When To Worry About A Spider Bite On Toddler?

Spider Bites In Toddlers — Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Do you keep your home and garden clean to protect your child from potential bug bites? Do you dread that your hyperactive toddler has marks of spider bite on his skin? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post is a good idea.

Nine out of ten people will cringe at the thought of a spider bite! Though, not all spiders are poisonous, it is best to keep these creepy creatures at bay especially when you have a tiny tot at home. Want to know how to spot a spider bite on toddler and treat it too? Check out this article to know all about spider bites in toddlers!

Facts About Spider Bites:

Spiders are not aggressive by nature, and they only bite when they feel endangered! All spiders contain some amount of venom to catch their prey. In most cases, spider bites do not lead to serious health complications.

Spider Bite Symptoms In Toddlers:

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.

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:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Exhaustion
  • Rapid pulse

How To Treat Spider Bites On Toddlers?

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

  • Clean the spot of spider bite with cold water and an antiseptic solution.
  • You may also apply an antibiotic ointment on the affected area.
  • Instruct your toddler not to rub 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 essential to immediate medical help.

Ways To Prevent Spider Bites In Toddlers:

Prevention is always better than cure. Here is how you can protect your toddler from spider bites:

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.

See also:  What Does A Spider Bite Look Like On Your Skin?

A spider bite is not always poisonous, so do not hit the panic button. However, avoid experimenting with any home remedy to treat your toddler spider bite. Take your child to the nearest medical practitioner if your toddler’s discomfort does not subside.

Did your toddler suffer from a spider bite? What did you do to help him? Please share your experience and advice here.

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First Aid: Spider Bites

Because most spider bites don’t go all the way through skin, they usually cause only mild reactions. However, black widow and brown recluse spider bites can cause serious reactions and need immediate care. Allergic reactions to spider bites can happen but are rare.

Signs and Symptoms

Of a brown recluse spider bite:

  • swelling or redness around the bite
  • pain around the bite within 2 to 8 hours
  • joint stiffness or pain
  • nausea, vomiting
  • body rash
  • fever, chills, and body aches
  • tiredness

Of a black widow spider bite:

  • painful muscle cramps within 8 hours
  • no bite on the skin (or only a small bite)
  • belly pain and stiffness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • breathing trouble

Of an allergic reaction:

  • swelling of the face or mouth
  • difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • chest tightness, wheezing, or trouble breathing

What to Do

If your child has been bitten by a spider:

  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • Put an ice pack or a cool wet cloth on the bite area to relieve pain and swelling.

Get Medical Care Right Away if:

  • Your child has any signs of an allergic reaction.
  • Your child develops any kind of rash after a bite.
  • Your child has severe pain or cramping.
  • The area begins to look infected (increasing redness, pain, swelling, warmth, or pus).
  • You think your child was bitten by a brown recluse spider or black widow spider.

Think Prevention!

  • Make sure garages, attics, and woodpiles are free of spider webs.
  • Make sure kids wear long sleeves and pants when playing around garages, attics, and woodpiles, etc.
  • Firewood should be kept outside the house to avoid bringing spiders inside.

More on this topic for:

  • Parents
  • Kids
  • Teens

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995- The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.


Spider Bites: What You Need to Know

Are They Poisonous?

Spiders are blamed for all kinds of things that turn out to be skin infections or some other bug’s fault. Most don’t even have fangs long enough to break your skin. When they do bite, they’re typically harmless. In the U.S., only the black widow and brown recluse have venom strong enough to really hurt you. And their bites are rarely deadly to humans.

What Do Bites Look Like?

They’re pretty much just like an insect bite. For the most part, you can’t tellВ a spider bit you just from your symptoms. You’ll get a little bump on your skin. It might get red, itchy, and swell up a bit. It might hurt, but no more than a bee sting and usually not for more than an hour or so. That’s basically it — unless you’re bitten by a venomous spider.

Black Widows

This spider’s telltale sign is the red hourglass shape on the bottom of its big, round abdomen — the back part of the body. Black widows are shiny and black and about half an inch long. You can find them anywhere in North America, but mostly they’re in the southern and western areas in the U.S. They like quiet, out-of-the-way places like closets, sheds, garages, and woodpiles.

See also:  What Does A Spider Sack Look Like?

What’s a Black Widow Bite Like?

The bite feels like a pinprick, so you may not notice it. The first signs might be small, red marks with some swelling. Within an hour, it’ll hurt a little more, and the pain might spread to your back, belly, and chest. You might have stomach cramps, and your belly might feel a little stiff. You may also sweat a lot. In serious cases, you can have trouble breathing, along with a fast heart rate, nausea, and vomiting. The area around the bite may continue to get redder and more swollen.

