according to the US National Institute of Health.

As the number of Zika cases continue to increase, mosquito coils have become a common household item. With new parents wanting to protect their babies from mosquito bites, the question of whether mosquito coils are safe for babies keeps cropping up.

What does a mosquito coil do?

Mosquito coils acts as an insect-repelling incense that is spiral shaped. It is inexpensive and easy to use, with one coil lasting about 8 hours. It used to be available only in green, which produces a generally unpleasant smell, but technology has given rise to brands offering different colors and scents.

Are they safe to use?

People often miss the fact that mosquito coil was designed to be used in well-ventilated areas. If this condition is not available and mosquito coil is used (say, indoors in a closed room), there is a greater risk for coil emissions to pose significant acute and chronic health risks.

The US National Institute of Health has determined that burning just one coil can equal burning of between 50-130 cigarettes in terms of fine particles, deemed carcinogenic, in its smoke. Just imagine how much toxins one could possibly inhale in the course of an 8-hour sleep, wherein users even prop the mosquito coil beside their beds.

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Breathing problem is a possible side effect for babies exposed to a burning mosquito coil.

Are mosquito coils safe for babies?

There is that fact that a baby’s respiratory system is still adjusting to this new environment and is considered fragile as it is still developing. Exposing them to chemicals and pollution should be avoided as much as possible.

What are possible side effects on babies?

If exposed to mosquito coil fumes or plug-in repellents, possible side effects include breathing problems, eye irritations, and allergic reactions.

Do mosquito coils present other hazards?

Burning mosquito coils endanger young kids and pets that may accidentally ingest it. Mosquito coils also pose a very serious fire hazard as most people tend to forget it and burning embers might start a blaze.

What are safer insect repellents?

Since insect-repelling creams, lotions or sprays are best used on babies six months or older, as they may irritate the skin, it is better to just burn oils or candles infused with citronella, neem, eucalyptus and peppermint. Some may also choose to put a few drops of essential oil from these plants on fabrics that the baby will not be in direct contact with, say, a handkerchief tucked under the baby’s bedding.

You can also try this homemade bug spray, a recipe that consists of pre-made essential oil blend with the purpose of repelling mosquitoes. This spray is more effective when used during dusk because that’s when the mosquitoes come out. That page also features other homemade bug repelling recipes as well!

How else to avoid mosquitoes?

  • One can employ the use of a mosquito net, screens or mesh.
  • Make sure surroundings are clean, trash is disposed properly and there is no stagnant water pooling in pots, planters or other areas near or inside your home.
  • Dressing babies in light-coloured clothes may also help since mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing.
  • Make sure babies are fully clothed (long sleeved tops and pyjamas) to minimise skin exposed.
  • Stay away from hedges and bushes when outdoors. Also, avoid being outdoors in the late afternoon, as dusk is the time mosquitoes are most active.
  • Feel free to also utilise strategically-placed insect-repelling plants near your door or windows.

Where babies are concerned, mosquito coils  use is highly discouraged in homes and should only be utilised for short periods of time outdoors. Despite there being FDA-approved brands, it is always wiser to err on the side of caution and champion healthy habits instead.