Scabies in Children – Info, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

It is relatively rare for children to acquire scabies, primarily due to the fact that sexual contact is the most efficient mode by which the disease is transmitted. However, scabies may be transmitted via any form of physical contact, and many children do acquire this irritating affliction. This article will go over the most effective ways to eradicate scabies in children.

Symptoms of Scabies

Severe itching is the most common (and irritating) symptom of scabies. Additionally, multiple rashes will develop throughout the body.

The scabiei mites, which burrow under the skin, tend to gravitate toward crevices between the fingers, arms, and legs. The buttocks and torso are also commonly affected by scabiei mites. These areas will be especially itchy. Often, the burrowing “trails” of the scabiei mites will be noticeable. The itching may be worse after a bath, or at night.

Treating Scabies in Children

Permethrin, the primary treatment for scabies in adults, is also usually the first-line treatment of scabies in children. However, this medication is typically not recommended for infants under 2 months of age.

There is some controversy about permethrin as a scabies treatment (related article: Permethin – Behind the Controversy). In a recent report, the FDA concluded that it was likely a weak carcinogen (cancer-causing material). That being said, in the same report, the FDA also asserted that permethrin was safe in small doses.

5-10% Sulfur in Petrolatum

Some parents may be concerned about using permethrin on their children. If that’s the cases, there are alternatives available. 5-10% sulfur in petrolatum, in particular, is often used to treat scabies in infants, and it can be effective as a treatment for scabies in children as well. So, parents who are concerned about permethrin may want to ask their family doctor about alternatives, such as 5-10% sulfur in petrolatum.


Ivermectin is another treatment for scabies, which is administered orally, that can be very effective. In some cases, all scabiei mites can be eradicated after only one dose of ivermectin. However, this medication is not recommended for children under six, so it’s not an option for all children.

Important Notes

  • Aside from sexual contact, scabies can be transmitted quite easily in crowded living conditions.
  • It’s generally recommended that all close relatives of the infected person receive treatment.


Scabies in children can usually be treated fairly easily. Parents and siblings should be treated for the disease as well, as it can spread easily within a household. Moreover, after an infestation, it’s important that the household is eradicated of scabiei mites.

Scabies in ChildrenRelated Reading: Scabies and Pregnancy, Disinfecting the Household After an Infestation, Natural Scabies Treatment.

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