Remember the dangers are mainly in the three “F”s: flowers, food and fluids!
Young children should be supervised out of doors for all sorts of reasons. You can help them avoid danger as well as teach them how to live safely with nature. Children who understand the natural world can one day share skills with their own children. Quiz your children about wasp sting prevention in the same way as you check understanding of safety principles before you allow them independence in the kitchen or bathroom.
Wasp stings involving children mostly happen in the garden while playing or eating. Every few days from April to July check for signs of a wasp nest because of the danger of a ball or child disturbing it by accident. There is more information about this on the “Recognition of wasps”, “Gardening and DIY” pages. Ban outside play if you find a nest until it has been removed by experts.
Having decided there are no wasp nests in your own garden, there are still likely to be wasps visiting from nearby wild areas or other gardens. Wasps like nectar so be cautious about play near flowers. Wear shoes for running over grass where there are low growing flowers like clover to reduce risk of a wasp sting.
Food remains on clothes, hands and face attract wasps. Eating indoors is the safest way to avoid stings in the mouth. Eating lollies, ice creams and other sweet foods outside on hot days is high risk. Playing near ripe fruit bushes and trees, rotten fruit, compost and food waste is very dangerous. There are often wasps visiting rubbish bins in streets, parks and campsites so don’t let young children use them unsupervised.
Never drink from a can outdoors. A bottle is safer if you put the lid back on between mouthfuls. Wasps might take an interest in the straw of a small juice carton but they cannot get inside – so this is the safest drink for outdoors. Wasps floating in a paddling pool or outdoor swimming pool may still be alive so use something like a kitchen sieve to remove all debris before children play in the water.