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Why Does My Child Keep Getting Head Lice?

Updated on September 30, 2012

Head lice can be contracted from a person or object that currently has lice. If your child has lice it means that everyone who has been in close contact with your child may have also contracted these tiny pests. What do you do if your child has head lice?

Lice Treatment for Hair

The first step in eliminating head lice is to use shampoo that will remove the head lice from your child's hair. There are products you can purchase from you local drug store. Rid is a popular lice shampoo. It generally is sold in a kit that contains the shampoo, a comb for removing nits, and spray for certain items in your home.

Once you purchase a kit you should carefully read the directions. You want to follow the directions exactly as they are printed on the label to ensure the safety of your child. This is a hazardous chemical and should be used with caution.

You should apply the shampoo solution to dry hair making sure to completely cover your child's hair in the solution. Then you need to let the solution stand for the amount of time printed on the label. Next you will rinse. First you need to add a small amount of water to create a lather, the same way as if you were washing your child's hair at their regular bath time. After this step you can rinse your child's hair thoroughly making sure to remove all of the solution. You may want to give your child something to cover their eyes with because this solution can irritate their eyes.

The final step for the removing lice from your child's hair is to comb through their hair with the comb provided in the kit. This comb is specially designed to remove any signs of lice still attached to your child's hair. It is easier to comb through the hair in sections because it will help you ensure that you combed and checked all the hair on your child's head. If you have a child with long hair this will take you quite a bit of time to complete this process. It is important to take your time and make sure everything is removed to prevent a re-infestation of lice.

Cleaning After Head Lice

You will need to thoroughly clean everything in your home that may contain lice and/or lice eggs. This can include stuffed animals, bedding, clothing, hair care items, etc. Anything that can fit in the washing machine and dryer should be washed if it has been in contact with your child or anyone else who recently had head lice. Blankets and pillows should all be washed and then placed in the dryer on high heat.

Items that can not be washed can be placed in garbage bags for about two weeks. This can include stuffed animals, larger pillows, etc. Make sure to seal it bag tightly to ensure the effectiveness in removing the lice from any of the objects inside. After the two week time frame you can remove the items from the bag and vacuum them thoroughly before returning them to their designated locations.

Items in your home such as furniture and mattresses should be vacuumed. You can also treat these items with the spray included in your kit. Remember to follow the directions that are printed on the label.

Finding Lice After Treatment

If your child is continuing to contract head lice you may be missing something. You need to make sure you are cleaning and treating anything that may have lice or lice eggs on it. If you are certain that your child is not re-contracting lice from within your home try and determine where they may be coming from such as, a friends or relatives house, school, sports practice, etc.

Informing Other of Lice

If your child has head lice it is important to tell others that have been in contact with your child. This is important because they will also need to clean items in their homes as well even if they did not personally contract the head lice. This will prevent the head lice from being passed back and forth between different households. It is equally important to make your child's school aware of the situation so that they can check the heads of the other students for lice.

If you child has head lice do not be embarrassed. Head lice prefers clean hair over dirty hair and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. Head lice can affect anyone, child or adult.

Steps For Eliminating Head Lice

Treat your child's hair with shampoo designed to eliminate head lice.
Wash all bedding materials and other objects that will fit in the washing machine and dryer. All items must be dried on the highest heat setting.
Wash and dry all materials from child car and booster seats.
Thoroughly comb through your child's hair to remove any lice, nits, or eggs.
Place all items to large for the washing machine into garbage bags for two weeks. Make sure to seal each bag tightly.
Vacuum all car seats. You can also use the Lice Treatment Spray on the car seats.
Add Tea Tree Oil to your daily shampoo and conditioner to help prevent head lice in the future.
Vacuum furniture and mattress thoroughly. You may also use Lice Treatment Spray on these objects.
Follow these steps to ensure that you elimate any signs of head lice within your home and care. Remember to alert everyone else who had recent contact with your child.

*Once you have eliminated the head lice you can use Tea Tree Oil for head lice prevention.*


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    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Are you cleaning furniture and bed dressings thoroughly? Also you must bag all items such as stuffed animals etc that can not be washed or placed in the dryer for 2 weeks.

    • profile image

      appleby 4 years ago

      We have done everything from rid to cowardice and my daughter keeps getting it. What are doing wrong we have followed all directions and still have the issue. IT WILL NOT GO AWAY!!!!!!

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      ICarrie - Thanks for commenting! I really appreciate the useful tips you posted. We use tea tree oil in all of our shampoos and conditioners in our home. It has worked well...knock on wood! I agree that regularly checking your child's head is a great way to prevent a bad infestation!

    • JillKostow profile image

      Jill Kostowskie 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      leahlefler - You should try adding the tea tree oil to their shampoo so that hopefully they will not contract head lice in the future....

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      Ugh, We had our first run in with head lice two years ago! I didn't think we were ever going to get rid of it!!!! Excellent hub. Voted up and shared!

    • ICarrie profile image

      Carrie Jones 5 years ago from Georgia

      Ugh! Head Lice. I feel for you as a mom of three daughters with thick beautiful hair. I'll share some tips that I have gathered over the years of dealing with horrible head lice:

      1. Make sure every nit has been removed. These little boogers can be tricky! So double and triple check the hair for nits. I found the best way is outside in the direct sunlight. Depending on how bad the infestation is....this process could take a while! Doing this every 2-3 days will ensure you are done with head lice!

      2. Add tea tree oil to the shampoo the children will be using. (not too much just a few drops as this will dry out the hair if too much is added)

      3. Have a spray bottle handy and spray each of their heads with a diluted tea tree oil and water solution before going to school/daycare/summer camp etc.

      4. Have routine checks during lice season so you can catch it before it gets really bad.

      That's it! Great and informative hub, voted up!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      I dread the moment my kids come home with head lice. I know it will happen, but I absolutely dread it! I have to bookmark this article for future reference - I know you have to get rid of all the nits or else it will keep coming back!