My Toddler Has Red Bumps on the Skin

by Maggie McCormick

Skin rashes in toddlers, such as red bumps on the skin, are common and could be a result of many different conditions. In most cases, there's nothing that you need to do -- the problem will resolve itself in a few days. Still, it's helpful to try to determine the cause of the bumps so that you can treat them more effectively.

Common Causes

Some toddlers experience occasional acne, which shows up on the forehead or nose and is nothing to worry about. Diaper rashes are another cause of red bumps on toddler skin. They can still show up if your toddler is out of diapers but has the occasional accident. Red bumps are often a symptom of diseases, like chicken pox, measles and rubella, though it's not the likely cause if your child has been immunized. Scarlet fever, fifth disease and roseola can cause red bumps. Some children have mild allergic reactions to certain foods, which causes rashes.

Location

The location of the bumps can give you important information about what it is. If the bumps are around the mouth and chin, it might be an allergy, though if there are bumps inside the mouth as well, it could be something more serious. Chicken pox typically starts with small bumps on the chest and back. Scarlet fever rashes start in the armpits. Measles typically appear on the face first, then spread over the body. If the rash is in the diaper area, it's probably a simple diaper rash, though it could also be a yeast infection.

Look

The way that the rash looks can also tell you something. Chicken pox, for example, will typically show up as distinct raised bumps, later forming blisters. Roseola and measles, on the other hand, will start as small bumps, but then begin to blend together. If you can't identify the bumps, the safest thing to do is to take your child to a doctor.

Treatment

In most cases, you should simply leave the bumps alone and wait for the problem to resolve itself. Some types of red bumps, however, are painful or itchy. To these, you can apply a soothing lotion, such as calamine, or take medication from your doctor. If your child has a high fever in addition to the bumps, take him to the doctor, as he may require antibiotics.

Warning

It's important that neither you nor your child scratch or pick at the red bumps. This could cause infection or permanent scarring.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.