Two girls lie in the grass holding cups to their ears and mouth.

Common Summer Rashes in Kids

Summer is full of outdoor adventures, lots of water time, and, unfortunately all of this fun can lead to a multitude of skin woes. Here is some info about five common summer rashes in kids, ways to prevent them, and how to treat them. 

Insect bites and stings

Pesky insects can be unwelcome guests during time outdoors, especially the ones that bite or sting! The more common culprits include mosquitos, ticks, and bees or wasps. In most children, these bites and stings can cause itching and pain. However, in some cases, they can cause a severe allergic reaction called Anaphylaxis which can cause symptoms that include hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing and is a medical emergency. If your child has a known allergy to a particular insect bite or sting, make sure to make a plan with your doctor and always carry an epi-pen if it has been prescribed. In addition to causing discomfort, insect bites may also spread certain diseases that can make your child ill, so preventing them as much as possible is a good idea. 

How to prevent it:

  • Avoid sweet-smelling lotions, soaps, and bright clothing if you don’t want to attract insects.
  • Wear long pants/sleeves, hiking socks, and close-toed shoes in areas where ticks and mosquitos are a concern.
  • Insect repellants with DEET up to 30% are safe and effective.

What to do about it:

  • Always do a tick check after time spent outside.
  • Remove stingers and ticks immediately and wash the area with soap, water, or alcohol.
  • Treat inflammation and itch with a cool compress and consider using a soothing topical treatment such as hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.

Poison Ivy/Plant rashes

Depending on where you live, certain plants can cause an uncomfortable, itchy, painful rash due to a substance called Urushiol coming in contact with the skin. These are common and rather unpleasant summer rashes but can happen any time of year if someone comes in contact with the particular plants. The typical plants that cause this are poison ivy, oak, and sumac. 

How to prevent it:

  • The best way to prevent plant rashes is to be familiar with which of these plants are in your area and be able to recognize them.
  • Wearing closed-toed shoes, high socks, and long pants and sleeves is also helpful in preventing skin from coming in contact with the plants.

What to do about it:

  • Remove all of the child’s clothing as the oil can remain and continue to cause symptoms.
  • Bathe your child with soap and water for at least ten minutes to remove residual oil.
  • Discourage scratching and trim nails to avoid causing small openings in the skin that can get infected.
  • Apply a cool compress or a soothing topical treatment such as hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion.
  • Call your doctor to discuss other treatment options if the rash is severe or does not resolve in a few days.

Heat rash

Heat rash is a common summer or warm weather rash caused by clogged sweat glands and happens most often in babies and young children with smaller sweat ducts and a more challenging time regulating their temperature. It causes small reddish bumps.

How to prevent it:

  • Keep little ones cool by avoiding over-dressing them, choosing light, breathable fabrics, and using fans or AC if needed.
  • If you notice hot spots that are red and sweaty, reposition your baby or adjust clothing to allow air to flow.
  •  Wipe hot, sweaty areas with a cool wash cloth.

What to do about it:

  • Gently wipe down affected areas with a cool wash cloth and leave them open to the air.
  • Do not apply lotions or ointments, as these further clog the sweat ducts and potentially worsen the rash.


Eczema is a chronic itchy rash that causes dry, red, scaly areas of the skin. We often think of cold, dry winter as a time that exacerbates this rash. However, dry air from air-conditioners and irritants like chlorine from swimming pools make this a common summer rash as well.

How to prevent it:

  • Eczema is a chronic condition, but some things can help keep symptoms from flaring.
  • Moisturize liberally and regularly with hypoallergenic, unscented, emollient lotions. Lotions containing colloidal oatmeal have been shown to help eczema.
  • Avoid irritants like scented soaps, lotions, or detergents.
  • Avoid bathing too frequently, but be sure to at least rinse briefly after swimming in pools with chlorine or sweating. 
  • Cool, breathable clothing fabrics are a good choice when possible.

What to do about it:

  • If the above measures don’t prevent an eczema flare, talk to your physician about other treatment options.
  • Many children with eczema may need a steroid cream like hydrocortisone from time to time to manage exacerbations.


Tinea is a rash that is also often called “ringworm.” However, don’t fear, a worm is not the culprit! This common skin infection is caused by a fungus! It’s often called ringworm because the rash can form round or oval spots that become smooth in the center as they grow, leaving a red scaly ring. Similar fungal infections caused by tinea include athlete’s foot and jock itch. Fungal infections are more likely in areas where skin touches or stays damp from sweat but can occur anywhere. 

How to prevent it: 

  • Make sure to change socks and sports gear that is in contact with the skin and gets sweaty frequently to prevent athlete’s foot or jock itch. 
  • Tinea can spread quickly, so treat pets and family members as soon as it is recognized.

What to do about it:

  • Anti-fungal treatment is usually needed to treat tinea.
  • In mild cases, over-the-counter treatment for athletes’ foot or jock itch can be sufficient. It is also important to continue to preventive measures mentioned above that help keep skin dry.
  • Ringworm, however, can be more challenging to treat, and you should talk with your physician about whether you need a prescription anti-fungal medication. 

