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Bee careful Betsy!

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Betsy's 'Thank you' footprint bee she made for the A&E staff

I hate Bees!

I’ve always hated them (and wasps and all other creepy crawlies,) but I never passed on that fear to my charges when working as a professional nanny in London.  

It’s a rule I’ve always stuck to; ‘Don’t pass on your fears to children.’  

I think I broke that rule last Monday when I screamed at my nine month old daughter when she picked up a bumble bee and put it in her mouth while having a wonderful time in her paddling pool.  

 You know how people say accidents seem to happen in slow motion?  They really do!  I leapt towards her, put my finger in her mouth and scooped the bee out from the back of her throat.  

Too late.  

It had already stung and she was screaming- partly through pain, partly because mummy was screaming.  


My training as a nursery nurse all flew out of my head and all I was thinking was ‘She’s not going to be able to breathe in a minute if she’s been stung in the throat.’  

I picked her up, ran into the house (greeted by hubby who had twisted his ankle in a race to get to us after hearing the screams) and then I fell over with her, (wet feet on tiled floor) hurting my leg, and my back, but thankfully not her.  I’ll mention here that I’m 6 months pregnant so you can imagine poor hubby’s reaction at this point.  

Hysterical pregnant wife, just fell over in the kitchen with hysterical baby.  


After rambling through hysterical noises what had happened, I screamed instructions ‘towel!’ (she was soaked) ‘nappy’ (I was planning on going straight to A&E) ‘Phone (I was calling 999 as she had been stung in the mouth and it was swelling quickly.)  

‘Stay where you are’ said the wonderful, calm man on the phone, ‘we have an ambulance on it’s way, it’ll be there very shortly.’  

I popped a very upset and swelling quickly Betsy on the floor on her back tilting her head back (which of course she hated- she just wanted cuddles) so that I could keep her airway open.  

I stayed on the phone to the man (I wish I knew his name) and tried my best to stop sobbing- telling Betsy she was going to be fine, it would all be O.K.  

Besty looked so frightened and in pain, and I felt so useless. Hubby went outside to greet the paramedics who were amazing and came within 5 minutes.  

Betsy at this point was sobbing and her mouth and tongue were enormous. I kept thinking, ‘she’s going to stop breathing’ and was trying to keep calm, which was almost impossible in the circumstances!  

The paramedics checked her over, they were so good with her. So gentle and kind and unthreatening to a teeny girl lying on the floor. Luckily the reaction was mild- it was just bad as it was in her mouth. However, after the checks they said she would need to go to hospital, (but she was going to be fine.) 

We went by ambulance while hubby, (who had packed a bag ready- what a gem,) followed in the car.  

On the way they monitored her and only then did I realise I was hurt too! Nothing major, just bruising all up my legs and back and some scrapes, but the paramedic checked me over too.
Betsy was crying, she was in shock and pain, but the paramedics were fantastic, making her glove balloons and pulling faces. She tried her best to smile but her lip and tongue were so swollen she just couldn’t.  

We arrived at A&E greeted by wonderful doctors and nurses who were simply amazing. We are so lucky to have a wonderful NHS service, and Stafford hospital, despite it’s recent awful scandals, was top class.  

The staff on both A&E and Paediatrics were simply amazing. Betsy actually began to enjoy herself once the swelling started to go down. She loved the attention and the monitors making their bleep noises.
We were finally discharged after a few hours observation and the swelling had gone down, and returned home where she went to bed (under my eagle eye watching,) and I broke down.
I couldn’t stop crying (the pregnancy hormones didn’t help matters) and I kept thinking we could have lost her. I know you shouldn’t think like that, but it could have been so much worse. 

feeder cup 

I’m happy to say Betsy has made a full recovery. She’s still a little sore in the mouth, and bruised, but she’s not looking like a monster now and is babbling away again and eating.  

We’ve braved the garden again, but I must say it’s made me incredibly nervous now, and I’m super jumpy when the bumble bees fly close by.
I’m going to try my best not to put my fear onto Betsy, but it’s going to take everything I have now after this awful experience.  

My little Betsy bee-eater is fine, and she was very lucky to only have a mild reaction to the sting, but I wanted to write our story to make other parents and carers aware of what to do incase a child in their care gets stung.
So here are my top tips to first aid regarding a sting…..  

Seek emergency medical treatment (call an ambulance) immediately after being stung, if you see any of the following symptoms:  

*swelling or itching anywhere else on the body  




*fast heart rate  


*difficulty swallowing  

*swollen face or mouth
These symptoms could mean a generalised allergic reaction. This can be fatal.  

What to do while waiting for help:  

*Lay the child on their back, tilting the head to keep the airway open until help arrives. Stay with them at all times and check they are breathing.  

*If it’s a baby- put your hand gently on the forehead to keep them in position.  

*Keep them calm  

Non allergic reaction treatment  

If you or a child have been stung by an insect and there is a sting left on the skin, remove it as soon as possible.  

Do this by scraping it off using a hard blunt surface, like the edge of a credit card.  

*Don’t try to pinch the sting out using your fingers or tweezers as this risks spreading venom.  

*If a child has been stung, a responsible adult should remove the sting.  Bee stings have a venomous (poisonous) sac, so take care not to puncture it as you remove the sting.  

To treat insect stings:  

*Wash the area with soap and water.  

*Put a cold flannel or ice pack on the area.  

*Raise the part of the body that has been stung to prevent swelling.  

*Use a spray or cream containing local anaesthetic or antihistamine on the affected area to help prevent itching and swelling.  

*Take painkillers such as paracetamol (if the sting is very painful). (Calpol or child nurofen)  

*Don’t scratch the area, as it may become infected.  

Ask your GP for advice if any redness or itching is still there after 48 hours.
I hope this information helps and hasn’t scared you into fun in the sun! I’m only glad I had my training behind me to know what to do, and now you know what to do too.  

We can’t wrap our children in cotton wool, but it helps to know what to do if accidents happen!


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