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Head Lice (ugh!) in Toddlers

I can remember being school aged, when there was a lice break out, we'd line up for the nurses office for her to prod through our scalps with wooden tongue depressorrs.  Rebecca had a lovely Mother's Day, encountering those small parasitic insects that love our hair.

Tonight, while bathing my 2.5 year old daughter, I discovered lice in her hair. We've battled this with my 9yo stepdaughter many times, but I never thought I'd discover them on my toddler at this age! She was actually incredibly patient about letting me comb through her hair to remove nits, but the idea of applying those horrible hair masks is pretty hard to stomach for such a little kid (chemical or organic - either way, it's rough going).

I washed and conditioned her hair with Fairy Tales organic Lice repellent products, then combed through to remove all the nits I could find. Naturally, my husband and I threw all the bedding in the wash. Short of repeating this process every day for a few weeks, I don't quite know what to do.  Any advice?


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My experience with nits is that the best thing to do is comb, comb, comb with any conditioner every 3 days as they appear until they are all gone. This can be hard, especially with a toddler, but after trying other things (including electronic zapping gizmo)I think combing is far more effective, safer and cheaper than using chemicals or 'natural' products. You need a nit comb - the cheapest, plastic ones are best. I don't bother with washing bedding and so forth. Good luck! Rebecca

Tea Tree oil is the best natural method to get rid of lice. paul mitchell makes a tea tree shampoo. This is so much better than using harsh chemicals on you little one. I think you can get the oil at fred meyer Nutrition center and add to water to spray furniture and carpet also. I have also heard that mayo on the hair suffocates the lice, great for making the hair shiny at the same time :)

I haven't had to experience this yet but when I was little my Mom tells the story of having to go through this three times in a few months with me because the other parents in the class were not following all of the steps to completely eliminate the lice and nits. I, too, do not want to think of putting harsh chemicals on my child's head, but since you know it works, isn't it best to do the safest job you can and do it right the first time so that families don't have to go through this over and over. Isn't that your moral obligation before exposing others?
I truly hope the alternatives work though.

We keep a Robi Comb on hand in case of an outbreak. It works well as a nit comb, and it also zaps anything big. Just hearing about the possibility of lice always makes my head itch. Here's the link to the Robi

A good friend of mine just went though this with her 3 yo and 5 yo. She used mayo and a shower cap for an hour to smother the lice (I think olive oil works well too). It worked after a few treatments. Try googling mayo and lice to see the exact procedure. Good Luck. Also (on an incredibly superficial level) her daughters hair was extremely healthy looking after the treatment.

OK-Last year I fostered a child who went home on the weekends and came back every sunday night completely infested. It was very frusrating but now I am the Lice Expert.I started out with rid-doesnt work-some of the bugs died-some didnt. If you dont get them ALL they come back.Tea tree oil does not work.Slathering the childs head with copious amounts of baby oil for the weekend does not work,they can hold onto oily hair-I have no idea how that rumor started.Going thru your childs head every other day hair by hair(this takes a good hour+)under a bright worklight with tweezerman tweezers to pick out nits does work.YOU HAVE TO PICK NITS FOR A MONTH TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE GONE!The life cycle from start to finish of a louse is 28 days.Lots of people think that they are reinfested because they never got rid of the original problem.Oil does work to imobilize the bugs long enough to comb them out.They have an exoskeleton and can hold their breath for a couple of hours.You really need a very bright light like this one- http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03473946000P -one with an adjustable stand is a bonus.You just cannot see everything without this kind of light-I have checked in bright sunlight and other bright indoor lights and then with a work light-the difference is still having nits even after I thought they were all gone.These tweezers have a needle point to grab nits and slide them right off the hair.http://www.tweezerman.com/index.cfm?page=productdetail&prod=212 I got mine at walgreens.Another thing is if you are going to be around other kids that you suspect might have lice,wear a hat.Lice need head to head contact-its actually pretty rare to spread other ways.Here is a good link about head lice-good luck!http://www.doh.wa.gov/Publicat/PaperPubs/lice.htm

Heather B is totally right. Nit picking is the way.

However, there is another way. It's drastic, but you can buzz the kid's head. My 2 boys refused (tears, screams, utter meltdown) to let us comb through their hair, day after day. Downright wouldn't let us. And so the buzzer came out.

It was excessively traumatic - for me, not them - to see those curls go and to watch my little boys emerge looking like baby Marines. But it got rid of the lice. (And the hair has grown back.)

