Spider Bite in Toddlers – Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

6 min read

Written by Smita Srivastava

Smita Srivastava

Spider bite in toddlers

Toddlers love to explore, touch or get close to things they are not supposed to. Insects and small creatures interest a toddler a lot. You are bound to see your toddler just sitting and watching insects like spiders or bugs move. What if one of these spiders were dangerous and bit your toddler? You should never ignore a spider bite in toddlers, whether the spider is poisonous or not.

You are bound to find spiders – the eight-legged creatures around your house or places you visit with your toddler. These spiders are mostly harmless and just go about doing their business. It can even be interesting to find a web in the sunlight and show it to your toddler. Unfortunately, itsy-bitsy spiders can be dangerous at times and can hurt your toddler.

In This Article

What Does the Spider Bite Look Like?

A typical spider bite will look just like any other bug bite – red, swollen, and sometimes an itchy or painful bump. Harmless spider bites can go unnoticed and your toddler might just scratch the area a few times and move on.

There are two spiders that are dangerous and can cause severe reactions in their bite victim. It is important to identify these bite marks at the earliest and consult a doctor immediately. The brown recluse and black widow spiders are among the most dangerous spiders and are very common in the U.S.

These two spiders can bite through the human skin and insert powerful toxins inside the body, which are venomous and become dangerous very quickly. In case of a bite from any of these spiders, you will notice two small dots at the sight of the bite. This is where the fangs broke the skin.

However, one may not notice such a small bite immediately. Especially if the bite is not on the hands or feet, which are mostly exposed. It may be hours before you notice the bite mark, after your toddler complains of pain in that area.

How to Identify a Poisonous Spider’s Bite?

How to identify a spider bite in toddlers

So, the next logical question is – how do you identify a spider bite if symptoms are going to show up only after a while and the bite might look like a regular bug bite?

The best way to identify a spider bite is to identify the spider. If your toddler is playing and suddenly cries out in pain, inspect the area immediately. Check their clothes, body, and even the surrounding area. If you notice a spider crawling away, then you can conclude it is a spider bite and visit the doctor immediately.

The next step is to identify the spider. If you identify it as a brown recluse or a black widow, you must rush your toddler to the emergency room immediately.

Are Spider Bites Serious?

Based on the research mentioned on  Researchgate, in most cases, spider bites are not serious. The effect on a person is very minimal. Very few will bite if your toddler goes and meddles with their web or their hideouts. Also, most venomous spiders’ fangs are too small to puncture human skin. 

As mentioned earlier, a brown recluse spider and a black widow are very poisonous and can attack humans.  American journal of clinical pathology has also reported on a brown recluse spider bite resulting in severe hemolysis and sepsis.

Spider Bite Symptoms in Toddlers

Spider bite symptoms in toddlers

Toddlers may not be verbal and cannot clearly explain what happened if a spider bit them. If your toddler is complaining, here are some spider bite symptoms to watch out for-

  • The area around the bite becomes red or starts swelling
  • The area around the bite gets itchy
  • They complain of pain around the bite area, within 2 to 8 hours
  • The joint starts hurting or becomes stiff
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • They develop a rash all over or around the bite
  • They develop a fever or have chills or body aches
  • They feel more tired than usual
  • Muscle cramps within 8 hours of the bite
  • Swelling around the mouth or face
  • Has trouble breathing, speaking, or swallowing
  • Tightening of chest, belly pain, or stiffness

Not all spider bites cause the above symptoms. The more severe symptoms like muscle stiffness or stomach cramps are from bites of poisonous spiders like the black widow. These spiders are not commonly found around houses, so don’t assume the worst when your toddler suffers from a spider bite.

[Read : How to care for your Feverish Toddler- A Guide]

How to Treat Spider Bites in Toddlers?

If you suspect a spider bite, try to spot the spider. If it looks venomous or different in color, please check with your doctor without any further delay. Here are some ways you can treat a spider bite until you meet your doctor-

  • Wash the bite area well with soap and water
  • Hold a wet cloth or an ice pack over the bite area to relieve the pain
  • Soak the bite area in sterile water for a few minutes. Repeat this thrice a day.

Ways to Prevent Spider Bites in Toddlers

black spider

Household spiders are very common. They are not dangerous and you can find them on many walls, anywhere you go. You won’t see the dangerous ones lurking around the house. You can keep those spiders away and prevent a bite.

Some ways to avoid a spider bite are-

  • Keep the house, garage, storage area, and attics clean and free of spider webs
  • Keep the firewood or other wood for furniture outside the house. Spiders could be hiding in these wooden pieces
  • If you are stepping out into the garden or exploring someplace, ensure your toddler is fully covered – full sleeves and a full pant
  • Always check their shoes and toys with deep spaces before they use them
  • Always use insect repellent when you take the toddlers outdoors. You never know where an insect might come from

When to Visit the Doctor?

When to visit the doctor

If you think a spider bit your toddler, you need to see a doctor immediately, if you notice the following:

  • Redness or swelling around the bite area
  • Joint stiffness or pain
  • Rashes around the bite area or all over the body
  • A sudden spike in temperature
  • Heart palpitations or muscle cramps
  • Pus oozes out of the bitten area

Spiders around the house may be harmless, but that does not mean you can let them breed. Keeping the house and other areas free of spider webs can reduce the risk of a spider bite in toddlers. Toddlers will explore everything, just keep a close watch and if you suspect a bite, stay calm and rush to a doctor immediately. It is always safer to rule out a poisonous bite than to wait for symptoms to show up.

[Read : Insect Bites: First Aid And Home Remedies]


1. What is Commonly Mistaken For a Spider Bite in Toddler?

A bug bite can be mistaken for a spider bite as they look very similar. Also, a wolf spider can be mistaken for a brown recluse spider. While a brown recluse spider bite is poisonous, a bite from a wolf spider is harmless.

2. Do Spider Bites Have Pus?

Not all spider bites but a hobo spider’s bite will cause blisters filled with pus. When these blisters drain, you will see pus coming out of the bite site.

3. Do All Spider Bites Leave Holes?

They leave two tiny holes, where the fangs break the skin barrier. The holes may not be visible to the naked eye. You will see it as two spots of blood.

4. Do Spider Bites Get Infected?

If the bite causes itching or rashes, scratching it can lead to an infection. It can also develop into an open wound that needs antibiotics to heal completely.

Read Also: Bites, Cuts And Scratches – First Aid Guide For Kids by Dr. Chetan Ginigeri

Smita Srivastava, Bachelors (BA) in Mass Media and Mass Communication from Delhi University
Masters (MA) in Mass Media and Mass Communication from Kurukshetra University

With a background in Mass media and journalism, Smita comes with rich and vast experience in content creation, curation, and editing. As a mom of a baby girl, she is an excellent candidate for writing and editing parenting and pregnancy content. The content she writes and edits is influenced by her own journey through pregnancy and motherhood. When not writing- She can be found curled up with a book. Or, bingeing on Netflix.Read more.

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