A few months ago, I purchased the Tick Pliers (manufactured by Sawyer Products) from my local nature center gift store. I somewhat bought the little “tick kit” on a whim to support the nature center but also in a bit of fear of encountering ticks now that hiking season was upon us. Based upon my experience with the product, here is KiddoGear’s product review of the Tick Pliers.
I’m sure you’re like my husband and me where you may read a lot and think, “that’s great information, I’ll remember it when I need it – aka just in time memory.” This scenario was no different when I picked up the little “tick kit” and read what the kit included. While I was reading, I thought: this would be really handy information to have WHEN I need to remove a tick.”
The tick kit included:
- One set of Tick Pliers that also had a built-in lens for tick identification;
- Clear set of instructions with an illustration of positioning the pliers between the skin and tick;
- A short article written by Dr. Glen Needham: “Protecting Yourself from Ticks & The Diseases They May Carry“; and,
- A small booklet written by Robert Brown Butler: “Defeating the Tick“.
I am married to a man who seems to always be the one getting ticks. The kiddo and I fondly call him, “the tick magnet”. So, I’m familiar with using tweezers to remove attached ticks. But, I decided to make the small $6.00 purchase of the Tick Pliers to have in my adventure bag.
It took months but, finally, I got to use the Tick Pliers. About four hours after a hike, I looked down at my lower leg and saw a speck of dirt. I tried to flick the dirt off my leg but it wouldn’t move. I pushed my fingernail under what I thought was dirt, only to see that it would not move off my skin but more like stood up on my skin. Upon inspection, that small speck of dirt was a tick.
I’m still amazed the tick was so small. I’ve only seen bigger ticks on our dog or my “tick magnet” hubby. With the pliers in hand, I followed the directions provided: “slide gently under tick, close jaws around base of the tick then gently and slowly lift tick from skin.”
To my amazement, the tick was stubborn. Despite it’s size (as noted on the photo), my gentle and slow lift was more of a firm pull. After a number of attempts, the tick came free.
Then with the 20X lens and the information provided about the types of ticks, I determined the tick was an Ixodes tick – aka as a deer or bear tick. I saved it in a plastic baggy in case the site became inflamed and I would need to see the doctor, he could then analyze the tick. Then I quickly washed the bite site with soap and water. Fortunately, I’ve not experience any reactions from the tick.
Two little quirks about the product:
- The plier hand can be a little awkward to hold and squeeze when so close to the skin. You need to use more of your finger tips to apply pressure versus the grip you would use with a regular set of pliers.
- The 20X lens isn’t completely clear but also could have been because the tick was just that small to see.
Upon review of the other possible tick removers and my experience of using tweezers to remove ticks, I would recommend The Tick Pliers for the following reasons:
- The jaws of the pliers do get between the tick and the skin unlike tweezers that catch more of the body of the tick. While trying to remove the tick, I could easily see the tick cradled in the jaws (although, my kiddo was quite fascinated with the tick and removal process that I had to ask repeatedly “please move so I can see”).
- With tweezers, if you apply too much pressure, you get tick “guts” all over yourself. With the pliers, I got under the head and didn’t pinch the head or risk pinching the body of the tick.
- I thought the 20X lens was a little “gimmicky” but after learning about the different types of ticks from the literature, I found the lens to be useful – especially when the tick was the size of a speck.
- The information about ticks, care and advice was useful and handy – versus doing an internet search after the fact.
All-in-all, I really like having the Tick Pliers and information in a little baggy that stays in my adventure bag at all times.
(Now, I’ll need to answer the kiddo’s question: “Why did God make ticks if all they do is suck blood?” Any suggestions?)
To learn more about ticks, prevention and treatment, check out these websites:
Michael Lanza, The Big Outside, Ask Me: How Do You Protect Your Kiddos and Yourself Against Tick-Borne Diseases?
WebMD, Tick Bites – Home Treatment
Karen Ung, Play Outside Guide, 5 Myths About Ticks & Tick Safety Tips