If your baby is starting to walk and explore the great outdoors, try to keep him out of wooded areas, fields, or seashores where ticks reside. If you're taking him hiking or camping, stay on the paths with him rather than traipsing through the densely wooded areas.

Dress your baby in long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and tuck the ends of his pants into his socks. Clothing that is made of slick material (like windbreakers) is harder for ticks to grab onto than knits. It will be easier to spot ticks if your baby is wearing light-colored clothing.

Tick repellents, which usually contain permethrin, are meant to be sprayed on clothing, not skin. Read the label carefully to make sure that any product you use is safe for use on a child your baby's age. If it is, you can put it on his clothing (including his shoes) before you dress him.

Products containing DEET or picaridin are available for use on exposed skin, but they aren't safe for babies under 2 months of age.

If your baby is 2 months or older and you find a product that's suitable for him, use it only on small areas of exposed skin, avoiding his face and hands as well as any cuts or scrapes. Wash your hands well after you apply it.

When you come back inside, wash the repellent off your baby's skin. Better yet, take him in the shower to rinse it off — any lightly attached ticks will wash off in the process, too.

Ticks don't sting or itch when they bite, so your baby may get bitten and not even know it. While hiking with the family, check each other for ticks from time to time. At the end of the day, examine everyone's skin carefully.

If you bring the family dog along, check him for ticks, too — especially around the head and neck. Pets can pass ticks to the rest of the family. In fact, during the spring and summer months, you may want to use an anti-tick soap on your dog.



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