Spending time outside with your little one — whether it’s an afternoon at the park or an evening stroll through your neighborhood — is great fun until your baby goes home red and itchy. Whether you’re dealing with mosquito, ant, or flea bites on your baby, we’re here to help.

In this article, the baby experts at Mustela tell you how to prevent, identify, and treat bug bites on your baby. With these tips, you can keep your little one as comfortable as possible and get them back to playing in no time!

Preventing Bug Bites On Your Baby

Get ahead of the game by trying to prevent bug bites entirely. Here are six steps you can take to fend off the bugs before you and your little one even walk out the door.

1) Avoid Being Outside In The Evening Hours

mom and baby sitting in the grass

During the summer, you’ll probably want to enjoy the cooler temperature that the evening provides. But this is just when mosquitoes typically come out in full force.

Your baby can get mosquito bites at any point in the day (and at night if one gets inside your house!), but bites are most common in the early evening hours.

For this reason, plan your outside activities for a different time of day if possible.

2) Dress Your Baby From Head To Toe

When you go outside, put your baby in clothing that will keep the bugs off of their skin. While you don’t want your little one to get too hot, dressing them in cool clothing that covers their arms and legs will help prevent bug bites.

Expert tip: If your baby spends lots of time outside in the sunshine, care for their skin afterward by applying Mustela’s After Sun Lotion. This creamy moisturizer will cool and refresh their skin while counteracting the dehydrating effects of the sun.

3) Apply Bug Repellent

Regardless of the time of day or the clothes your baby is wearing, armor up to fight the bugs with insect repellent. That said, always make sure your bug spray is safe for your little one.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, you should not use bug spray containing DEET on babies younger than two months of age. But if your child is over two months, they recommend using a product with 10 to 30 percent DEET.

4) Wash Bug Repellent Off At Night

While bug repellent can keep the bugs from bothering your baby, you don’t want to let it sit on their skin longer than necessary. At the end of the day, wash the repellent off of your little one during their bath.

While you’ve got them in the bath to wash the day away, treat your baby’s sensitive skin to some TLC with Mustela’s Gentle Cleansing Gel and Bath Oil.

To remove bug repellent from your baby’s skin while you’re out and about, use Mustela’s No Rinse Cleansing Water. Just apply it to their skin using a soft cloth, diaper wipe, or cotton pad and then pat dry — no need to rinse with water!

5) Use Fragrance-Free Products

Your sweet little one smells good to you, but you don’t want them to smell sweet to the bugs! Use fragrance-free products on your baby’s skin to help keep the bugs away.

For a fragrance-free bathtime, try Mustela’s Stelatopia Cleansing Gel, which is also great for babies with eczema-prone skin.

And, instead of a flowery-smelling lotion, moisturize your baby’s skin with a fragrance-free lotion, like Mustela’s Stelatopia Emollient Cream.

6) Bug-Proof Your Home

While you can’t always prevent the stray insect intruder, there are a couple of things you can do to keep mosquitoes from hanging out near your house or sneaking inside.

Mosquitoes reproduce in standing water, so cut them off at the source by doing away with any standing water near your house. Think about birdbaths, fountains, ponds, toys that gather water, and standing water in your yard.

Secondly, install screens on your windows and doors to keep the nosey bugs out. You’ll want to check the screens frequently to make sure they don’t have any holes.

Bonus: If you take long walks in the stroller, consider a screen for your stroller as well!

Identifying Mosquito, Ant, And Flea Bites On Your Baby

bug bites on baby legs

Even with the best preventive measures, you might still find the occasional bug bite on your baby. To determine if you’re dealing with a mosquito, ant, or flea bite, you need to know what to look for.

Mosquito Bites

A mosquito bite will show up as a round, red bump that’s itchy, hard, and a bit swollen. Mosquito bites don’t necessarily form a pattern, so your baby may have just one, or they may have a few sporadically covering an area.

Flea Bites

Flea bites usually appear in groups of three or four little bumps. They don’t swell like mosquito bites and they’re not as big. Instead, they’re small, red, and very itchy.

Ant Bites

Ant bites are also small, but they usually develop a blister or red pustule. Some people are severely allergic to ant bites, so you should also be on the lookout for signs like swelling in the face and trouble breathing or swallowing.

Treating Bug Bites On Your Baby

While they can be annoying, bug bites are usually no problem and only require itch management. However, keep an eye out for signs of fever or infection, which would both warrant a visit to the pediatrician.

Also, be aware that if your child has an allergy to bites or stings, they may experience swelling in their face, difficulty breathing, or difficulty swallowing and you’ll need to call 911.

But if you’re just dealing with a normal, itchy bug bite, your job is to reduce the itching and keep your child as comfortable as possible while the bite heals. We have a few tips to help you do exactly that!

1) Clean The Area

Before anything else, clean the bite area with gentle soap and water. If you don’t have access to water, no worries — clean their skin with micellar water, like Mustela’s No Rinse Cleansing Water (which is easy to carry in your purse or diaper bag!).

2) Calm The Itch

Bug bites can be very frustrating and itchy for your baby. There are a few different ways to reduce the itch and help your little one relax.

To reduce itching from the outside, apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream. To address itching and pain from the inside, give your little one an oral antihistamine or acetaminophen. Just be sure to talk to your pediatrician about dosage first.

Another way to soothe your baby’s itchy skin is by applying Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream. This fragrance-free, hypoallergenic ointment repairs irritated skin and soothes discomfort.

mom treating bug bites on baby with mustela products

Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream is safe for the whole family, even your newborn! Keep this versatile cream handy because you can use it on bug bites as well as scratches, scrapes, traces of chickenpox, and redness in the diaper area.

Finally, reduce itchiness naturally by applying a cool washcloth or ice cube wrapped in a towel to the bug bite.

3) Prevent Scratching

Scratching a bug bite only serves to make the itch worse and potentially break the skin or pop the blister, making it susceptible to infection. But keeping your baby from scratching an itchy bug bite is easier said than done!

Do your best by keeping your little one’s fingernails trimmed short and putting mittens or socks on their hands. If they do scratch a bug bite and open it, clean it and apply a bandaid.

The same goes for ant bite blisters. Don’t intentionally pop the blister, but if your baby happens to do so, clean the area and cover it with a bandage.

4) Get Rid Of Fleas

If you’re treating flea bites, one of the most important things to do is get rid of the fleas themselves. And this is a job for the bug-fighting professionals.

Before you call in the troops, figure out where the fleas are. They might be hiding out in your home, on your pet (in which case, they’re probably in your home as well), or in the doghouse.

If your home is not the culprit, think about where your baby could have come into contact with fleas and do what you need to do to keep them away.

Enjoying The Great Outdoors

baby and dog playing in the grass

In the end, dealing with bug bites on your baby is all about preventing them before they ever happen and managing the itchiness when one breaks through your defenses.

To soothe skin when the bugs do bite your little one, apply Mustela’s Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream. And remember to use fragrance-free skin care products at bath time, like Mustela’s Soothing Cleansing Gel.

With these products and the tips in this article, your family can enjoy the great outdoors worry-free!