We hope these tips help you prevent and treat these common summer rashes in kids! Now spray on your insect repellant and head out for a hike! – 12 Common Summertime Skin Rashes

American Academy of Dermatology – 12 Summer Skin Problems You Can Prevent

child in a hat rides in a toy car through a grove of trees

Road tripping with kids

The summer is a great time to travel with the family, but with airline prices and pandemic worries, flights may not seem the most appealing way to journey at the moment. Instead, a good old road trip can be a great way to get a change of scenery without as much hassle. Road tripping as a family can be a great way to travel. You get to go at your own pace and avoid the stress of air travel. However, hitting the road with kids can come with its own complications! So here are some useful tips to help you plan a fun and easy road trip with the kids this summer! 

Set expectations ahead of time! 

  • If you haven’t done many long car rides with the kids before, you can help them mentally prepare by discussing the plan and what it’ll be like in advance. 
  • Make it something to look forward to! Keep it positive and highlight some planned stops along the way or the fun final destination!
  • Be sure to emphasize any challenging situations you anticipate or road trip rules like using the potty before leaving and at stops, keeping hands to ourselves (if you have siblings that tend to bicker), etc. 
  • Let the kids help choose and pack their car supplies depending on their age! What toys do they want to bring? What snacks?
    • Obviously, you get the final say and should give them parameters, so you don’t end up bringing a gallon-sized tub of gummy bears and every toy car they own!
    • For example, “Pick 2 activities and 3 toys you would like to bring.” “Do you want to bring apples or oranges?” “Cheese sticks or peanut butter crackers?”

Strategies for planning departure time and stops:

  • Best time to leave:
    • One strategy is to either leave early when the kids might fall back to sleep for a bit or to leave just before nap time. 
    • This can backfire if kids get over tired, though. 
    • For tricks to help your kiddo sleep in the car, check out “How to encourage car naps” below. 
    • If you opt not to leave early in the morning, try to plan some active time before hitting the road to use up some of that energy!
  • Planning pit-stops:
    • Every kid and every drive is different. Sometimes it is better to keep going if kids are happy or sleeping and see how many miles you can get under your belt. Other times, it may be more important to stop frequently to keep spirits up, get the wiggles out and prevent major meltdowns. 
    • As a general rule of thumb, it is best to stop every 2-3 hours at least to give your little ones a break from the car seat. If you have a newborn or young infant in the mix, you won’t have much choice as you’ll have to stop every couple of hours to feed them.
    • It’s helpful to scope out potential stops beforehand and choose scenic spots with space for kids to run around or playgrounds.

Prepare for messes!

  • Car messes are the worst, but they will happen when road tripping with kids despite your best efforts! Between spills, potty accidents, and bouts of car sickness, the possibilities are endless. 
  • Bring basic cleaning supplies: paper towels or extra wipes, spray cleaner, garbage bags, and at least one handy change of clothes, maybe more if you have an infant! 

Keep them busy!

  • Even though we all hope the littles will just sleep, it doesn’t always work out that way.
  • Pack a few different activities to keep them entertained and avoid the dreaded chorus of “I’m boooored!” 
  • If your family uses screens/tablets occasionally, road trips are a great time to bust them out. Download some kid-friendly movies or educational shows and games. 
  • Other screen-free ideas are books, playdough or silly putty, water wow coloring books, busy books, magnet puzzles/games, simple crafts for older kids, etc. 
  • You might want to invest in an organizational tray that attaches to the car seat, so kiddos have a place to set their activities and snacks.


  • Have we mentioned snacks? Snacks are always a good idea, but can make or break the experience when road tripping with kids!
  • Not only does hunger tend to strike at inconvenient times, but snacks also occupy little hands and keep spirits up! 
  • Pack a variety of healthy snack options and beverages. Maybe don’t go overboard on drinks if you want to avoid excessive potty stops, though! 
  • For snacks, think healthy and satisfying like fruit, cheese, nuts (if your child is over 4 because of choking risk,) crackers, etc.

How to encourage car naps:

Car naps are not guaranteed, but they are definitely appreciated!

  • Incorporate as much of your child’s naptime routine as you can:
    • Sing the same songs,
    • Bring their lovey or blanket,
    • Use a portable white noise machine if they’re used to one at home. And if you don’t typically use one, consider trying it! White noise can greatly help initiate and maintain sleep and also helps with sleeping in different environments. 
  • Make sure the car temperature is comfortable and on the cooler side.
  • Dress them comfortably; consider putting them in lightweight PJs for the drive, take shoes off, etc. 


Dealing with Car Sickness:

Car sickness is very common and a frustrating problem for many parents. If your child gets car sickness, try these tips:

  • Give them a light bland snack before the trip.
  • Distract them with stories or music. Screens or books may not be the best choice for children who get car sick.
  • Encourage them to look out the window. For babies, window stickers or toys that suction to the window may encourage them to look outside.
  • Take frequent breaks and allow older children to sit or lie down, give babies a break from the car seat.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider about medications like diphenhydramine (benadryl,) or dramamine that may help. They may cause drowsiness and other side effects so be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider prior to use.

Car seat safety:

Proper car seat safety is always essential, but road tripping with kids is an excellent excuse to ensure yours is up to snuff.

  • Does your child still fit within the weight and/or height requirements? 
  • Has the seat been involved in a crash, even minor? If so, it should be replaced. 
  • Remember, rear-facing is the safest so keep them in this position as long as possible. Kids are flexible, so even if their legs are bent, it is not as uncomfortable as it looks!
  • Go here for more information and tips on car seat use and safety.