10 Common Childhood Rashes

childhood rashes

What’s that rash?  You are caring for a child, and you notice her itching what looks to be a rash.  For the most part, rashes are very common in children and are usually nothing to be too concerned about.  Rashes can be caused by a number of different reasons.  Check out 10 common childhood rashes so that you can be informed the next time you notice a rash.


  1. Diaper rash is very common in infants.  Every child will probably experience diaper rash at some point before he is out of diapers.  The rash can be caused by chafing, contact with urine or stool for an extended period of time, and sometimes the material the diaper is made out of.  Treatment should be to change the baby as soon as you can after they have a bowel movement or urinate.  Gently clean the infected area and apply a thick coating of diaper cream, which will protect the skin in the future. Soaking the area can also help.  Try to get as much air to the area as possible.  This rash will only appear in the diaper area.
  2. Heat rashes are common ailments for children.  Heat rash is most often caused by the skin getting too warm.  The sweat gets trapped under the skin and causes irritation, which is why the skin turns red and itchy bumps occur in the area of irritation.  These areas are usually where the skin is the warmest and typically include the under arms, inner thighs, back, and arm pits.  The rash will usually go away once the skin has cooled down.  Cooling the skin with a cold shower and staying in an air conditioned environment for a day or two should clear up the condition.
  3. Hives are a common allergic reaction in children and also appear as a rash.  Hives are red bumps or welts on the skin that are very itchy.  This rash is caused by a reaction to a certain medicine, food, or insect bite.  If your child gets hives make sure there is no swelling of the face area.  If there is you need to seek medical attention. Hives is the most common rash where medical attention is necessary to figure out the cause and determine a course of action for a cure.
  4. Pityriasis Rosea is common in young adults.  This rash starts out with a small pink rash on the chest or back that is ¾ of an inch to 2 inches wide.  The experts call this a “herald patch” because it warns you of what is to come.  In the next week or two the child will break out in hundreds of small pink rashes all over the arms, legs and body, but rarely on the face.  The sores will be shaped kind of like a Christmas tree.  This rash will run its course in 3 to 9 weeks and leave no scarring on the skin.  Exposure to the sun could speed up the healing.
  5. Warts are considered to be a rash as well.  Surprisingly warts are considered a type of rash because children can get groups or clumps of them.  They usually appear on their feet and hands, and they can be contagious if touched, but are not contagious any other way.  Most doctors won’t remove lots of warts off of children.  According to Dr. Sheila Friedlander, a leading dermatologist, children can be treated at home by using a pumice stone to rough up the warts after a bath and then applying an over-the-counter wart remedy.  She also suggests trying freezing treatments, which can now be purchased over-the-counter and can be helpful in getting rid of the warts.
  6. Urushiol or poison ivy is a common rash in children.  This rash will have red, itchy bumps and blisters.  Treat with cool compresses and calamine lotion.  If the case appears to be very severe you may need to seek medical attention for a prescription antihistamine.  Poison ivy is a plant with three shiny reddish green leaves.  If the child has been in the woods a day or two prior to the rash developing it could be poison ivy.
  7. Irritant contact dermatitis can be red, swollen, or itchy.  These kinds of rashes usually develop when the skin comes into contact with an allergen like a new detergent or soap.   Avoid the irritant in the future.  If a severe reaction occurs, or if big blisters are present, seek medical attention.
  8. Eczema is usually located behind the knees and elbows.  Infants as young as 1 month old can have eczema, and in addition to the knees and elbows the rash can also appear on the face.  This condition is often itchy and can make an infant very cranky.  For treatment use an over-the-counter cream that’s recommended by your physician. 
  9. Phytophotodermatitis is a rash that has often been confused with child abuse.  This rash usually occurs in the summer and is caused by a chemical reaction to certain enzymes that are found in citrus fruits or vegetables such as parsnips.  The rash is caused when an infant or child gets the juice on their skin and is then exposed to the sun.  For example, mom is squeezing limes into a drink while on the beach and the child goes running by and she grabs him.  Now the lime juice is on the child’s skin and he’s at the beach exposed to the sun.  The rash often appears in the shape of a hand print because of this transfer method, which is why it is often confused with child abuse.
  10. Roseola is probably the most common childhood rash.   Roseola is a type of viral infection, and will cause children to have a sudden high fever lasting 3 to 7 days.  When the fever goes away a red rash will develop starting on the tummy and then spreading to the rest of the body.  Children get this from being exposed to another child that has it.  Most kids contract this prior to entering kindergarten.  Room temperature sponge baths and mild fever reducing medicine should be all the treatment that is needed. 


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6 thoughts on “10 Common Childhood Rashes

  1. My daughter had eczema for years growing up. We tried everything to get rid of it with no luck – we saw doctors, specialists, etc and tried every cream and medicine you could think of – and then one day it just disappeared and she hasn’t had any issues with it since. Very odd!

  2. my son contracted roseola when he was in preschool… i had never heard of it before and i freaked out!! luckily it ran its course in about 4 days, but i was a nervous wreck those 4 days! i’m glad you’re bringing some awareness to these rashes!!

  3. I’ve never heard of some of these before! Raising kids can be a scary thing when you think of all the different rashes and illnesses, etc that you’re up against! LOL!

  4. I am hyper-sensitive to poison ivy. I feel like I can pretty much just look at it and start breaking out. My husband, on the other hand, can pretty much bathe in the stuff without so much as a red dot appearing. Luckily, our kids seem to take after him!

  5. When I was a little girl my first siting of a wary was on my grandma’s hand – before that I had only seen them on cartoon witches – and I thought she was a witch! Haha!

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