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How to Identify and Treat Insect Bites on Babies

Updated
What should you do (and NOT do) when you find insect bites on babies? 

What’s better than enjoying the great outdoors with your little bundle of joy? As much as we love fun in the sun, it can come with some nasty side effects. Let’s look at the most common insect bites on babies and how to treat them.

Here’s your guide to keeping your baby as snug as a bite, even with an itchy bump!

How Do I Treat Insect Bites on Babies?

To treat bug bites on babies, remove any part of the insect left in the skin then wash with soap and water. Use a cold compress and elevate the area to prevent swelling. Watch for swelling that spreads to other parts of the body that could indicate an allergic reaction.


How to Recognize Insect Bites on Babies

Spotted a bug bite? Here is how to identify the culprit.

Mosquito Bites

Child's legs with mosquito bites

Mosquito bites on babies first appear as small red bumps. After a day, bites will get darker and harder. The telltale itch is usually what gives away mosquito bites (1).

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug marks

To spot bed bug bites, look for lines of red bumps. Each bump will have a small puncture mark in the center of it. Bed bugs bite skin exposed during sleep like your baby’s feet, arms, and face (2).

Same Bite, Different Reactions

Your baby might have a rash or itchiness with bed bug bites or not be bothered at all. Everyone reacts differently (3).

Flea Bites

Flea bites

Fleas bite in small clusters that look similar to bed bug bites. While bedbug bites tend to bite exposed skin, fleas like warm areas like the bends of elbows and knees.

Fly Bites

Female legs with many sand fly bites

Identifying fly bites on kids can be tricky because there are so many different types of flies. Let’s look at the most common type.

1. Horsefly Bites

These are one of the insect bites on babies that definitely hurt! Look for a raised rash, along with dizziness and wheezing. While it looks dramatic, the key risk is infection (4).

2. Sand Fly Bites

Sandflies are common in areas like Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas. You’ll see small red bumps and possibly blisters. Like most fly bites, infection is the biggest issue so watch for skin ulcers (5).

3. Deer Fly Bites

In warm areas with water (hello, summers by the lake!), your little one can get painful deer fly bites. Look for red bumps and welts. If they get inflamed and grow in size, make a doctor’s appointment.

Bee Stings

Little boy with big bee sting under the eye

While bees don’t bite, they give a nasty sting. If you think your baby has been stung, look for a pink welt. In the center, you will see a white spot from the stinger. Some bees leave their stingers that need to be removed.

Removing A Bee Stinger

Grab onto the stinger with your fingernail. Avoid using a tweezer, which can push venom into the skin (6).

Wasps Stings

Little boy with wasp sting on the eye

Wasp stings are just like bee stings (though wasps don’t leave their stingers). If you think your baby was stung by a wasp, look for that pink welt with a white center. (7).

How to Treat Insect Bites on Babies

While symptoms vary, the basics of first aid for bug bites are essentially the same.

Not sure what kind of bug bite your baby has? No worries! Follow our bite bug first aid tips and watch for any hints of an allergic reaction (8).

  1. Steady those shaky hands and remove any foreign object. Whether we are talking about a bee stinger, a tick, or a mystery object, get it out of there ASAP.
  2. Wash the area with soap and water.
  3. Put a cold compress or ice pack on the bite for at least ten minutes.
  4. Keep the area as elevated as possible to reduce swelling.
  5. Try to keep your baby from scratching. This is prime time for cutting nails too!
  6. Avoid home remedies for bug bites. As much as we love a natural fix, these are open wounds so stick with tried-and-true drugstore remedies.
  7. Watch closely for an allergic reaction. Wheezing, a swollen face, dizziness, or any other usual behavior is a sign of an emergency.

When Should I Be Worried About an Insect Bite?

Alright, moms, let’s take a deep breath. Bug bites on a baby can be scary, but they’re rarely serious. To gain perspective, let’s hear from a doc about when to worry about bug bites (and when to forget about ‘em!) (9).

Here’s when to see the doctor about the following insect bites on babies.

  • Wasp or bee stings: If you see swelling of the face, throat, tongue, it’s an emergency. If your baby is having trouble breathing, swallowing, or has been stung more than ten times, make a beeline for the emergency room.
  • Fly bites: If your baby has swelling of the eyes or lips, or is feeling dizzy, it’s ER time.
  • Mosquito bites: If your baby has diarrhea, fever, a headache, or flu-like symptoms within two weeks of being bit, get checked for West Nile virus.
  • Spider bites: Babies can be allergic to spider bites. If your little one is having trouble breathing or you notice swelling in the neck or face, get to the emergency room.
  • Tick bites: If a bite looks infected, you see a rash, or your baby’s got flu-like symptoms, make a doctor’s appointment. If you think the tick has been there for more than 24 hours or you can’t fully remove the tick, get to the doctor.

For Improved Analysis

Be sure to save any evidence of the bug that you can get. Put the tick, stinger, wing, or any other piece into a sealed bag for your doc to test.

How to Prevent Insect Bites on Babies

As every mom knows, prevention is the best medicine! Here’s how to make those creepy crawlers buzz off (10).

  1. Keep babies inside at dusk and dawn (primetime for bugs!).
  2. Dress your little one in long sleeves and pants.
  3. Use a stroller cover.
  4. Avoid standing water, including birdbaths and fountains.
  5. Use bug spray after two months of age.

FAQs About Insect Bites on Babies

Bugs happen! These annoying side effects of summer (and sometimes even winter!) fun are likely to affect your baby at some point. Let’s dive deeper into the FAQ to prepare.

Are Mosquito Bites Harmful to Babies?

In most cases, a mosquito bite is nothing more than a temporary irritation. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to be aware of the mosquito-borne illness out there. If your baby has flu-like symptoms after getting a mosquito bite, visit the doctor.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Use mosquito netting over the stroller. Dress your little one in lightweight, full-coverage clothing. For kids over two months, use mosquito repellant with DEET (11).

Does Breast Milk Help Bug Bites?

Yep! Some moms find it does help. According to doctors, the antibacterial and antiviral properties of your breast milk can soothe bug bites (12).

What Insect Bite Leaves Two Holes?

In most cases, an insect bite with two puncture marks is from a spider. You will typically see redness and swelling. It may turn into a blue, blue, or red spot (13).

What Do Scabie Bites Look Like?

Scabie bites tend to be very itchy and look like small blisters. They typically have a line pattern. On babies, scabie bites are most common on the face and neck, as well as the hands and feet (14)

How Do You Know If a Bug Bite is Poisonous?

If you notice swelling of your baby’s lips, tongue, throat, or eyes, it could be a symptom of poisoning. Pay close attention to see if your baby is having trouble breathing or dizzy. Any unusual behavior like this warrants a trip to the ER (15).


Treating Bug Bites on Babies 101

While bug bites are inevitable, there is a lot that you can do to prevent complications. By knowing what to look out for and learning how to ID bites, you can manage reactions.

Alright, smart moms: Save this page right now! With all of the essentials on treating bug bites and allergic reactions, you’re ready. Best of all, your little one is all set to take on the world!