How to Get Rid of Head Lice in Newborn Babies

Head lice, or pediculus humanus capitis, are tiny, wingless, parasitic insects that are common among school-age children between the ages of 3 to 12, according to Kids Health. Lice feed on blood from the scalp with a female adult louse capable of laying up to eight nits, or eggs, per day. Nits attach to the hair then molt into adults in seven days. Treating a newborn baby with lice takes patience and time since over-the-counter lice treatments are not advisable for children under 2 years of age. If the lice persist after using the wet-comb technique, consult your doctor to discuss treatment options.

Do not use over-the-counter lice treatments on newborns. (Image: FamVeld/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Fill a small bowl with water and set it within arms reach of where you are working with your newborn. The water-filled bowl is where you will place any live lice you find in your newborn's hair.

Step 2

Fold a blanket and place a towel on top of it to make a cushion for your newborn's head during the long process.

Step 3

Wet your infant's hair with warm water. Wetting the hair helps immobilize the lice and eases the combing process.

Step 4

Apply a small amount of conditioner to the hair. Conditioner helps glide the comb through the hair during the process and stops the movement of the lice.

Step 5

Comb the hair in sections starting at the scalp and working to the end of the hair strands with a fine-tooth comb. The closeness of the teeth of the comb will help trap the lice in the comb and you can then remove them from your newborn's hair strands. If you find any live lice, place them in the bowl of water.

Step 6

Sort through the strands of your infant's hair using your fingers to find any visible nits. You can remove nits by trapping them between your thumb and forefinger nail and gently gliding them down to the end of the hair shaft.

Step 7

Rinse the conditioner out of your newborn's hair. Leaving the conditioner in the hair may cause the scalp to become dry and it increases the potential for build up and odor.

Step 8

Dry your infant's hair with a towel. Place the towel in the washer after use and wash it to kill any lice or nits that might have fallen off while drying your baby's hair.

Step 9

Repeat the wet combing technique every three to four days until the last live louse is seen and for two weeks thereafter, according to Kids Health.

Things You'll Need

  • Blanket

  • Fine-tooth comb

  • Conditioner

  • Two towels

  • Small bowl

  • Water

Tip

Kids Health notes the use of petroleum jelly, mayonnaise or olive oil are occasionally used for home remedies to suffocate the head lice, but these treatments lack sufficient medical studies, especially on newborns.

Wash items, such as bedding, stuffed animals and clothing in hot, soapy water and dry them on high heat for a minimum of 20 minutes to kill any live lice.

Seal any items that are not washable in a plastic bag for three to four days to kill live lice and prevent any new lice from hatching.

Vacuum the floor and furniture daily until no live lice are visible.

Warning

Do not use lice treatments with chemicals or home remedies on newborns without consulting your health care provider first.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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