How to Help a Child With a Marine Life Sting

One Methods:Prevention

Marine-life stings can be dangerous and even deadly, especially to children or infants. Here's what to do if you end up in this situation.


  1. Image titled Help a Child With a Marine Life Sting Step 1
    Look for possible marks on the skin, pain, swelling of the skin, stingers, redness, burning, bleeding near the stung area, or possible allergic reactions.
  2. Image titled Help a Child With a Marine Life Sting Step 2
    Reassure the child or infant that you are going to help. Ask them if they understand; this is a good indicator to see if they are capable of speaking or nodding their head.
  3. Image titled Help a Child With a Marine Life Sting Step 3
    Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the child has any of the following symptoms: difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or uncontrolled bleeding, if the sting site develops swelling or discoloration, or other body-wide symptoms.
  4. Image titled Help a Child With a Marine Life Sting Step 4
    If you are capable of knowing where the sting came from: (If not, that is fine, wait for help instead.)
    • If a jellyfish, rinse the stung area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds. Seek medical attention immediately, as children are at risk of serious complications due to their small size.
    • If a stingray, soak area in hot water (not scalding) until pain fades away. (Try to soak for up to 30 minutes, but do not go over 90 minutes.)
    • If there is a stinger in the wound, use gloves to remove it or wipe it off with a towel.
  5. Image titled Help a Child With a Marine Life Sting Step 5
    If the pain has gone away, Clean and bandage the sting.


  • Avoid waters (mainly salt) that may contain marine-life such as: jellyfish, Portuguese Man-of-War, stingray, stonefish, scorpion fish, catfish, sea urchins, sea anemone, hydra, coral, cone shell, sharks, barracudas, and moray or electric eels.
  • Swim near a lifeguard.
  • Do not touch unfamiliar marine life. Even dead animals or severed tentacles may contain poisonous venom.
  • Observe posted signs that may indicate jellyfish or other hazardous marine-life.
  • While swimming in water, keep the child or infant near you at all time.


  • Calling 9-1-1 during or after an incident like this isn't necessary, but should really be required in case of serious damage caused from marine-life.
  • If you are in a public place, and there is a lifeguard, see him immediately after the sting is discovered.
  • Don't panic, this could happen to anyone.


  • Don't attempt to remove any stingers without protecting your own hands.
  • Do not let the child exercise or move around after being stung.
  • Keep the infected area below the level of the heart.
  • Don't give the child any medication unless told to do so by a health care provider.

Article Info

Categories: Stings Bites and Burns