How Do You Treat Bed Bug Bites On Babies


Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.

Check if it’s bedbugs

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Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Signs of bedbugs include:

  • bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
  • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
  • small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)

Bedbug bites can be red and itchy. They’re often in a line or cluster.

Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo

Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.

How you can treat bedbug bites

Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.

Things you can do include:

  • putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
  • keeping the affected area clean
  • not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
  • antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
  • the redness around the bites is spreading

You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.

Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP

It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

How to get rid of bedbugs

contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides

wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes

put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)

clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early

do not keep clutter around your bed

do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first

do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs

Page last reviewed: 21 January 2019
Next review due: 21 January 2022

How To Treat Bedbug Bites In Babies?

Are you worried to notice red linear rashes on your baby’s body? Are you wondering if it is a case of bedbug bites? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post is a good idea.

As a new mother, the slightest discomfort of your baby is enough to give you sleepless nights. The thought of nasty parasites feeding on your little one’s blood is surely a nightmare! Want to know more about how to treat bedbug bites on babies? Read on!

What Are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, nocturnal parasites that survive on human blood. Bedbug infestation is common in places like hotels, shelters, dorm rooms and public transport vehicles. Bedbugs hide in mattresses and other dry and warm places such as dressers, wall crevices, bed frames, rugs, and window casings (1).

Do Bedbug Bites On Babies Cause Health Risks?

Bedbug bites do not require medical attention as they are mostly painless. However, these nasty bites may cause itchiness, and scratching them can lead to secondary infections. The bedbug bites usually appear in clusters or a line formation and hence are distinguishable from mosquito bites. If you notice red marks in clusters on your baby’s delicate skin, it is time for inspecting his bedding for any bug infestation.

Bedbug bite reactions may be different for every baby. Some may not feel any pain at all while others may suffer from mild to severe itching and even allergic reactions. The severity of your baby’s reaction to bedbug bites may determine the course of treatment he requires (2).

Bedbugs do not spread diseases, so their presence is not a health hazard but more of a nuisance. Babies may scratch the affected area with their fingernails and develop infections or may cry incessantly due to discomfort caused by the bites. Babies may also suffer from a loss of sleep and may even become irritable due to an infestation of bedbugs. A severe case of bedbug bites may leave their sensitive skin scarred. Do seek immediate medical help if your baby suffers from the following symptoms:

  • If he develops any redness, abscess or swelling in the affected area.
  • If your baby runs a fever after suffering from bedbug bites.
  • If he suffers from any breathing difficulty due to an allergic reaction caused by the bug bites.

How To Treat Bed Bug Bites On Babies Skin?

Consult your baby’s doctor in case you notice bed bug bites on baby skin. The pediatrician may prescribe a mild antiseptic lotion for topical application to provide relief to your baby. Corticosteroid ointments are popular medications for treating bedbug bites. If the bug bites are severe, the doctor may also prescribe oral corticosteroids. If your baby develops a bacterial infection due to scratching the bug bites, he may need a course of antibiotics.

Tips To Prevent Bedbugs:

Bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed, and their eggs are even smaller, so it is difficult to spot them or identify their hiding places. Apart from the bites, you can notice signs of bedbugs through tiny blood stains on mattresses, upholstery, and sheets. You can also confirm the presence of bedbugs if you spot rusty or dark fecal deposits or exoskeletons on the mattress. An offensive, sweet, musty odor is also a sign of severe bedbug infestation (3). Consider the following measures to keep the threat of a bedbug infestation at bay (4).

  • While traveling, check rental vehicles for bedbugs before you using them. When you stay in hotels, keep your luggage away from your bed.
  • Refrain from using used upholstery or furniture. In case you decide to do it, thoroughly vacuum them before using to get rid of bedbugs.
  • Use hot water to wash all clothes and upholstery regularly to eradicate any bedbug infestation.

Seek professional help to get rid of bedbugs in your house. Over-the-counter insecticides may harm your little one, so it is best to leave the task to pest control companies.

Remember, minimizing clutter in the house is the best way to keep your baby safe from bedbug bites.

How did you deal with your baby with bed bug bites? What treatment did the pediatrician advice? Please share your experience and tips with other moms here.

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Baby and Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs live in warm and dry places, like mattresses, and feed on blood. A person of any age is at risk for getting bed bug bites and the treatment is the same for every age. If your baby gets bitten by bed bugs, you can handle it by controlling the itching and discomfort and eliminating the bed bugs.

Bite Description

According to Skin Sight, bed bug bites appear as red or pink bumps in lines or clusters on your baby’s skin 1. If your baby has sensitive skin, the bites can be large welts. Bed bug bites are typically painless, but they can itch and cause your baby to try and scratch them.


There is no evidence that bed bugs can transmit blood-borne diseases, according to 2. However, the itching may be uncomfortable for your baby. Talk to his doctor if you are concerned. He may recommend or prescribe a topical corticosteroid to help with the itching. An oatmeal bath may help with the itching as well. You can buy an oatmeal bath preparation at the drugstore or just add powdered oatmeal to lukewarm water. Be sure to supervise your baby carefully while he is in the bath, and only use a small amount of water to prevent drowning.

Managing Bites

Keep your baby’s nails trimmed short while her bites are healing. Scratching her bites can cause them to bleed, which can lead to a bacterial infection in her skin. If she develops a bacterial infection from scratching her bed bug bites, she may need antibiotics.

