Rashes in children

shutterstock_102432955Rashes in children are a common occurrence and are generally nothing to worry about. As a family friendly practice, we have huge experience with the kind of rashes that babies, children and teenagers get. We also have the experience, compassion and expertise needed to offer our diagnosis and treatment in a way that does not distress younger children, or cause embarrassment to teens.

Most children’s rashes are nothing serious, but we are always happy to help, even if it is just to confirm this. We would far rather see a child who does not require any specialist treatment, than miss one who does.

Rashes and babies

Babies are especially prone to rashes, and there are several common rashes that can occur during the first few weeks of life as your baby’s skin adapts to its new environment. Rashes in babies can be quite distressing for new mothers, but they are very common and rarely a cause for concern.

  • Around half of newborn babies will develop a rash called milia on their face. This is just a blockage of their pores that will clear naturally after a few weeks. Newborn babies are also prone to erythema toxicum, which causes red blotches, but again this will clear naturally very quickly.
  • Acne may normally be associated with teenagers, however babies can also develop the condition, leading to small red spots on the baby’s face. Acne that develops later, beyond three months, may require medical treatment.
  • Another common rash in babies is nappy rash, which is a reaction of skin in contact with urine or faeces. This can easily be cured by increasing the regularity of nappy changes and using a barrier cream. Babies can also suffer from heat rashes and prickly heat if they are wrapped up too tightly or wear too many layers of clothing.

Children’s rashes

As they grow, children will become susceptible to a wide variety of different rashes that are common in childhood, but usually disappear by the time they emerge from puberty and are far less prevalent in the adult population. These include:

  • Keratosis pilaris – this rash on the upper arms and upper thighs causes children’s skin to become rough like permanent goose pimples.
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease – a mild viral rash on the hands and feet that does not itch
  • Molluscum contagiosum – a viral rash that causes clusters of raise red spots on the skin in pre-school children.
  • Ringworm – a fungal rash that causes ring-like rashes on the skin
  • Scabies – a highly infectious rash that is caused by mites that bore into the skin leaving an itchy rash.
  • Hives – an allergic rash that is raised, red and itchy and only occurs in response to certain stimuli.
  • Pityriasis rosea – a common condition in older children that causes a patchy red, scaly rash.

While most of these are no cause for concern, and can be treated easily with over the counter products or medications such as antibiotics prescribed by your dermatologist, it is always worth getting a rash checked out, as it could be a sign of something much more serious.



“Diseases such as meningitis and measles both display a rash as one of their symptoms and need urgent medical care to avoid serious complications and consequences. Remember, if you can press a glass against a rash and it does not fade, it could be meningitis and you should seek immediate medical attention.”