As parents we want to protect our children, so imagine the horror you might feel when you think that a pest has been eating your child every night.
Bed bug infestations have been growing in numbers in the United States and have started reaching levels not seen in decades. How can you protect your baby? Find out below.
Bed bugs are very small little bugs that eat human blood, they like it dark, can fit and hide almost anywhere, and come out at night. They are very hard to kill because they can hide almost anywhere and can go a year without eating.
Bed bugs leave red or black stains on mattresses and bedding, this is your blood and their feces. It is also possible to visually see a bed bug, but you usually don't, not at first.
You may also notice small bite marks that may itch on yourself or your child after sleeping.
Finally if you're able and willing you can check behind baseboards where the carpet meets the wall.
The only sure fire way is a full house chemical or heat treatment, which is not baby friendly, and is very inconvenient. They can live in your walls, under your baseboards, under your carpet, and can be very hard to kill.
Controls are often a better option. You can buy plastic mattress bags to disallow the bugs from entering your mattress, or leaving if they are already there. There are also services that will heat your mattress and other bedding up to kill the bugs, which die at around 115 degrees.
The first thing you need to do is wash all bedding, on hot, with bleach, using the sanitize cycle on your washer if it has one. Also, vacuum the room, and continue to vacuum it as much as possible. All clothing in drawers and closets should also be washed, and consider storing clothing items you do not regularly use in plastic bags. If you have a steam cleaner, using it on hot on your carpet and furniture will also help kill them.
To protect your bed, after you've inspected over, under, and around, the bed frame entirely, you can put traps around the legs to prevent the bugs from crawling up. There are a variety of available traps, some people just use plastic cups. There are also sticky traps you can put around the bed legs that trap them as they climb.
Bed Bugs cannot abide freezing temperatures. If it is winter outside putting infected articles outside in the cold for a couple days will kill them. Two days at 0 degrees, or a week at 20 degrees.
Consider a product called diatomaceous earth. This is basically a dust of ground up ancient aquatic organisms. To us it is no different than corn starch, but to small creatures it is like thousands of tiny razor blades, if they come into contact with it they get cut up and die. It is entirely safe for mammals, it is used as an additive in pet foods and for livestock to kill worms even. Buy the kind for pets or for gardens and you're good to go. You only need to avoid breathing it in when spreading it as it can cause minor irritation. But it is just ground up rock, not a chemical at all.
To use this product spread it on the mattress under the sheet, between the mattress and the boxspring, on the carpet, especially near the bed. You can put some in drawers of dressers, in the carpet all around the perimeter near the baseboards, and if you have a spray duster and are willing to pop off your baseboards, you can dust inside of them.
You may need to reapply this occasionally, and it may not kill all your bedbugs, but it will hinder them, kill many, and hopefully stop them from reaching your bed.
Bed bugs and babies don't mix, and it is hard as parents when you are as afraid of the cure (pesticides) as you are of the problem. But the solutions mentioned here are entirely safe and even if they aren't as 100% as dousing your entire house with chemicals, they should be enough to protect your baby's crib.
DiSCLAIMER: The content of this site is offered as educational material for parents, not as medical advice. If you have a question about a specific condition or symptom your child has then you need to consult a medical professional.