Today I took the babies to the park and made the brazen decision to remove the mosquito netting from their stroller.
For the first time, their pure baby skin was exposed to the untamed wilderness (well, there was a Bank of America across the street) and I am relieved to say they survived.
To most people this must sound like a ridiculous feat. I myself can remember sporting hundreds of red itchy mosquito bites as a child. My mother applied calamine lotion and never gave it a second thought. But for an obsessive who has spent actual time googling malaria (there were two cases in NJ in 199), West Niles Virus, Encephilits and other various types of deaths by mosquito bites, this task took alot of emotional and physical preparation.
Of course, prior to leaving the house I went through my usual shpiel of what ifs, each one ending more tragically than the next. What if the babies got stung by a bee and had an allergic reaction and died? What if they contract West Niles Virus, Encephalitis, or malaria? What if they get bitten by a tick? But then logic, as he does every so often, stepped in. If I don't chill out and allow my babies experience the world, they could wind up having the same neurotic tendencies as their mother.
I took it upon myself to learn all I could about other ways to protect infants from mosquitoes. Here are some noteworthy suggestions.
- The CDC recommends that mosquito netting be used by babies under two months old. Layla and David are now five-months so I was glad that I wasn't breaking any safety rules.
- Since mosquitoes that carry West Niles virus usually attack between dusk and dawn, we took our walk around lunchtime.
- In the matter of insect repellents, the CDC recommends that children under 3 should use a repellent without lemon eucelyptus. However, the CDC had so many additional warnings about repellents and things that could go wrong with repellents that I decided to steer clear from them altogether.
- Babycenter.com recommends wearing light colored clothing. Layla was in canary yellow and David was in a pale blue onesie.
- Avoid scented lotions or soap. This was not an issue since I chose an extra 10-minutes of sleep over a shower this morning.
- Avoid insect hangouts like trash cans, high grass, or stagnant water.