Rashes are very common in children. Some are caused by allergies such as plants (poison ivy, for example), foods, chemicals and detergents, or jewelry. Other rashes can be caused by infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They can be localized to a specific area of the body or widespread. The spots can be raised or flat, red or other colors, itchy, round or not. They can often be associated with other symptoms and illnesses.

There are many medications that can treat rashes, given either by mouth or topically on the skin. Some medications can help relieve the symptoms of the rash while others can help address the root cause.

You should seek care for a rash if any of the following occur:

  • the rash spreads or worsens
  • it has purple spots or dots
  • it lasts longer than three days
  • there are open sores that may crust
  • is associated with other symptoms that are concerning

Common questions


What are the common causes of rashes in children?

Rashes in children can be caused by a variety of factors. Allergic reactions to plants like poison ivy, certain foods, chemicals, detergents, or jewelry are common triggers. Infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi can also lead to rashes. These rashes can vary in appearance and location, being either localized or widespread on the body.

When should I seek medical care for my child’s rash?

You should seek medical attention if the rash spreads or worsens, has purple spots or dots, lasts longer than three days, involves the mouth or eyes, or if there are open sores that may crust. Additionally, if the rash is associated with other concerning symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing, or lethargy, it's important to consult a healthcare provider promptly.

What treatments are available for rashes in children?

Treatment for rashes depends on their cause. Medications given orally or applied topically can be used. Some medications aim to relieve symptoms like itching and discomfort, while others target the underlying cause of the rash. It's important to follow a healthcare provider's advice for treatment, as they will choose the most appropriate medication based on the rash's cause.

What should I do if my child has a rash from bubble baths?

Bubble baths can dry out the skin and cause rashes, especially in children with sensitive skin. It's recommended to avoid bubble baths if your child develops rashes and instead use fun bath toys. For bathing, use mild, soap-free cleansers and apply moisturizers after the bath.

Can I prevent rashes in my child, and how?

While not all rashes can be prevented, you can reduce the risk by avoiding known allergens, using gentle skin care products, and maintaining good hygiene. For allergic rashes, try to identify and avoid the allergen. In the case of infection-related rashes, teaching your child proper hand washing and avoiding close contact with those who are ill can be helpful. Always ensure your child is up-to-date with vaccinations, as some protect against rash-causing diseases.

Ask Dr. Ali


Dr. Ali Alhassani and our team of pediatricians are ready to answer your questions about
and all the everyday questions you have about your child’s health.
Dr. Ali and our team are ready to answer your questions about
Ask about
*Requires account with Summer Health at $45/month

Explore related symptoms


Sometimes little systems get sluggish, but a few changes can get things moving.

Diaper rash

Diaper rash is a sign your baby's skin is a bit sensitive and needs a gentle touch.

Vomiting and diarrhea

Tummy troubles in kids might just be growing pains or a sign to slow down and rest.

Feeding issues

Introducing your baby to new foods opens up a world of flavors for their growing palate.

View all conditions