Insect Bites and Stings (Children)

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on February 12, 2024
2 min read

Insect stings and bites in young children may be painful, frightening, or irritating, but they're rarely a cause for concern unless your child has an allergic reaction.

  • Your child has been bitten or stung near the mouth
  • The area seems to be getting larger or redder or is oozing, which are signs of infection.
  • Honeybees and yellow jackets are the only insects that leave a stinger in the skin. Scrape the area with a fingernail or credit card to remove it.
  • Don't pinch the stinger with your fingers or tweezers -- that can inject more venom.
  • Wash the bite or sting with mild soap and water.
  • Remove any tight jewelry from the area of the bite or sting. It could be hard to get off once the area swells.
  • Ice the area for 10 minutes and then remove the ice for 10 minutes. Then repeat.
  • If the sting was on an arm or leg, elevate the area.
  • Pain relievers that are formulated for babies or children, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions on the bottle. If your child is under the recommended age, call a pediatrician.
  • An antihistamine formulated for children may help with swelling and itch. It can be taken by mouth or applied directly to the site of the sting. Call a pediatrician before using an antihistamine in infants or toddlers.
  • Apply a mixture of baking soda and water or calamine lotion for itch.