Spider Bites In Toddlers: Facts, Symptoms & Ways To Prevent

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As a parent, it is worrying about managing spider bites in toddlers. Since children are active and keep exploring new places, they may get these bites frequently; however, most spiders are not poisonous.

If you notice a spider or insect bite growing rapidly or giving rise to sweating or rapid pulse symptoms, you should consult a healthcare provider. Moreover, you should also exercise caution to prevent bites from other insects and pests in children.

The post discusses the symptoms of spider bites in children, their treatment, and ways to prevent them.

In This Article

Facts About Spider Bites

Spiders are not insects, but they belong to the arachnida class of invertebrate animals. They are not aggressive by nature, and they only bite when they feel they are in danger! All spiders contain some amount of venom to catch their prey. In most cases, spider bites do not lead to serious health complications (1).

Spider Bite Symptoms In Toddlers

Brown recluse spider bites may cause stomach cramps and exhaustion.

Image: Shutterstock

Unfortunately, parents often fail to understand if the scar or wound on a child’s skin is due to a spider bite. They may initially mistake the scars to be ant bites. If the toddler cannot speak or identify spiders, it can make detecting a spider bite even more difficult. You need to keep your eyes open for some commonplace symptoms of spider bites (1) (2):

Redness of skin, itching, pain and swelling are common symptoms of insect bites. However, you should be cautious if you find the insect bite mark on the toddler’s skin is spreading, or there is drainage from the spot. If the pain does not subside within a few days, that can be a cause of concern too. After being bitten by a venomous spider, the toddlers may exhibit signs of distress like breathing difficulty along with scars on his skin.

Toddlers bitten by a brown recluse spider or a Black widow spider may suffer from scars on the skin. They may also exhibit the following symptoms in extreme cases:

protip_icon Quick fact
The bite of a black widow spider may feel like an immediate, sharp, pin-like prick. The bite area may numb, and children may show excess salivation, nausea, and vomiting (1).

How To Treat Spider Bites On Toddlers?

Here is the first aid you can give your toddler if he suffers from a spider bite (2) (3):

  • Clean the spot of spider bite with cold water and an antiseptic solution.
  • You may also apply an antibiotic ointment on the affected area.
Apply an antibiotic ointment on the spider bites in toddlers.

Image: Shutterstock

  • Instruct your toddler not to rub or itch the spot as it can lead to swelling and an increase in pain.
  • You can ask your pediatrician to prescribe a painkiller for your toddler.
  • If your child is suffering from severe discomfort, it is vital to take them to the hospital immediately.
  • Although rare, certain spiders can be venomous; and if a person is bitten by a poisonous spider, they may require an antivenom prescribed by a doctor or healthcare specialist; however, it is crucial to note that the antivenom could be associated with certain adverse effects.
Get medical help if your child faces discomfort.

Image: Shutterstock

Ways To Prevent Spider Bites In Toddlers

Use insecticides regularly to keep spiders away from home.

Image: Shutterstock

Prevention is always better than cure. Raising awareness is an important step to protecting your toddler from spider bites. Furthermore, you may consider taking the following steps to prevent spider bites (1):

Toddlers, out of playfulness and curiosity, can venture into areas where spiders form nests. These include attics and dusty staircases, etc. You cannot always keep an eye on them. However, you can ensure they wear shirts with long sleeves and socks while playing to protect them from spider bites. To keep spiders away from home, use insecticides regularly. Ensure spare spaces like the basement or attic are kept clean. Remember to store these insecticides and sprays away from the reach of children.

protip_icon Quick tip
Treating clothing and shoes with an insecticide called permethrin may help protect children from spiders (1).

It may be challenging to identify a spider bite in toddlers as itching, redness, or swelling is common for many insect bites. However, check with a doctor immediately if your child shows symptoms such as sweating, rapid pulse, stomach cramps, or the pain does not subside in a few days. Signs such as the bite mark spreading or discharge may indicate a spider bite. It is not always poisonous, so do not panic. Provide first aid as an emergency aid, but avoid experimenting with home remedies.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does a spider bite look like in a toddler?

A spider bite typically looks like an insect or bug bite that is red, itchy and has a small bump on the affected site.

2. When should I worry about a spider bite on a toddler?

Seek immediate medical assistance if your child exhibits any of the following signs after a spider bite:

  • The affected site has increased redness, swelling, pus, or warmth
  • Severe pain or cramping
  • Allergic reaction

A child bitten by a brown recluse spider or black widow spider also needs immediate medical help.

3. What poisonous spiders can be found in a toddler’s environment?

Poisonous spiders that may be found in a toddler’s environment depend on the geographical location where you and your family are situated, as a wide variety of arachnids inhabit almost all habitats. Some poisonous spiders that dwell in human habitations include the Brown Recluse Spider, Yellow sac Spider, Wolf Spider, Black Widow Spider, and Funnel-web Spiders.

4. Can spider bites in toddlers cause allergic reactions or anaphylaxis?

Spider bites in toddlers can sometimes cause allergic reactions, but severe anaphylactic reactions are uncommon. The severity of a spider bite reaction can vary depending on several factors, including the spider species, the amount of venom injected, and an individual’s immune response (5).

Infographic: Common Symptoms Of Black Widow Spider Bite In Toddlers

It is essential for parents to identify spider bites in toddlers, as it will help ensure prompt treatment. To help you with that, we present some common signs of black widow spider bites in toddlers in the infographic below. Save and share it with parents of other toddlers too.

signs of black widow spider bites in toddlers (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Although most spiders are non-poisonous, their bites can result in redness, itching, pain, and swelling.
  • Cleanse the affected area using cold water and an antiseptic solution.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment and refrain from scratching to prevent swelling.
  • Regularly spray insecticides to deter spiders and keep them away from children.
  • If the bite marks have spread or the child experiences sweating, exhaustion, stomach cramps, or a rapid pulse, it is recommended to seek medical attention.
Spider Bites In Toddlers_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Spider bites.
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16639-spider-bites
  2. Brown Recluse and Black Widow Spider Bites in Children.
    https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=brown-recluse-and-black-widow-spider-bites-in-children-90-P02850
  3. Spider bite.
    https://www.stlouischildrens.org/health-resources/symptom-checker/spider-bite
  4. First Aid: Spider Bites; The Nemours Foundation
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/spider-bites-sheet.html
  5. Kids Health Information : Insect bites and stings.
    https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Insect_bites_and_stings/
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Dr. Neema Shrestha is a pediatrician with a special interest in the field of neonatology. She has an overall experience of five years working in the field. Currently working in Kathmandu, Nepal, she completed her MBBS from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal in 2008, Diploma in Child Health from D.

Read full bio of Dr. Neema Shrestha