Introducing Nit Kits: Extension’s New Program on Head Lice in Early Childhood Settings

 Nit Kits include a nit comb, “A Helpful Guide for Removing Head Lice Safely” and a child’s activity.
Nit Kits include a nit comb, “A Helpful Guide for Removing Head Lice Safely” and a child’s activity.

By Kait Chapman, Extension Educator in Lancaster County

In the United States, head lice continue to be a public health concern with around 12 million infestations per year, primarily affecting children 3–12 years in age. While they do not transmit disease, head lice will bite and feed on blood, potentially causing a slew of symptoms including an itchy scalp. While head lice is a fairly common issue, it can also be stigmatizing, leading to social isolation and exclusion from school and activities.

This spring, Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County Extension Educators Kait Chapman (entomology) and Hayley Jackson (early childhood) designed and developed a Nit Kit program to tackle issues surrounding the spread of and management of head lice in children.

Nit Kits are convenient “kits” that provide head lice and nit (lice egg) removal resources and tools to those who may need extra guidance or an alternative option to purchasing head lice treatments from a store.

Each Nit Kit contains:
• A wide-tooth comb for detangling hair and fine-tooth nit comb specially designed for removing head lice and eggs.

• A guide book for treating head lice on your family and in your home, created by Extension Educators Kait Chapman and Jody Green. The guide provides comprehensive, research-based, non-
biased information on all things head lice, including need-to-know and myth-busting facts, step-by-step instructions for combing out lice and common chemical pesticide options available.

• An activity for your child. Because removing head lice can sometimes be a long, tedious process, the Nit Kits include a fun, playdough activity to keep little hands busy.

Educating Nebraska communities on what to do about head lice is the goal and focus of the Nit Kit program. Emphasis is on training the professionals who interact with children and families, including those in early childhood, schools, youth organizations and more.

Training is provided by Extension Educators in-person and through Zoom, with topics including head lice identification, fast facts, prevention and management, and the development of head lice policies rooted in research-based information. Upon completion of training, participants are eligible to receive professional development certificates and up to five Nit Kits for their program at no cost, thanks to support from our community partners.

If your school, program, business or organization is interested in setting up a training on head lice, call Kait at
402-441-7180 or email

Nit Kits are also currently available to families and individuals by stopping at the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County office, 444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A, Lincoln during office hours, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

The kits are no cost and are intended for families and community members who are struggling to remove head lice or may not have the financial resources to purchase over-the-counter products. If you or your organization are able to purchase a Nit Kit at a low cost, all funds help support the program and provide additional kits to others.