Brown Recluse

People sometimes say to look for the small violin shape on the part of the body where the legs attach, but that’s easy to get wrong. Check the eyes instead. Most spiders have eight eyes in two rows of four. Here, look for six eyes: two in front, and two on each side. They live mostly in the southern Midwest and parts of the South. They like to stay indoors, tucked away deep in the stuff in your basement or attic.

What’s a Brown Recluse Bite Like?

You might feel a little sting at first, but it’ll hurt more over the next 8 hours. You also might see a small white blister that has a red ring around it, like a bullseye. Sometimes, the skin in the middle of the bite can turn blue or purple, and you may have an open sore that gets bigger for up to 10 days. It doesn’t happen often, but some people also have other symptoms like fever, chills, rash, and an upset stomach.


Their big, hairy look is much worse than their bite. At least this is true for the ones in the U.S., where you find them mostly in the Southwest. Make no mistake, their bite hurts, sometimes for up to a week. It might also get red and warm, but that’s the worst of it. Some types of tarantulas can also flick fine barbed hairs from their belly at you. If these stick in your skin, they can cause itching, swelling, and irritation.

False Black Widow

These look a lot like black widows, but they don’t have the red hourglass. And their color ranges from purplish-brown to black. They like to cozy up in homes along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. Pain from their bite can get worse in the first hour and you may get some blisters around it. It might make you feel generally sick with a headache or an upset stomach, but this will pass within a few days.

Hobo Spider

At one point, these were thought to be really dangerous, like the brown recluse. But the past 15 years of research says they’re mostly harmless. You won’t get much more than some redness and mild pain, and maybe some swelling. They’re found in the Pacific Northwest, usually in places like woodpiles and retaining walls. They often have a light stripe running down the middle of their bodies.В

What to Do

The first steps are the same for all spider bites, even those from a black widow or brown recluse. Clean the area with soap and water and put on some antibiotic cream. Then take a cloth and wet it with cold water or wrap it around some ice and put that on the bite. If you were bitten on your arm or leg, raise it up. You can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and an antihistamine for swelling.

When to See a Doctor

Get checked out right away if you have symptoms beyond the bite, like serious pain in your belly, cramps, throwing up, or trouble breathing. You also should see your doctor if you have an open sore or a bullseye mark, or if the bite gets worse after 24 hours. Look out for things like pain around the bite getting worse, redness that’s spreading, and fluid coming from the bite. If you can do it safely, take the spider with you, even if it’s dead.

Treatment for Black Widow Bites

You may get prescription drugs to ease the pain and relax your muscles. There’s an antivenom for black widows, but it’s rarely used because some people have a serious reaction to it. And it’s almost never really needed. It’s saved for more serious bites in the very young, very old, or people who have other health issues.В

See also:  When To Get A Spider Bite Checked Out?

Treatment for Brown Recluse Bites

This is mostly about managing the wound so it doesn’t get infected. If you have a bump and redness, your doctor might recommend antihistamines or a cream to help with swelling and itchiness. For an open sore, you need to clean it daily and use antibiotic cream. From there, you should keep an eye on things, especially for symptoms beyond the bite, like fever or chills.

Allergic Reactions

It’s not very common, but just like with bee stings, some people are allergic to spider bites. Watch for swelling in your face or mouth, trouble talking or swallowing, tightness in your chest, or trouble breathing. If you feel any of these symptoms or see them in someone you’re with, get help right away.

How to Prevent a Spider Bite

If you’re poking around in woodpiles, sheds, attics, and other areas, wear long sleeves and a hat, and tuck your pants into your socks. Make sure to shake out work gloves, boots, and clothes you haven’t used in a while, because spiders can hide in them, too. And don’t keep rocks, lumber, or firewood near your house. Inside, don’t put your bed directly against the wall, and don’t store things under it.

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Mayo Clinic: “Spider Bites,” “Spider Bites: First Aid.”

PestWorld.org: “Spider Bites: Symptoms, Signs & Spider Bite Treatment.”

KidsHealth: “First Aid: Spider Bites.”

University of California Riverside: “Brown Recluse ID.”

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health: “Venomous Spiders.”

Merck Manual, Professional Version: “Spider Bites.”

American Family Physician: “Common Spider Bites.”

Medscape: “Medically Significant Spider Bites: Keys to Diagnosis and Treatment.”

University of Florida Health: “Tarantula Spider Bite.”

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: “False Black Widow Spider.”

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Spider Bites.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 05, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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