Protecting your baby from bee stings

Introducing Baby to the outdoors can be a fun, exciting experience. Introducing him to the bees that live in the outdoors can be a bit less of a bonding experience. Unfortunately for Baby, bees are around, especially in the summer, when you most want to get Baby out of the house.

Bee-avoidance

Bees are attracted to flowery scents and flowery colors, so the best way to keep Baby from becoming a bee-magnet is to make him look and smell as little like a flower as possible. That may seem a little tricky, with Baby‘s nectar-sweet breath and petal-soft skin, but with a little consideration, diligent parents can help their children seem incredibly non-plant-like. Strong perfumes or scents in soaps, shampoos and lotions draw bees, while more neutral or non-existent scents do not. Most baby soaps are fairly unscented anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure. Brightly colored clothes, clothes with bold patterns, and clothing with flower patterns are also more attractive to bees than you want your child to be, so light, solid colors are a better bet for days when you know you’ll be spending a lot of time outside.

Since many bees hang out at ground-level to be near the flowers, they can be roused when they’re stepped on. So even if Baby still isn’t walking marathons, or even at all, shoes can be a good idea in fields, meadows, or areas with lots of plant life, as they provide a layer between your child and any potential bees. For the same reason, long pants can be a good idea, even in the summer.

If a bee lands

If a bee moves into your and Baby’s play area, it might be time to move into a space where the bee isn’t. Without jerking around, or making sudden movements, take Baby slowly to another area. If the bee has already landed on Baby, see if you can get him to hold still, and blow gently in the bee’s direction. This could get it to fly away without scaring it into stinging.

If a bee stings

A bee’s stinger releases more venom if it’s in Baby’s skin for longer, so it’s important to remove it quickly. But you also don’t want to squeeze it out, because that could release more venom. Instead, try to brush the stinger off, or scrape it off with the edge of a credit card, or other thin, stiff edge. After the stinger is out, you can treat the swelling from the sting with a cold compress or ice pack.

While pain and swelling are generally the only things to worry about with bee stings, some children do show severe allergic reactions to the venom, so keep an eye out for a rash or hives, shortness of breath, swelling of the tongue, hands, or face, or unconsciousness. If your child shows any of these symptoms in the few hours after the sting, call for emergency medical care immediately.

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