Rashes (Children)

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on January 18, 2022

Rashes in young children can be upsetting, but they're common and often not serious unless there are other symptoms.

Call Doctor If:

Your child:

  • Is younger than 6 months
  • Has a fever along with a rash
  • Has a rash that oozes or appears red, swollen, or wet, which could be an infection
  • Has a rash that goes past the diaper area
  • Has a rash that is more serious in skin creases
  • Has a rash that doesn't get better after 2 days
  • Has a rash that peels, especially one on the palms or soles
  • Has flat, small red spots on the skin that don't fade if you press them
  • Looks unwell or is not feeding well
  • Has hives
  • Has bruises not due to an injury

1. Find the Cause

  • Try to figure out whether the rash is due to coming into contact with a common irritant such as poison ivy, chemicals, soaps, nickel jewelry, or a pet.
  • Could it be a diaper rash? Make sure you are changing the diapers frequently and applying protective diaper cream after cleaning the area. If this does not help, see your doctor.

2. Clean the Skin

  • Wash the rash with mild soap but don't scrub. Rinse with warm water.
  • Pat the skin dry, rather than rubbing it.
  • Don't cover the rash.

3. Treat Symptoms

  • Put a wet cloth on the rash to ease pain and itching.
  • Trim your child's fingernails to help prevent scratching.
  • Put soft gloves on your child at night to avoid scratching.

Show Sources


American Academy of Pediatrics: "Rash -- Localized and Cause Unknown."

The Nemours Foundation: "Rashes Instruction Sheet."

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