image001Picture a scenario where your baby sees a bumblebee on a dandelion. A few minutes later, you see your baby reaching out to grab it because it looks cute and fuzzy. Unfortunately, your child does not realize that bees are as dangerous as they are fascinating and that is why you should learn how to treat toddler bee stings. When a bee stings, they leave a stinger. The stinger has a venom sac attached to it and that venom is filled with protein which affects a person’s immune system ultimately causing swelling and pain. There are toddlers who are allergic to venom from bees and they end up getting severe reactions when stung. This severe allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis and it can be deadly. This piece will tell you how to deal with a toddler bee sting.

What Are the Symptoms of Toddler Bee Sting?

Toddler bee stings can have four different reactions. Here are the characteristics of each symptom/reaction:

1. Local Reactions

This is the most common of all four reactions. The symptoms include redness where the sting occurred, warmth, swelling and pain. There might also be itching. These symptoms will start the moment the stinging has taken place and will often last for a couple of hours. Depending on the bee type, the stinger may be visible in the skin. When there is a large local reaction, the victim may experience larger swelling which can last for weeks. A large local reaction can also be accompanied by tiredness and/or nausea. These aren’t allergic reactions.

2. Body-Wide (Systemic) Allergic Reaction

This type of reaction occurs in people whose bodies have produced the antibody IgE against the bee venom resulting from a sting that previously occurred. This type of reaction has been estimated to occur in very few sting cases. Symptoms include skin flushing, hives and difficulty breathing caused by swelling of epiglottis and pharynx and narrowed bronchial passages. Reactions in severity may vary from mild hives to a life-threatening severe reaction. The life-threatening immunologic reactions are called anaphylaxis and are more common in males under 20 years. In such severe reactions, symptoms such as circulatory substance, breathing difficulty and low blood pressure (hypotension) can advance to critical cardiorespiratory arrest. Once a person experiences anaphylactic reactions, their risk of experiencing a recurring incident is about sixty percent.

3. Toxic Reaction

This type of reaction is a direct result of the presence of a toxin in the bee’s venom. Toxic reactions most often happen when the victim has had several simultaneous stings which introduce large venom amounts to his/her body. Symptoms include convulsions, dizziness, fainting, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and fever. The less common symptoms include hives and rash. Since bee venom is a strong immune response stimulant, people who have suffered from toxic reactions normally produce antibodies to that venom and are at risk of future systemic anaphylactic sting reactions.

4. Delayed Reactions

This is an uncommon reaction and occurs some days or even weeks after toddlers have been stung. Delayed reactions are made up of about 0.3% or less of all bee stings. The victim’s condition and medical history may determine whether this reaction occurs or not. Symptoms widely vary and can include encephalitis (brain inflammation), neuritis (nerves inflammation), nephritis (kidneys inflammation) or vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels). It can also cause disturbances of blood clotting. Delayed reaction that takes place about a week or ten days after the sting is known as a serum sickness. It may cause swelling of lymph nodes, fever, rash, itching, fatigue and joint pain.

How Can You Treat a Toddler Bee Sting?



Remove the sting

If the stinger is still visible, remove it as soon as possible so that not all the venom gets into the toddler’s system. Pull it out using your fingers or some flat items.

Wash the area

Wash the area gently with water and soap.

Apply icepack to the sting

Take a wet, cold washcloth or icepack and apply it to the bee sting. Let it sit for a few minutes.

Ease aching

If the toddler is hurting, administer a dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease aching. Make sure the dose of the pain killers according to the age of the toddler.

Deal with itch

If the toddler is itchy, consult his/her doctor on whether it is safe to give the toddler some OTC (over-the-counter) antihistamine. You can also use corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion to relieve itching. Make sure you treat the itch as fast as possible before the toddler itches because that will be invitation for bacteria that cause infections.

See a doctor if necessary

Take your toddler to the emergency room or doctor as soon as possible especially if the bee has stung a place such as inside the mouth.

If you want medical advice on treating toddler bee stings from a professional doctor, check out this video:

How to Protect Toddlers from a Bee Sting




One good thing about bees, and other stinging insects is that they have a distinctive appearance. Teach the toddlers about the different bugs and insects and why they should not be touched or disturbed.

Bee proof

Insect-proof your toddler’s play area. Be sure that the house and yard have been cleared off the hives. Also, keep the garbage receptacles tightly sealed and the plant flowers are away from your toddler’s play area. If your toddler is playing indoors, use door and window screens.

Dress safely

If your toddler is going outside, try not to dress them in a way that they look like flowers. Avoid using too much fragrance shampoos and lotions as well as bright colors such as red and yellow. Bees are usually out looking for food and if your toddler smells and looks like food, bees might get attracted to them.

Snack safely

When outdoors, keep your toddler away from sweet stuff. If they are snacking on sweet stuff, make sure that you wipe them clean using wet-wipes. The drinks they take should also be capped because sweet drinks particularly attract bees.


Make sure that your toddler does not play outside with bare feet. Most people have been stung when walking barefooted.

Blooming flowers

If you have orchards and flowers that are almost blooming, be careful as they attract bees.

When to See a Doctor

Call a doctor when your toddler:

  • has trouble breathing or is wheezing.
  • has swollen face, tongue or lips.
  • has pale skin, flushed or hives.
  • has rapid or weak pulse.
  • faints or is dizzy.
  • is vomiting or has nausea.
  • has lost consciousness.