I haven't experienced this (yet?!?) but my cousin swears by Tea Trea Oil as a PREVENTATIVE measure. She always adds a few drops of TTO to her daughters spray on detangler. For some reason she didn't do it for a couple of months, sure enough her daughter came home with lice. She said it was extremely hard to get rid of. Now she is back to adding TTO to her spray on conditioner.

I've started doing it with my son, it can't hurt!

One of the kids in daycare had lice. My 19 month old daughter got a rash on her upper back and in her scalp. For the LIFE of me, I haven't been able to find any nits or lice. I've had other people look too, but to no avail.

Her pediatrician said that another option, if your kid won't keep on a shower cap with mayo, is to douse the head with cetaphil cleaner (not the lotion) and then dry it with a hairdryer and leave overnight.

One of the kids in daycare had lice. My 19 month old daughter got a rash on her upper back and in her scalp. For the LIFE of me, I haven't been able to find any nits or lice. I've had other people look too, but to no avail.

Her pediatrician said that another option, if your kid won't keep on a shower cap with mayo, is to douse the head with cetaphil cleaner (not the lotion) and then dry it with a hairdryer and leave overnight.

This happened to our 3-year-old daughter a few months ago. I thought the only thing I would have to do is put Rid in her hair for the prescribed time and then rinse it out. I was very wrong! Rid merely slowed some of the bugs down and didn't kill the eggs.

The only thing that really worked was combing everyday and very carefully. On day two, I smothered her hair in olive oil, clipped it all up, and let it sit there for 4 hours. It was pretty nasty when I started noticing some of the bugs coming to the surface. The oil drives them away from the scalp. After 4 hours, I spent one hour combing through her hair with a metal comb. I found that metal worked better than plastic. After combing each strand, I swished the comb in a bowl of water to rinse off any eggs or bugs. It was a total b-tch getting the oil out of her hair!

On day 3 we combed through her dry hair in the morning and then combed through conditioned hair in the evening. We did this twice a day for a week. We washed her pillow case and sheets every day for that week. This was all so time consuming and tedious, but the lice didn't come back.

She was a real sport about the whole thing. She also has super duper thick hair. There were several times when I was really tempted to give her a buzz cut :)

A friend of mine has gone through this with 3 of her kids and she swears by Original Listerine and a shower cap. Apparently kills them fast.

we have yet to have to experience this (kids 3 and 5), but was curious, during this treatment stage (which seems like up to a week plus+) do the kids need to stay home from school and daycare? Do you call the school/facility to let them know? sorry if this has been discuss prior.

At my daughter's preschool they do not allow you back in school if they find any live bugs or eggs in your hair. They checked everyday for two weeks. Besides my daughter, a few of the other kids also had lice. It was a pain, but probably worth it so that the whole school didn't get it. I had to stay home the first two days :(

hey melinda, ive also tried listerine. when i first tried it. it was so cold i thought my head was melting, but i was actually surprised that it worked. listerine does work with getting rid of
head lice

by the way... if you guys want. here is that place i bought the treatment that i used for my kid. it really worked if you want


I know this is an old post, but I thought that I'd chime in here with some helpful information for struggling parents that are trying to get rid of pesky head lice that just won't seem to go away and feel they need help. You can turn to the professionals. Nit Picky is a Head Lice and Nit Removal Service that serves the Portland metro areas. Lice treatment consist of a non toxic, pesticide free product that is put in the hair and followed by a effective removal process. Another wonderful thing is Nit Picky comes to you and does the treatment in the comfort of your own home. Discreet, confidential, safe and effective. When it comes to lice Nit Picky knows best!

Portland, Oregon Lice Nit Removal Service. Non toxic, pesticide free lice treatment in the privacy and convenience of your own home. 503 933-7824



Olive oil treatment. Though it's supposed to take a month, you can actually kill them much faster this way. We tried Rid and she kept getting reinfested at preschool, finally went with olive oil treatment and it worked almsot instantly.

We mentioned it to neighbors and they had the same experience with their daughter.

Most definately listerine the gold color. And shower cap. it works, i found lice in my 2 year olds hair and i used the listerine and combed with a nit comb and it worked 100% in just 24 hours. i knew this because i used it on myself wen i got them a few years back from a friend and withing just 5 hours i had them all gone but i recommend 24 hours just to be dafe. yes it burns a little but it doesnt burn real bad where u or your toddler cant handle.

Holy crap, what a great article! Thanks! My kid had lice and it was the pits! But I called these guys and they CAME TO MY HOUSE. Who does that? Ask for Eliana she was the best and made my kid smile :)


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