Eliminating Bed Bugs

To get rid of bed bugs, wash linens, bedding and curtains in hot water and dry them in the dryer on a high-heat setting. Fix any furniture cracks and vacuum the room and mattress. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recommends covering the mattress with a plastic cover. In extreme infestation cases, bed bugs can live under the carpet or under wallpaper and peeling paint. You may need to call a professional exterminator if you cannot get rid of the bed bugs yourself.


Bed bugs are common in places with high turnover, such as apartment complexes and hotels. If your baby spends time in these places, be sure to wash his bedding frequently and to check his body for bites. Do not use any chemicals to get rid of bed bugs before checking to make sure they are safe for use around children.

Bed bugs live in warm and dry places, like mattresses, and feed on blood. Bed bug bites are typically painless, but they can itch and cause your baby to try and scratch them. He may recommend or prescribe a topical corticosteroid to help with the itching. If your baby spends time in these places, be sure to wash his bedding frequently and to check his body for bites. Do not use any chemicals to get rid of bed bugs before checking to make sure they are safe for use around children.

Insect Bites and Stings (Children)

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Call 911 if your child:

  • Has been bitten or stung and has sudden hives, swelling in the face, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or fainting
  • Had a serious allergic reaction to an insect bite or sting before

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.

Call Doctor If:

  • 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.

1. Remove the Stinger (for Honeybee Stings)

  • 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.

2. Clean the Area

  • Wash the bite or sting with mild soap and water.

3. Treat Symptoms

  • 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.


American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology: "Tips to Remember: Stinging Insect Allergy."

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites in Children

Bedbugs refer to small insects that feed on blood of human and other mammals. Bedbugs usually live in warm, dry places like upholstered furniture, mattress, and rugs. Generally, they come out at dawn to feed. Since their bite is painless, the baby is not likely to wake up when bitten. However, the bite produces an itchy rash. The baby will only wake up with itchy pink or red bumps. These bumps are usually in clusters or lines.

Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Bites

You might see your child rubbing or scratching their legs or arms against something. It might appear as a small bruise that turns to a red bump later on. It can be on any body part, like legs, arms, chest, and even the face. Also, you might see a clustered configuration of three bites in a line, known as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

Home Remedies to Treat Bed Bug Bites in Kids

Although bedbug bite is completely harmless and doesn’t cause any blood-borne disease, it is important to give first aid or proper treatment. This is because children and babies are more prone to scratching at bites thus leading to secondary skin infections.

Here are some good remedies to treat bedbug bites in children. These home remedies assure safe and speedy relief.

  • Mix a small quantity of baking powder with water to prepare a paste. Apply this to reduce swelling.
  • Take some Neem leaves. Crush them to prepare a paste. Apply this paste over the affected areas to get quick relief.
  • Mix sandal paste with a pinch of turmeric. While sandal provides the cooling effect, turmeric performs the role of antiseptic. However, make ity a point to buy fresh turmeric and sandal powder.

Other Treatments to Combat Bedbug Bites

In addition to the various home remedies to treat bedbug bites, there are also some other treatments that can help to reduce the consequent discomfort.

  • Allergies and Infections

Many a time, your child might develop certain allergic reactions to certain insect bites. Allergic reactions are usually identified with itching and swelling that do not subside. Or, your child might also develop wheezing or mild fever. In such cases, it is advised to consult a doctor and ask for appropriate remedy.

For minor or mild infections, occurring due to bedbug bites, you can apply an antiseptic cream. However, make sure to clean the affected area properly before application.

  • Avoid Scratching

Keep your baby from scratching the bite area. This can further increase the itching sensation and cause infections. Also, cut short your baby’s nails as a precautionary step.

  • Medicines

You can also opt for some medicines which are completely safe and recommended for bedbug bites. Some good options are listed ahead.

  • Benadryl can be administered safely to control and ease itching.
  • You can also choose to apply lacto calamine. It contains cooling effect and antiseptic properties. However, avoid application on areas near hands, eyes, and genitals.
  • If, in any case, the bites become painful, you can use mild pain killers. However, make sure to ask your doctor before proper dosage.
  • Cooling Effect

Usually bedbug bites are more common during the summer season. They can cause severe itching. It is, therefore, advisable to give a cooling effect to the affected areas. You can apply an ice pack or a cloth dipped in cold water to the affected areas. This will not only provide relief to your child’s skin but will also reduce the red bug bites and ease swelling as well. Soothe your baby by keeping the environments cool.

Tips to Prevent Bedbug Bites

How amazing it would be if you could stop the bugs from attacking your child. Here are a few tips to protect your child by keeping away the bedbugs.

  • Make sure to keep the windows closed, specifically during the evenings to prevent the bugs from entering your house.
  • If you experience a sudden raise in the number of mosquitoes in and around your house, use a spray or other techniques to get rid of them.
  • For kids over the age of six months, it is recommended to use mosquito repellant creams. Choose a reliable brand that offers repellant creams for babies and kids.

These simple remedies and tips are all you need to treat your kids in case of a bed bug. Remember prevention is better than cure. So, keep your house spic and span, air your sheets as and when you can, and your abode will be free from these pesky disease causing parasites.

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