Rashes in Children

The vast majority of rashes in children are not serious. Common causes include heat, irritation caused by dampness, contagious infectious diseases like chicken pox, and allergic reactions to drugs, other ingested substances, or environmental toxins.

Many newborns develop red splotches on their skin within the first five days, but these disappear within a day or two. Older babies also commonly develop a rash similar to acne on the face and neck at one to three months of age. The rash may come and go and worsen with crying or heat. It may be related to hormonal changes in the infant and is nothing to worry about. It, too, will disappear on its own. Another common skin complaint in infants is cradle cap, which typically appears on the scalp but which may spread to other areas.

When to Call Your Doctor about Rashes

Call your doctor in the following situations:

  • If a rash does not clear up with home treatment
  • If it involves extensive areas of skin or unusual areas like the eyes or genitals
  • If itching is severe or persistent
  • If it appears to be infected (red, swollen, sensitive to touch
  • If it occurs after a bee sting or insect bite or appears to be the result of a particular medication
  • If other symptoms occur, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, or fever

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com

Published: 15 Jun 2010

Last Modified: 20 Feb 2015