Don’t Panic: Identify and Treat These Common Childhood Skin Irritations

Don’t Panic: Identify and Treat These Common Childhood Skin Irritations

September 6, 2014 0 By Adam Kirby

Discovering a rash or skin irritation on your child can send you into a tailspin. You don’t recognize what it is or know where it could have come from. It could be anything from a mild irritation that will soon go away to an indication of something more serious. There are several common skin conditions and rashes in children. Most are easily recognized and treated. By educating yourself about the different skin irritations that might occur, you can be prepared for when you spot red, dry or raised skin on your little one.

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is common in newborns and is nothing to worry about. It looks a bit like a very bad case of dandruff and can show up as a red area on your baby’s scalp. There may be greasy yellow and scaly patches, which can become flaky and easily rub off. Cradle cap might cover the whole of your baby’s scalp and even occur on their face and neck, armpits and nose. When it occurs on other parts of their body, it’s called seborrhoeic eczema. Cradle cap is easy to treat at home, by washing your baby’s hair regularly to remove the scaly skin gently. The condition should disappear on its own, without you having to treat it any further. If the cradle cap looks red or swollen, you should take your baby to the doctor in case it’s infected.

Thanks to Jim Champion for the image


Eczema is also fairly common in babies and children. About 1 in 8 children suffers from eczema, in a range of severities. Eczema can cause dry, red, itchy or cracked skin. It often appears on the face, hands, elbows, neck and backs of the knees. There are a number of ways to treat and manage eczema, including using moisturizers and steroid creams. You may need to manage your baby’s diet, adjust their bathing routine and avoid triggers that will cause the eczema to flare up. One of the challenges of living with a baby or child with eczema is preventing them from scratching. Baby eczema clothing can help, by covering their hands and irritated parts of their body to stop damage to the skin. Eczema is usually a childhood condition, and your child will likely grow out of it by their teens.


If your child has hives, they may have small red or white raised patches. These patches are about 1-2cm wide and develop suddenly, causing itching and redness. Hives will go away on their own after a few days, but you can help to relieve the itch with a soothing lotion.

Heat Rash

Heat rash often occurs around your baby or child’s neck, armpits or diaper or underwear line. It appears as a bright red pimply rash when your child overheats in hot or humid weather. Although heat rash in itself isn’t serious, it is an indication that your child is too warm. You should find ways to cool them off, or they could become ill. Help them to cool down with a cool and airy environment, light clothes and even a tepid shower or bath.