Infant Heat Rash is commonly also referred to as miliaria or prickly heat. This skin condition is common but can cause extreme discomfort. To understand what pain your baby is experiencing is described as a stinging sensation throughout various areas of their skin due to overheating.

Seeing a baby suddenly develop a rash can be quite alarming. Spots on the skin may cause pain or discomfort, and an infant is unable to communicate symptoms through language. A key determining factor for treatment is the type of rash. Although there are several skin issues that may arise in babies, infant heat rash is one of the most common.

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Infant Heat RashWhat Is Infant Heat Rash?

Heat rashes are a group of skin conditions that appear on babies when their skin becomes too hot. The sweat glands produce sweat to cool the body when its temperature rises. However, a baby’s pores are very small and sometimes become blocked. Thus, the sweat lodges in the skin pores. When this happens, a heat rash may be the result [1].

Hot and humid weather is one of the most common culprits behind heat rash in babies as excessive sweating is the primary cause. However, this does not mean that this type of rash is limited to the hot summer months. An infant heat rash can also appear during colder weather, particularly when a baby is bundled in several layers of clothing. The sweat glands work to cool the baby resulting in sweat becoming trapped and the development of a heat rash.

Types of Heat Rash in InfantTypes Of Heat Rash In Infant

In general, the term “miliaria” refers to a sweat rash. However, there are different types of miliaria. Heat rash infant pictures may be used for comparison to determine the kind of heat rash and subsequent treatment. Although heat rashes may look alike, infant heat rash pictures reveal that they are as different as their symptoms. It is important to be able to recognize the types of heat rash to understand the appropriate heat rash infant treatment. Here are the types of heat rash and how they look:

Miliaria Rubra

Miliaria Rubra is commonly called infant prickly heat rash. This type of rash occurs when sweat glands activate, and sweat moves into the epidermis and upper dermis. Inflamed sweat ducts appear as a red pimply rash. The irritated skin can cause itching, inflammation and discomfort. It often occurs in the skin folds such as the groin and neck. Here is a typical infant heat rash picture.

Miliaria Pustulosa

Sometimes, pustules form as a result of inflammation. When that occurs, pus can develop in the raised red bumps. When this happens, it is important to know an infant heat rash treatment.

Miliaria crystalline

Miliaria crystalline is the most common form of heat rash on an infant. It typically appears as small clear or white bumps that are filled with sweat. These bumps can eventually burst. This skin condition does not commonly itch or cause discomfort.

Miliaria profunda

This is the least common type of heat rash. Miliaria profunda is a skin irritation that can recur. It is typically found in the dermis or the deeper layer of the skin.

Roseola infantum

This raised pink rash starts on the chest and stomach and eventually spreads to the limbs. The baby is contagious before the rash appears but not after. The rash lasts three to five days.

Atopic dermatitis / Eczema

Atopic dermatitis is unique in that the first symptom is an itch. Once the affected person scratches the skin, an eczema rash develops. In infants, this rash often involves the face (cheeks), chest and the back of the scalp. The rash will spread with scratching.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is sometimes referred to as cradle cap. Cradle cap presents as rough, scaly patches on the scalp. Typically, it resolves by itself. However, washing the hair with a gentle shampoo can help remove the patches. Seborrheic dermatitis is called dandruff in adults.

Staphylococcus epidermidis

Staphylococcus epidermidis may start as a small rash on one part of the body but can spread. After the rash resolves, the top layer of the skin peels. The affected person is left with raw and reddened areas. Medical treatment is required.


Impetigo is a staph infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus. This rash mainly affects infants and children. The staph infection causes a rash that develops around the nose and mouth. As it bursts, honey-colored crusts develop. Impetigo is highly contagious until the child has been on antibiotics for 24 hours. Another type of staph infection is non-bullous impetigo. With non-bullous impetigo, large blisters may occur on a baby’s torso. With this condition, the infant may also develop a fever and swollen glands (swollen lymph nodes). These conditions require treatment by a pediatrician.

