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Should You Be Worried About Baby Rash?

2 years ago7 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

It’s easy to be alarmed if you suddenly notice a rash on your baby’s otherwise perfect, smooshable skin, but fear not, mama. There are many different types of baby rash, and more often than not, they are nothing to worry about and easy to treat. Phew.

Baby Rash

So what types of common baby rashes should you look out for? Here’s the lowdown on all things baby rashes.

In this article: 📝

  • What causes baby rash?
  • What kind of rash does my baby have?
  • When should I be concerned about my baby’s rash?
  • What is a viral rash in babies?
  • Baby rash treatments

What causes baby rash?

Your baby’s skin is so new and delicate, a rash doesn’t necessarily mean illness. Common causes of baby rashes can be an irritation from fragranced soaps or detergents, heat, friction, dampness, or allergies, as well as a range of fungal, bacterial, and viral infections.

What kind of rash does my baby have?

There are many kinds of baby rashes with many different causes, but there are a few types of baby rashes that are most common. These types of baby rash are unlikely to be accompanied by any other sign of illness, so you can relax, take a minute, and help keep your bub comfortable until it passes.

Baby Acne

Yes, that’s right. Baby acne is a real thing. Affecting around 20% of newborns, baby acne will often appear around 2 weeks of age and, at this age, isn’t anything to worry about. It’s not uncomfortable and doesn’t require any treatment.

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap appears on the scalp, and sometimes behind the ears, as yellowish, greasy, flaky areas of skin. No treatment is required, but you can gently rub away the flakes if you want.

Diaper Rash

If your baby’s diaper area is red and it causes discomfort to your little one during diaper changes, this is a typical diaper rash. Dampness from a baby’s diaper can irritate the skin, and some babies with very sensitive skin may even be irritated by fragrances or ingredients in baby wipes.

Drool Rash

The skin around the mouth, chin, neck, and chest might appear red, dry, and irritated thanks to excess drool while your gummy newborn is teething. This is teething rash - keep a bib handy to gently dry the skin as needed.


If you notice dry scaly patches of red skin, your little one might be suffering from baby eczema. Often found on the face, backs of the knees, or arms, sometimes there’s no specific cause of eczema. Your doctor will be able to diagnose if your baby’s rash is eczema and suggest a treatment.

Heat Rash

Ouch, many of us have probably had a heat rash before, so you may well recognize that itchy pink/red rash on your baby’s body. But is there a magic solution to treat baby heat rash? Read our guide!

When should I be concerned about my baby’s rash?

There are times when your baby’s rash might be cause for more concern. If your baby has a rash accompanied by a fever, their rash lasts for over a week, or the rash is spreading and causing discomfort, it may signal that there is an illness or underlying cause of the rash which should be diagnosed by your baby’s doctor.


When we think of dangerous baby rashes, many of us will automatically think of meningitis — the most serious of illnesses that can be accompanied by a rash. If your baby is showing the following signs, it is recommended you call emergency services or go to your nearest emergency department:

  • A red, non-blanching rash (a rash that doesn’t fade when pressed with a finger)
  • A stiff neck
  • A fever you can’t control
  • They’re bothered by light
  • They’re shaking uncontrollably
  • They have unusually cold hands and feet
  • They seem confused

Baby allergic rashes

If your baby has an allergic reaction, they may get an allergic rash, also sometimes known as hives. So what does an allergy rash look like on a baby? Hives often appear as red raised bumps on the skin, and can appear immediately after contact with an allergen, or sometimes hours later. If the allergic reaction is accompanied by any kind of respiratory distress, this may be a severe reaction called anaphylaxis and requires emergency medical treatment.

What is a viral rash in babies?

While meningitis or allergic rash is on the top end of the scale when it comes to potentially dangerous rashes, there is a whole range of baby rashes that can be accompanied by cold and flu symptoms, a loss of appetite, fever, and other signs of illness.

These are generally known as viral rashes, which are contagious and caused by some kind of virus. Your baby will probably have other symptoms making them unwell before the rash appears or while the rash is visible. These rashes may not be cause for immediate concern but will need medical advice and/or treatment.

Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease

A common virus among young children, a rash of blisters may occur on the hands, feet, and around and inside the mouth, with a fever and cold symptoms.

5th Disease

Also known as “slapped cheek” syndrome, 5th disease can cause bright red patches of rash on the cheeks of your little one, accompanied by a fever.


Uncommon, due to the widespread vaccination against measles. Your child may have cold and flu symptoms for a few days before a rash of flat, red spots may appear around their hairline.


A rash of itchy blisters may appear, usually first on the head and torso, accompanied by a fever. Chickenpox is also relatively uncommon these days due to routine vaccinations.


A virus that is most commonly seen in children under the age of 2, roseola often starts with a rash of small pink-colored dots on the belly, which then may spread to other body parts, along with a high fever and cold symptoms.

Baby rash treatments

Different types of rashes require different treatments, so there is no “one size fits all” approach to treating baby rashes.

Prevention can be the best way to lessen the risk of your baby developing rashes. Following these simple steps can help:

  • Change diapers frequently.
  • Using fragrance-free or sensitive laundry products and soaps and shampoos specifically designed for delicate baby skin.
  • Keep baby’s skin clean and dry.
  • Dress your baby appropriately for the weather.
  • Keep your baby away from others with contagious illnesses.

It can be difficult to know how to respond to your baby developing a rash, but more often than not, it’s not a cause for major worry. While this guide outlines some of the most common types of baby rash, there are other causes and types of rash that may need diagnosing and treatment. If ever you’re unsure about your baby’s rash, it’s best to speak with your doctor. Odds are, you’re not the first call they’ve had that day about baby skin rash!

👶 More from The 411:
What is a Stork Bite Birthmark on a Baby?
What to Do About Baby Heat Rash
Should You Worry About a Newborn Rash?
Baby Red Cheeks: What to Know
Smallpox vs. Chickenpox: What’s the Difference?
What Causes Ringworm in Babies?
What to Know About Baby Bed Bugs
What You Need to Know About Yeast Diaper Rash

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