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Rashes are very common in childhood. They are often due to things like allergies, a self-resolving virus, or "baby eczema," for example, but rarely can be caused by more dangerous infections or blood problems. Because there are many causes of rashes in children, only a few common rashes will be explained here. Call the doctor's office if you have other questions about your child's rash, and come to the doctors office if…

  • The rash looks like "pinpoint" red spots that to not go away when you press on them.
  • Your child is acting very sleepy or difficult to arouse.
  • Your child's skin easily comes off when you lightly rub it.


Hives look like a raised red rash that is very itchy. Hives are an allergic reaction. Most first-time cases of hives will self-resolve, but you should still tell your pediatrician if your child got hives after a known trigger (like a new food or a bug bite). If your child has hives and is having difficulty breathing, take them to the Emergency Department immediately and use his or her EpiPen if she or he has one.

Contact Dermatitis

This rash is red, itchy, and caused by an allergic reaction. The location of the rash will be wherever the allergen was. For instance, if your child has a new bracelet, the rash will be around the wrist where the bracelet touched the skin. Other common allergens that cause this rash include poison ivy, new lotions, and new soaps. To help relieve this itchy rash, avoid contact with the allergen and apply petroleum jelly like Vaseline on the rash. Oatmeal baths can also be helpful.


This is a dry, itchy, red, sometimes scaly rash. Your child may be more likely to get eczema if they have allergies and asthma. It is common in babies and children. Avoid irritants by using mild, non-perfumed soaps and lotions and avoiding long, hot showers or baths. Apply a thick cream like Eucerin or Cetaphil or a petroleum jelly like Vaseline immediately after a bath or shower. Use these twice daily or more often if needed. Come to the doctor's office if this isn't working for more medication options.

Cradle Cap

This is an oily-looking, crusty rash that babies often get on the top of their heads. It can look like they have very bad dandruff. This is a very common rash, and is usually easily treated with mild, non-medicated baby shampoos. If this doesn't work, come in to the doctor's office to get a different, more powerful medication.


This is a rash that is red on the outsides and clear in the middle, so it looks like a "ring", though it can be very curvy and probably does not look like a perfect circle. Athletes like wrestlers can get it from contact with other athletes or infected equipment. This rash is caused by a fungus, so you need to come to the doctor's office to get medicine to treat it.

See the separate link for diaper rash.