Baby rash in a child before 2 years: what is this, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Rash – child under 2 years; Baby rash; Milestones; Prickly heat

Rash is a skin disease, common in children under two years of age. It is usually harmless and is usually caused by an infection or skin irritation.. It may appear as red or raised bumps on the skin., which can cause itching. Sometimes it may be accompanied by a fever, itching or pain. This could be a sign of a more serious illness., therefore it is important, to have your child examined by a doctor, if you are concerned.

Symptoms of baby rash

Most newborn baby rashes are harmless and go away on their own..

The most common skin problem in babies is diaper rash.. Diaper rash is skin irritation, caused by humidity, urine or faeces. Most children, who wear diapers, diaper rash occurs.

Other skin conditions can also cause a rash. Most of the time they are not serious., unless accompanied by other symptoms.

Causes of a rash in a child

Reasons may include:

  • Intertrigo (rash in diaper area) is a skin irritation, caused by prolonged moisture and skin contact with urine and feces.
  • Yeast diaper rash is caused by a type of yeast, called candida, which also cause thrush in the mouth. The rash looks different, than a normal diaper rash. She is very red, and there are usually small red bumps on the outer edges of the rash. This rash requires medical treatment.
  • Heat rash or prickly heat is caused by clogged pores, leading to sweat glands. It is most common in very young children., but can occur at any age. More common in hot and humid weather. Sweat lingers in the skin and forms small red bumps or sometimes small blisters .
  • Toxic erythema can cause flat red spots (usually with a white pimple in the middle), which occurs in about half of all children. This rash rarely appears after 5 days of age and most often disappears after 7-14 days. Nothing to worry about.
  • Baby acne is caused by exposure to mother's hormones. Red bumps can be seen on the face of a newborn, sometimes with white dots in the center. Acne most often occurs between the ages of 2 to 4 weeks, but may appear before 4 months after birth and can last from 12 to 18 months.
  • "Lullaby Dermatitis" (seborrheic dermatitis) causes fatty, flaky, crusty patches on the scalp, which appear in the first 3 month of a child's life. Most of the time it goes away on its own., but in some cases medication may be required.
  • Eczema is a skin condition, in which the skin is dry, scaly, red (or darker, than normal skin color) and itching. When it goes on for a long time, patches thicken. It is often associated with asthma and allergies, although it can often occur without both. Eczema is often inherited.
  • Urticaria are red spots, which are produced in the body. For Example, if you draw a circle, to mark one of the scars, after a few hours there will be no scar in this circle, but there will be scars on other parts of the body. They differ in size and shape. Urticaria can last for several weeks. Reason unclear.

Treatment of rashes in children at home


Keep your skin dry. Change wet diapers as often as possible. Let your baby's skin air dry., as long as possible. Cloth diapers should be washed in mild soap and rinsed well.. Avoid wearing artificial fabrics. Avoid annoying wipes (especially alcohol-containing) when cleaning a baby.

Ointments or creams can reduce friction and protect your baby's skin from irritation.. Powders, such as cornstarch or talc, should be used with caution, as they can cause lung damage if inhaled by a child.

If your baby has a yeast diaper rash , the health care provider will prescribe a cream to treat her.

Sweating and other rashes on the child's skin

Heat rash or prickly heat is best treated by placing the child in a cooler, less humid environment..

Powders are unlikely to help in the treatment of prickly heat, and should be kept out of the reach of children., to prevent accidental inhalation. Avoid ointments and creams, because they warm the skin and block pores.

Toxic erythema is normal in newborns and resolves on its own after a few days.. You don't have to do anything for it.

White or clear milia/miliaria will disappear on their own. You don't have to do anything for it.

In case of hives, talk to your doctor, to try to find a reason. Some types of hives require prescription medication. Antihistamines may help stop itching.

Baby acne

Regular washing is everything, what is needed to treat childhood acne in most cases. Use plain water or mild baby soap and bathe your baby only once every 2-3 days. Avoid acne medications, used by teenagers and adults.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Wash your hair or scalp with water or a mild baby shampoo. Use a brush, to remove dry skin flakes. If they can't be easily removed, apply oil on the scalp, to soften her. Seborrheic dermatitis usually disappears by 18 months. If it does not go away or if it is resistant to treatment, consult your doctor.


For skin problems, caused by eczema , The key to reducing rashes is reducing scratching and moisturizing the skin..

  • Cut your child's nails in time and think about, to put soft gloves on the child at night, to minimize scratches.
  • Drying soaps and everything should be avoided., what annoyed you in the past (including food).
  • Apply moisturizer or ointment immediately after bath, to avoid drying out your baby's skin.
  • Hot or long baths or bubble baths can dry out the skin more., and should be avoided.
  • Loose cotton clothing will help absorb sweat.
  • Talk to your doctor, if these measures do not help control eczema (your child may need medication, prescription) or if the skin begins to appear infected.

While most children with eczema outgrow it, Many people have sensitive skin as they get older..

When to Call a Health Care Professional for a Baby Rash

Call your child's doctor, if your child has:

  • Fever or other unexplained symptoms, associated with rash.
  • Any areas, that look wet, oozing or red, what is a sign of infection
  • Rash, that extends beyond the diaper area
  • Rash, which increases in the folds of the skin
  • Rash, patches or discoloration of the skin and younger age 3 months
  • Blisters
  • No improvement after 3 days of home treatment
  • Significant scratches on the child's skin

What to Expect When Visiting a Doctor

The doctor will conduct a physical examination. The child's skin is carefully examined, to determine the extent and type of rash. Bring a list of all products, used on baby's skin.

You may be asked the following questions:

  • When the rash appeared?
  • Symptoms started at birth? Did they occur after the temperature dropped?
  • Rash associated with skin damage, bathing or exposure to sunlight or cold?
  • What does the rash look like?
  • Where does the rash appear on the body?? Has it spread to other areas??
  • What other symptoms are also present?
  • What soap and detergent do you use??
  • Do you put anything on your skin (Creams, Lotions, oils, perfume)?
  • Is your child taking any medication? How long did the child take them?
  • Has your child eaten any new foods recently??
  • Has your child been in contact with grass/weeds/trees recently??
  • Has your child been sick recently??
  • Do you have skin problems in your family?? Does your child or any of your family members have allergies?

Tests are rarely required, but may include the following:

  • Allergy skin tests
  • Blood studies (eg, general blood analysis, differential blood test )
  • Microscopic examination of a sample of affected skin

Depending on the cause of the rash, antihistamines may be recommended to reduce itching.. Antibiotics may be prescribed, if there is a bacterial infection.

A healthcare professional may prescribe diaper rash cream., caused by yeast. If the rash is severe and not caused by yeast, corticosteroid cream may be recommended.

For eczema, a doctor may prescribe ointments or cortisone medications to reduce inflammation..

Used sources and literature

DiBiagio JR, Lloyd CM. Dermatology. In: Kleinman K, Mcdaniel L, Molloy M, eds. The Harriet Lane Handbook. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 8.

Gehris RP. Dermatology. In: Kids BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis’ Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 8.

Valeyrie-Allanore L, Obeid G, Revuz J. Drug reactions. In: Bolognia JL, Schaffer JV, Cerroni L, eds. Dermatology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Limited; 2018:chap 21.

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