Body rashes in children

Skin or body rashes in children can encompass a wide range of conditions. Rashes can be simple, like a diaper rash or heat rash, or more complicated, like a viral or bacterial infection.

With a little bit of knowledge, you will be able to recognise certain types of rashes so you can choose to treat the problem on your own or take your child in to see his doctor.

Rash Descriptions

Rashes can be bumpy, flat, small pinpricks, blistered or in a circular pattern. Rashes are usually red or pink in colour. A few rashes have a white or yellow centre. Rashes can be completely dry and flaky or wet and weepy. All of the above can help you determine what type of rash your child has.

Common childhood rashes can be treated at home. However, you should take your child to a doctor for definite diagnosis.

Diaper Rash and Chickenpox

Diaper rash is very common in infants. The skin on the buttocks and groin area is pink or red, with flat lesions. Regular diaper rash will look dry and flaky, but if it is due to a fungus, the rash will be shiny and very red. Treat the rash with a zinc-based diaper rash ointment.

Chickenpox, a childhood illness/rash, is getting less common due to the available vaccination. The rash starts as flat red spots, followed by small white blisters that form in the centre. The blisters turn from red to yellow and crust over, and are very itchy. The child will have viral infection symptoms, such as a fever, headache and sleepiness. Take your child to the doctor for treatment, especially if complications arise.


Impetigo is a reddish rash that turns light gold and weepy. Impetigo is caused by bacteria and can be treated with triple antibiotic ointment. But again, see a doctor to make sure the rash is impetigo. Impetigo that is left untreated can turn into the MRSA virus or Methcillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aurea. MRSA is a serious infection that can cause death if not treated immediately.


Ringworm is a rash characterised by small, red, raised spots that are configured in small circles, usually on the torso or the face. The rash is itchy and can be treated with a topical anti-fungal ointment.


Scabies is a rash that starts with small, red spots and then becomes very itchy. This rash most commonly appears on the hands, between the fingers. It can also occur on the buttocks, armpits and wrists. A burrowing mite causes scabies. Scabies is highly contagious, and if one person in a family contracts it, the doctor will usually treat the entire family.


The measles are not as common these days, due to the availability of the measles vaccination. Measles start as small, red dots, then grow bigger and gather in large patches. A child with the measles will usually have a fever, headache and cough a few days before the rash appears.

Roseola and Hives

Roseola usually infects children under the age of 2. It starts with a high fever, and a pink rash then appears over most of the body.

Hives can be the result of a heat rash or an allergic reaction to food, or topical exposure to an irritant. Take your child to the doctor to learn what is causing it. The red bumps appear swollen and puffy, and can be located anywhere on the body.