The most important thing you need to know about insect bites and young children is that you won't detect an allergy, if one exists, until your child has been bitten. You'll need to be aware of the potential for that problem if you see an insect bite — which usually looks like a small red bump — on your child's skin.
If your child is stung on soft tissue — such as in his mouth, around his genitals, or near his eye — bring him to a doctor. A sting in a one-year-old's mouth can obstruct his breathing and, a sting on or near the eye should be looked at by a professional, in case any part of the eyeball is injured.
Bee stings hurt and surprise young children. One-year-olds are often terrified of bees and wasps because they understand early on that these insects sting. If a bee or wasp is flying around your child, teach your child to sit still. This will discourage the bee from feeling threatened and stinging.
Very few people are truly allergic to bees. Most people get a local reaction to bee stings, during which the area around the sting will swell and turn red. Those with allergies will get hives, facial swelling, and will have difficulty breathing.
If your child does get stung, you can run cold water on the skin and try to remove the stinger, if visible, with tweezers or by brushing it away with something stiff but pliable, like a credit card (to prevent more of the irritant in the stinger from being squeezed into the wound with tweezers). If you are at home or at a friend's house when the sting occurs, you can make a simple and soothing salve to apply to the site of the sting by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with about one-half teaspoon of water.
Spider, Flea, and Mosquito Bites
Spiders tend to bite at night, so you'll generally notice a spider bite (a small red bump on the skin) when you're dressing your child in the morning. You might want to take his sheets and pillowcases off to wash them and look around for webs or spiders. Most spider bites aren't dangerous, but they can itch. If your child is scratching, try putting calamine lotion or a mixture of baking soda and water (mixed into a paste) on his skin. This will soothe it.
The most effective insect repellents have a small amount of the chemical DEET in them. If you are worried about DEET on children, put a sunscreen or cream on first to decrease the risk of DEET absorption (it will still deter the bugs) or use an all-natural insect repellant.
If your animal has fleas or your child visits a house with fleas, you will need to disinfect your house and animals. Flea bites aren't dangerous, but they are annoying and itchy. There are a variety of ways to soothe itchy bites or rashes. Try applying one of the following to irritated skin:
• Calamine lotion
• Antihistamine cream
• Baking soda mixed with water
• Refrigerated rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
You can also use the above methods to soothe mosquito bites and poison ivy.
If your one-year-old has been outside, you should carefully check his body, especially his scalp, for ticks, which will feel like a hard bump under your fingertips. To remove a tick, you'll need tweezers and a firm grip, so that you get the whole thing out of the skin, not just the body. (If the tick has bitten, you run the risk of removing the tick's body with tweezers, leaving the head of the tick in the skin.) If you notice a red bump and circle with a white inner circle at the site of the bite anywhere from a few days to several weeks after finding a tick, bring your child to the doctor to check for Lyme disease, which is carried by the small ticks called deer ticks. Always check your child's scalp and hairline, too, while you're washing his hair.