When your kid goes off to daycare, you’re likely to have a sense of security that they’ll come home safe and in one piece. What you might not count on is that they might bring some hitchhikers back with them. While lice is always a concern when children spend a lot of time near each other, bedbugs have recently had a resurgence and are cropping up in unlikely places, like daycare centers. Since naptime allows the bedbugs to feed (since their hosts are at rest), and clothing, bags, sleeping mats, and blankets can come in contact and bedbugs can migrate. Here are some tips and information to keep in mind when carting your kids to and from daycare to make sure you prevent bedbugs from setting up camp in your home.
Know What To Look For
Bedbug bites may not show up immediately, but they will resemble mosquito bites in size and shape. They’ll be red and itchy, but will often be in places mosquitoes don’t bite, like torso and back, face, neck, and hands. Bites might appear in a line pattern. The bedbugs themselves are fairly small, the size of an apple seed, and are going to be found on fabrics.
Check Before And After
It is crucial to check your kids clothing, skin, and all belongings for bedbugs. This will not only prevent bedbugs from entering your home, but if you happen to have them in your home, you won’t spread them to the daycare center. If you do find any live bedbugs, drop them in some isopropyl alcohol to kill them. Wash and dry any infested washable items on the hottest cycle. Temperatures at about 120 degrees will kill the bugs and eggs.
Bedbugs have not been shown to spread any diseases, but their bites could cause itching and irritation, just like mosquito bites. Wash bites and apply calamine lotion or a hydrocortisone cream to relive itching. A call to your pediatrician wouldn’t hurt, but is not necessary.
Take Steps For Prevention
The more stuff your child brings back and forth, the more places for bedbugs to hide. This applies especially to stuffed animals, plush toys, and blankets. Try to send your child with as little as possible and keep all items like these at home. If there are cribs or beds your child may nap in, check to see if care provider is using bedbug encasements for the mattresses, which keeps existing bugs in and prevents any mattress infestations. If not, ask if you can bring your own. Also check if there are cubbies or other separate areas for each child’s belongings, which will give another level of separation and will reduce the likelihood of hitchhiking bedbugs. If not, send a large plastic bag or trash bag to keep all of your child’s belongings inside.
If you end up with a bedbug infestation in your home, read our article about how to get rid of bed bugs yourself. If you’re not sure if you have bed bugs in your home or not, read our article about how to do your own bed bug inspection.
Making everyone aware of bedbugs can help all families and daycare centers on alert for bedbugs, keeping infestations at bay. Ask the care provider to pass out an informational flier detailing what to look for and how to get rid of them. Suggest ways to prevent spread of bedbugs (and other pests like lice) to keep everyone free of pests.