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How can I protect my children?

Approximately 11% of Lyme disease cases in Canada are in children aged 5-14 years. Children this age tend to play low to the ground and leave designated trails. They are also less likely to check themselves for ticks. However, it is not necessary to stop them playing outside or to reduce their interactions with nature. To protect children from tick bites, the same principles apply as for adults, with a few differences.

Choosing appropriate clothing for children is very similar to adults, with a focus on long layers, closed shoes, and tucking clothes in (pants into socks, shirt into pants).

Check the clothes intermittently as they can get untucked! Rain pants and rain suits with elasticated wrists and ankles may also help reduce exposure to ticks.

Long clothing, closed shoes, pants tucked into shoes and tops tucked into pants. Light coloured clothing makes it easier to spot ticks, but work with what you have. Photo by: Natasha Bowser

There are bug repellents suitable for children which are effective against ticks, authorized and widely available in Canada. As with adults, products containing either DEET or Icaridin are recommended and available. Click here for detailed information on how to use these repellents in different age groups.

Washing and performing a thorough tick check is important – scheduling bath-time as soon as possible after arriving back home provides a great time to do this in younger children. Key areas to check with infants and young children include the head, hair, and ears.

This can be a fun and educational experience for the child, and eventually, they may offer to help check you!

For information and activities related to ticks developed for children aged 4 years+, check out Health Canada Experiences: Ticks – little bugs, big problems.

Cover photo by: CLyDRN