It's normal for babies to develop rashes from as early as a few days old. If your baby has a rash but doesn’t show signs of illness, speak to your midwife, health visitor, or your GP. If your baby appears unwell, call your GP or GP out of hours service
About half of all newborns develop tiny (1-2mm) white spots on their face. These are called milia.
These are just blocked sweat pores. They usually clear within the first four weeks of life.
Half of all new-borns develop a blotchy red marks with small bumps and weal’s scattered over face and rest of the body. This is called erythema toxicum. This is usually seen at two or three days old. It's a normal new-born rash that won't bother your baby and clears after a few days.
Cradle cap is where yellowish, greasy, scaly patches develop on a baby's scalp. Occasionally, as well as the scalp, the face, ears and neck are also affected
Things you can do to try and get rid of cradle cap:
Nappy rash occurs when the skin around the baby's nappy area becomes irritated. It occurs due to a combination of moist environment, chemical irritants and friction.
You can usually reduce nappy rash by taking simple steps to keep your baby's skin clean and dry by frequent nappy changes. If the rash is causing your baby discomfort, your health visitor or pharmacist can recommend a nappy rash cream to treat it.
Antifungal cream may be necessary if the rash is caused by a fungal infection. For futher information see Nappy rash - NHS
Baby acne (neonatal acne)
Baby acne usually develops about two to four weeks after birth. Tiny red or white bumps appear on the baby’s cheeks, nose, and forehead, which may be surrounded by red skin. The cause is unknown. It typically clears up on its own in about three to four months without leaving marks.
Regular home care should be enough to treat baby acne:
If you’re concerned that your baby’s acne isn’t going away, your doctor can recommend or prescribe safe treatments
Eczema is a dry skin condition which causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked.
The most common form is atopic eczema. It mainly affects babies and children but can continue into adulthood.
Creams and ointments can often relieve the symptoms.
Please see our information on eczema in the dedicated webpage
photo used with permission from DermNetNZ.org
Sweat rash (miliaria)
A heat rash is sometimes called miliaria or prickly heat. It may flare up when your baby sweats. For example, because they're dressed in too many clothes or the environment is hot and humid.
It's a sign your baby's sweat glands have become blocked.
They may develop tiny red bumps or blisters on their skin, but these will soon clear without treatment.
If your child has any of the following:
Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999
If your child has any of the following:
Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111
None of the above features are present
Closely monitor your baby for any signs of deterioration by looking out for any red or amber features
It is common for newborns to develop blotchy red skin at 2 to 3 days old. This is a normal newborn rash and shouldn’t bother your baby. It clears after a few days
You can treat your child's very minor illnesses and injuries at home.
Some illnesses can be treated in your own home with support and advice from the services listed when required, using the recommended medicines and getting plenty of rest.
Children can recover from illness quickly but also can become more poorly quickly; it is important to seek further advice if a child's condition gets worse.
For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?
Health visitors are nurses or midwives who are passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme. They work with you through your pregnancy up until your child is ready to start school.
Health Visitors can also make referrals for you to other health professionals for example hearing or vision concerns or to the Community Paediatricians or to the child and adolescent mental health services.
Contact them by phoning your Health Visitor Team or local Children’s Centre.
Health visitors also provide advice, support and guidance in caring for your child, including:
For more information watch the video: What does a health visitor do?
School nurses care for children and young people, aged 5-19, and their families, to ensure their health needs are supported within their school and community. They work closely with education staff and other agencies to support parents, carers and the children and young people, with physical and/or emotional health needs.
Contacting the School Nurse
Primary and secondary schools have an allocated school nurse – telephone your child’s school to ask for the contact details of your named school nurse.
There is also a specialist nurse who works with families who choose to educate their children at home.
Before your child starts school your health visitor will meet with the school nursing team to transfer their care to the school nursing service. The school nursing team consists of a school nursing lead, specialist public health practitioners and school health staff nurses.
They all have a role in preventing disease and promoting health and wellbeing, by:-
Each member of the team has links with many other professionals who also work with children including community paediatricians, child and adolescent mental health teams, health visitors and speech and language therapists. The school health nursing service also forms part of the multi-agency services for children, young people and families where there are child protection or safeguarding issues.
If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.
A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.