What to Do About Baby Heat Rash

Team Peanut7 months ago4 min read

Heat rash on babies can look alarming, and the technical names for baby heat rash (miliaria and prickly heat) make it sound scary. But in most cases, it’s not too serious.

Newborn baby in bed

That brand new baby skin is just so delicate that it’s all too easy for it to be irritated by the outside world. And heat can be especially irritating to baby’s skin.

In this article 📝

  • Heat rash on baby skin
  • How do you treat baby heat rash?

Heat rash on baby skin

First things first:

What causes baby heat rash?

We worry so much about keeping babies warm, but it turns out it’s also pretty easy for them to get overheated.

Because babies are still working out how to use their built-in air-conditioning system, they haven’t got the whole regulating your own body temperature thing down yet. In particular, they’re not very good at sweating.

With that tiny body comes tiny sweat glands. This means that sweat cannot escape from under the skin as easily as it can for us full-grown humans.

Add to that those adorable little baby skin folds (aka sweat trappers), and the job of perspiring effectively becomes even tougher. They are literally not sweating the small stuff—and as it turns out, this can be a bit of an issue.

What does a heat rash look like on a baby?

Heat rash on babies usually occurs on the upper torso and neck. In most cases, heat rash on baby skin looks something like a sprinkling of tiny pink dots on that perfect plumpness. It can also look like little blisters.

But what your baby’s rash looks like depends on what type they have.

There are three types of heat rash that range in severity:

  • Miliaria crystalline: This one looks like tiny little flesh-colored blisters and is the least worrisome of the baby heat rash family.
  • Miliaria ruba: This is the most common baby heat rash, sometimes called “prickly heat,” and is the one that causes red bumps and itchiness.
  • Miliaria profunda: This one will cause the most discomfort for your baby and can produce a burning sensation. In this one, the sweat leaks into the skin and causes flesh-colored lesions. This version can get infected and leave your little one with heat exhaustion. If you see this one, it’s best to call your healthcare provider ASAP.

What does heat rash on babies feel like?

You may have heard baby heat rash referred to as prickly heat. The prickly heat babies experience is something like a tingling pins-and-needles feeling. This can be accompanied by itching that may look as if it’s driving your baby mad.

The itching and discomfort can lead to other issues, like trouble sleeping to just being downright cranky.

How long does it take for baby heat rash to go away?

The good news is that, with treatment, baby heat rash goes away quite quickly—as in, about 3 days. So hopefully your baby will be playing it cool in the not so distant future.

How do you treat baby heat rash?

Luckily, heat rash on babies can be treated quite easily and, in most cases, does not require medical attention.

Here’s how to treat baby heat rash and make sure you have the coolest kid in town:

  • Get your baby out of the heat. Shade is your friend if you’re outdoors.
  • Inside? Fans. Cloths. A nice cool bath. Anything to turn down the temperature.
  • A cold compress on those itchy bumps can do wonders.
  • Make sure they get enough liquid to cool them down from the inside.
  • Let them wear their birthday suit for a bit. It really helps to air out their skin.

It’s unlikely that baby heat rash will get infected, but if you notice the condition worsening, it’s a good idea to check in with your doc.

Good luck, mama!