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Rashes and birthmarks


It is common for babies and children to get rashes which often clear up without treatment. Rashes are sometimes caused by using different washing products as these can irritate your child’s skin. Some rashes can be more worrying and need urgent attention so it is important to know a bit more about these. You can explore the common rashes that babies develop here

A rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it can be a symptom of a serious illness called meningitis. Meningitis can get worse very quickly, so it's important you know the signs and symptoms and seek help if you are worried. 

If your child seems unwell, has a rash, and has a high temperature (fever) see your GP.


Birthmarks are not rashes but are coloured marks which are visible on the skin. They are often present from birth or develop soon afterwards.

Some birthmarks, particularly Mongolian Spots, can look like bruises. If your child has a birthmark it is important that it is documented on their health record and included in their red book (Personal Child Health Record). If birthmarks are not documented and a health professional notices a mark which is not obviously a birthmark a strict procedure will need to be followed which may include an assessment in hospital. Find out more about birthmarks here.

What you can do

  • Babies’ skin is very sensitive; there is no need to bath them daily. Instead clean their hands, neck, face and bottom using cotton wool and water only. Find out more about washing your baby here.
  • Think about whether you have used any different bubble bath, creams or washing products as these can all irritate your child’s skin and cause rashes. If you have used a new product and noticed a rash, stop using it for a few days to see if the rash clears up.
  • Rashes are sometimes symptoms of childhood illnesses which vaccinations are available for. Children up to the age of 18 who missed their vaccinations are still eligible to receive them free on the NHS, so make sure your child is up to date.


Who can help?

You can speak to a pharmacist before trying any new creams or lotions on your child. Find your local pharmacy here. 

If your child has a high temperature as well as a rash and seems unwell speak to your GP or contact 111 for advice.

Childhood illnesses: local contacts

  • Bedfordshire

    For non-urgent advice as a parent, you can text a Bedfordshire Community Services health visitor on Parentline, 07507 331456.

    For non-urgent advice as a young person aged 11-19, text our school nursing team on ChatHealth, 07507 331450.  

  • Luton

    If you're a parent requiring non-urgent advice, you can call your Luton health visiting team on 0333 405 0087, Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. 

    If you're aged 11-19 and would like some non-urgent advice, text your Luton school nursing team on ChatHealth, 07520 616070. 

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