Germ Illustration


There are many kinds of rashes in children and most are not caused by infection. When you are registering a child, ask the parents about chronic or recurrent rashes so you will not worry unnecessarily when assessing the child for illness.

Many infectious rashes are mild and very common. When a rash occurs in conjunction with fever, infection may be the cause.

Most infectious rashes are spread by coughing or sneezing before the rash is apparent. There are some rashes which require the exclusion of children from the child care centre. Please refer to the Guide to Communicable Disease or call the health unit at 1.888.221.2133.

If there is a child within the centre with childhood cancer, leukemia, or other immune deficiency, notify the parents immediately when infectious rashes occur in other children.

Heat Rash

This appears as tiny red pimples, bumps or spots. It usually appears on the back of the neck or lower back, but can involve the entire body. It occurs due to a mix of sweat, heat and clothing.

Contact Rash

Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by direct contact with an irritating or allergy causing substance.

Irritant dermatitis, the most common type of contact dermatitis, involves inflammation from contact with materials such as soaps, detergents, or other chemicals. The reaction usually resembles a burn.

Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by exposure to a substance or material to which a person has become extra sensitive or allergic. Common allergens are poison ivy, poison oak, rubber or latex and perfumes to name a few. The skin is usually red and raised with red pimples and/or blisters and the area is itchy.

Note: The description of the rash is important to determine the cause. Try to use these terms to describe the rash when documenting and informing parents/guardians.

A child with a rash accompanied by a fever should be excluded from child care until symptoms have resolved or a physician has determined that the rash is non-communicable.

Recognizing Rashes


RaisedYou can feel a bump when you rub your fingers over the rash.
FlatDiscolouration that lies flat on the skin and cannot be felt.
PimplyVery small, raised bumps with a tiny white spot in the middle, just like a pimple.


BlisterA bump with a clear fluid-filled middle.
PustuleA pus-filled blister.
WeltRaised, part red and part skin-coloured area. It can be small or large. An example of a welt is hives.
ColourMay range from flesh colour to purple to red.


LacyLooks like a piece of fancy lace placed on the skin and then removed, leaving a red imprint of the lace on the skin.
SpotsFlat spots on the skin that cannot be felt.
BlotchesLike a welt, but flat and usually varies in colour; some areas are red and some are flesh-toned.

Call 911 immediately if a child has a rash that is accompanied by difficulty breathing and/or swelling of the throat or tongue.

Last modified: February 19, 2020