Having pests such as fleas in the house is never fun, but trying to figure out how to get rid of fleas while there is a baby in the house is an even more complicated and stressful problem!
The most common methods for flea removal in the house involve chemicals and pesticides that are potentially very harmful for babies. Common household soaps and ingredients can be used to make effective natural home remedies for removing fleas inside the house. Babies should sleep high off of the floor and wear long clothing whenever there is a risk for flea contact.
Getting rid of fleas without using harmful chemicals is a task that can seem overwhelming at first. Each of the sections of this article will cover important information on avoiding fleas for your baby and your home. Join us as we explore the safest methods for removing fleas from your home.
Are fleas dangerous for babies?
Fleas are tiny bugs that are often hard to see. However, tiny red bites on legs, feet, and other body parts can be a major red flag that you are dealing with a flea infestation in your home.
Fleas are also incredibly resilient bugs which gives them their reputation as a pest that keeps coming back over and over again even when you think you are finally rid of them. You may be worried about what flea exposure means for your baby, but luckily the research shows that there is very little to worry about with exposure to flea bites.
According to Healthline, most fleas pose very little risk for passing any kind of disease through their bite. However, if a baby gets a flea bite they are at risk of becoming infected much like any other open wound. This risk increases if the baby scratches at the bite causing it to bleed or spread.
For the most part, a flea bit is not considered a major health risk. However, they are extremely uncomfortable and will likely bother your little one. Of course, discomfort is something we parents definitely want to avoid at all costs for our children.
Babies have enough to cry about already!
If you notice your child is uncomfortable because of the flea bites, you may want to call your pediatrician for advice while you work to get rid of the pests. Keep the bites washed with warm water and mild soap to deter infection from germs on your child’s hands. Your pediatrician can recommend an appropriate topical treatment or over the counter medicine to keep your child comfortable in the event that they are bitten by fleas and it is getting out of hand.
How can I keep fleas off my newborn?
The best thing to do to avoid your baby being bitten by fleas is to remove the fleas.
Unfortunately, this may sound like a ‘duh’ type statement, but it really is the truth of the matter. This is going to take diligence and repetitive cleaning. See the section below to learn more detailed information about cleaning for fleas.
In the meantime, keep long-sleeve onesies, pants, and socks on your newborn to keep their skin covered. Most fleas are unable to jump high distances and they tend to stay off of furniture for this reason. Keeping your newborn in a bassinet or crib and away from the floor is another great method for avoiding flea bites.
Avoid sprays or treatments that are supposed to be applied directly to the skin. Instead, focus on removing the fleas and diligently follow-up with flea removal methods to keep your child away from fleas.
Spraying for fleas with a baby can be dangerous
According to the National Resources Defense Council, flea sprays that are often used for dogs, cats, and even carpets are extremely dangerous for babies and young toddlers. The very potent amount of harsh chemicals and pesticides contained in flea sprays is damaging to a baby’s lungs.
The NRDC argues that babies and toddlers who still have developing immune systems are particularly susceptible to these harmful pesticides. Further, these sprays are harsh and can cause respiratory distress in babies and young children. Especially since there are other, safer treatments available, flea sprays should be avoided at all costs.
Is it safe to flea bomb a house with a baby?
The answer to this question is no!
Flea bombs are essentially super-concentrated versions of the flea sprays that I just mentioned. There is a reason why flea bombs require the house be unattended for hours after the bomb has finished going off. Further, while the air may be “safe” (for the company’s standards) everything in the house is now covered in pesticide residue.
Flea bombs are likely not safe for anyone, but they are most certainly not safe for a house that a baby is going to be exposed to. Once a house has been flea bombed, every stitch of clothing and every surface must be thoroughly cleaned to remove the pesticides in the house. Even if they were effective, there are easier and much safer methods for removing fleas from your home.
For me, this would never be worth the trouble or potential danger.
How to get rid of fleas naturally
There are a lot of natural methods for removing fleas from your home, but it is important to note that each of these methods is going to require persistence on your part to ensure that fleas are entirely removed from the home since we don’t have the benefit of harsh chemicals or pesticides to do the dirty work for us.
One major step that must be done before any other steps is to vacuum all carpet in the home, sweep and mop all floors, and begin to wash all fabrics in hot water. The process of vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping should be repeated daily for up to two weeks. Like I mentioned before, fleas tend to stay on the ground because they can’t fly or jump very high. Those fleas will lay eggs and those eggs will hatch up to two weeks after the egg was laid, so you’ll need to outlast them.
Along with this advice, here are other things you should be doing ALONGSIDE the vacuuming and mopping:
- Dish Soap Traps: Place a drop of dish soap in a cup and mix with about a cup of water. Place these mixtures on the floors of the rooms with the most fleas overnight. The solution will attract and trap fleas without any harmful chemical sprays.
- Homemade Spray: Create a spray with vinegar, water, lemon juice, and witch hazel. This spray is safe to spritz on carpets and fabrics. This mixture will also deter future flea infestations and can be spritzed in the yard to deter fleas as well.
- Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda over carpeted areas and fabric upholstered furniture. Use a large brush to brush the baking soda into the carpet. Last, use a vacuum to remove the baking soda from the carpet.
- Essential Oils: Mixing essential oils into your mop water is a great way to remove and deter fleas from your home. Cedar and lemongrass is an excellent combination that fleas do not like to smell. Fleas are also not fond of lavender. This can also be achieved by diffusing these smells from an oil diffuser, although removing the fleas will require more than oil diffusion because we want to get it down into the areas (like carpet) in which they live and breed.
If you want a great, all-natural spray that uses essential oils for its base then you can check out this one here. It is made from plant-based cedarwood and lemongrass oil that is safe enough to be sprayed on dogs, cats, or anywhere around the home! It’s also biodegradable and made in the USA!
The best baby-safe flea treatment for the house
The most effective way to remove fleas from your home is simply to be diligent in your efforts to keep the floors vacuumed, swept and mopped. In addition to using either the homemade spray or a combination of essential oils, this is your best option for keeping fleas away from your home.
You also want to ensure that you deal with the source of the fleas. You can get fleas without a pet, but more times than not there is a pet involved in a flea infestation. Making sure your pet is treated for fleas is the best way to make sure that your home does not get infested with fleas.
Ask your vet about safe options for treating your dog or cat for fleas each month.
Home remedies for fleas that are safe for babies
All of the home remedies mentioned above are safe to use with babies in the home. Of course, you want to avoid spraying anything directly on your baby, but they are safe for the air around your baby.
Many of the methods mentioned above are best done when your baby is in another room, especially if your baby is mobile or crawling. For example, baking soda is safe for babies, but you still don’t want them playing around with a large amount of it because they could make a big mess in the best case and breathe it in with the worst case!