Don’t Panic! What To Do When Your Baby Has a Heat Rash

What to do if your baby suffers from this common malady.
Summer is just around the corner which means heat rash (also known as miliaria) is just around the bend.

What can we do to treat heat rash and what are preventative measures to help keep it at bay?

What causes heat rash?

Heat rashes are caused when the sweat glands are blocked, and the sweat can’t escape to the surface of the skin to evaporate.

If you can avoid your little one getting too hot in the first place, they shouldn’t get a heat rash at all.

A lot of the time, a common problem is that baby gets too hot because we dress them too warmly, or wrap them up in blankets needlessly.

It’s easy to worry that your little one is too cold, especially if their arms and legs feel cool.

A good rule of thumb is to base baby’s temperature comfort off of your own. If you are too hot or uncomfortable, baby is probably a little too warm as well.

What does it look like?

Most commonly, you’ll find red bumps, usually in skin folds or other areas on baby that don’t get much ventilation, including underarms, scalp/hairlines, or even the back of baby’s neck.

It can be itchy, and even look like tiny blisters on reddened skin.

We have to remember that babies are incapable of regulating their body temperature until they are about 3 months old, therefore we need to be aware of their bodies’ signs of overheating.

Heat rash should usually go away once the skin has had the opportunity to cool down, within 3-4 days. If you notice the rash is getting worse or looks infected, or your child begins to run a fever, get in touch with your child’s pediatrician ASAP.

The common signs of overheating.

  • Rosy cheeks.
  • Lethargy.
  • Excessive thirst (for older babies/toddlers who can drink water).
  • Poor feeding (for those who are breastfed).
  • Irritability.
  • Sweat (for babies who have some regulation control).

How can I help prevent overheating and avoid heat rash?

Keep your little one dressed comfortably. Loose clothing is best.

If you’re hot in shorts and a tank, chances are the little guy is, too. It’s okay if he runs around in a diaper for a little while. If he is somewhere he can be naked for a bit, that can help, too.

Ensure her skin is well ventilated.

Try not to keep her in the car seat for too long as there isn’t much ventilation, even with the AC on. If you have to drive around for multiple errands, try to get them done early in the morning or later in the evening when it is cooler outside.

Personal fans and oscillating fans are always a great idea. I especially favor the personal fans that have a squirt bottle attached.

Stay out of the sun.

If you must be outside, stay in the shade, or bring an umbrella to keep the sun from hitting your little man directly.

If you notice that your little one may be starting to overheat due to any of the signs above, a cool, wet washcloth is a simple way to cool her down quickly.

Fun ways to stay cool.

Hit the pool.

If you don’t have access to a pool, a cool bath with some fun toys is sure to be a hit.

Run through the sprinklers. The dog can join in on this, too!

If the sun seems to be melting the earth and you’d like to save on electricity costs, go to the mall and window shop. You can get some exercise in and keep the both of you cool for no more than a dollar or two in gas.

A yummy way to cool off is to have juice popsicles ready.

You can use any juice you like, just be sure to water it down to help hydrate baby and avoid giving too much sugar. You can find popsicle moldings at your local grocery store or $1 store, or even online.

Another favorite of mine is frozen yogurt.

As you can see, there are many methods to avoiding such madness. All you need is a little creativity.

It’s too late; my baby already has heat rash. What now?

First and foremost, you need to get baby to cool down. If that means yet another errand to push off, so be it. We don’t want to add a trip to the hospital to be added to that list.

Loosen or remove baby’s clothes and let them air dry. WebMD says not to use towels, and this makes sense as we don’t want to clog any more pores or sweat glands by rubbing the sweat in along with dirt that is sticking to baby.

Don’t rub any ointments or lotions on him as this can also block sweat glands and cause more problems.

Generally heat rash is not something to worry about.

Here are some signs something more serious is going on and needs medical attention:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Increasing Pain
  • Puss oozing from the bumps

Note: DO NOT pop those tiny pimples, whether to get rid of them or check for puss. This could lead to infection and will absolutely cause unnecessary irritation. Allow your baby’s skin to take care of itself on its own.

Let’s review.

Heat rash is a sign that baby is overheated. It is otherwise harmless and can heal on its own, and does not need medical attention unless other, more serious symptoms accompany the rash. Ointments and lotions are not its friends.

There are a gazillion ways to prevent it and stay cool, many of which can be very fun for both you and baby, and are cost friendly. Loose clothing and air flow are best for keeping baby’s pores clear.

Stay out of the sun. Those tiny white bumps are not something for Mommy or anyone else to pop for any reason.

And most importantly, to keep baby cool and comfortable, look for the earlier symptoms that tell you baby is too hot.

Otherwise, have a cool and funtastic summer!

What are more fun ways you and baby stay cool in the heat? How did your parents or grandparents do it when you were little? Let me know in the comments below.

  1. I’ve found that just basing how hot or cold my baby is off of how I feel the temperature is on my body is a good way to ensure she doesn’t get heat rash.

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