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Infant Heat Rash TreatmentInfant Heat Rash Treatment

When a rash appears, parents are bound to look for an effective heat rash infant treatment. Fortunately, there are several infant heat rash remedies to reduce skin irritation [2].

Loosen the baby’s clothing

When the weather is hot and humid, dress children in looser clothing made from cotton as this is a breathable fabric that allows air to circulate. This can reduce the itchy heat rash.

Give the baby a lukewarm bath

Bath time can soothe the irritation on a baby’s skin especially when it is caused by any miliaria skin condition. Add some colloidal oatmeal in the bathwater as this helps calm irritated skin.

Go nappy-free

Wearing diapers all the time prevents children from wetting their clothing. However, the constant presence of moisture in the nappy area can also cause diaper rash. Allow a child to go nappy free especially after a bath, and ensure the diaper area is dry before applying a new diaper.

Use baking soda

Another infant heat rash remedy is baking soda. Make a paste of baking soda mixed with a small amount of water. Gently apply the paste to the rash as part of a cool compress. This alleviates the discomfort as baking soda eases itching and irritation. This ingredient can also be used in a baby’s bath water if the rashes are all over the body.

Try aloe vera

Treat infant heat rash naturally with aloe vera. It is an excellent choice for treating infant heat rash. The gel of this plant, found in the leaves, is rich with antioxidants. Aloe vera can reduce the symptoms of a skin infection and also has a cooling effect. Apply aloe vera gel to the affected area for a few minutes, then gently wipe off with a clean cloth.

Hydrate with cucumber

As with aloe vera, cucumber can be used to treat rashes that are hot to the touch. Cucumber contains high amounts of water that decrease the temperature of the skin. Slice some cucumber, and place it on the affected areas to lessen itching and pain. Cucumber can also be ground to create a paste which can be spread on rashes to reduce inflammation and irritation.

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Preventing Infant Prickly Heat Rash
Preventing Infant Prickly Heat Rash

Focus on prevention when treating infant heat rash. Learning a few steps to prevent heat rash is well worth the effort [3].

Spend time indoors

When the hot weather finally arrives, limit exposure to the hot summer sun. Research indicates that exposing newborns to the sun’s ultraviolet rays during the first six months of life increases their risk of skin cancer in the future.  A newborn’s skin is especially vulnerable, so keep infants in an airconditioned room to keep them cool and dry and prevent any chance of heat exhaustion. Also, keep babies hydrated through breastfeeding or formula-feeding on hot days.

Focus on the areas that are often moist

Check the areas of a little one’s skin that tend to collect moisture, such as the neck, groin and skin folds. Use cool water to wash these areas, then pat dry to remove any excess moisture.

Install a fan in the nursery

With the hot and humid weather, the air may feel stagnant. Using a fan to circulate the air may create a cooler environment that does not support sweat production. However, make sure the fan is not directed at the baby. The goal is to keep cool but not chilled as this can lead to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia.

Check regularly

Be proactive in preventing rashes from occurring in the first place. Observe the skin for changes in color or raised areas. Also, feel the skin. If it is damp and hot, loosen the clothing and apply cool compresses.

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A Last Word on Infant Heat Rash
A Last Word On Infant Heat Rash

Infants are very vulnerable as their sweat glands may not work properly. Symptoms of fever, skin dry that is hot and no sweating can be indicative of heat stroke. Immediate medical attention is required.

The hot, humid weather can be a culprit for a heat rash to appear, but be wary when the weather starts to become cold. While layering babies in clothes will keep them warm, it also leaves them at risk of baby heat rash. Try to prevent heat rash in the first place, and treat infant heat rash as soon as possible. There are ointments, creams and natural remedies that relieve the itching. However, if the rashes remain or begin to look inflamed, it may be time for a visit to the pediatrician.

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Infant Heat Rash Resources:

[1]   U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus; Rash – child under 2 years, March 22, 2019.
[2]   Health Direct, Pregnancy Birth; Common childhood rashes, January 2018.
[3]   NHS; Rashes in babies and children, February 15, 2018.


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