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Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Eczema In Children

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that is common in children under the age of five. It usually goes away on its own but it can be very uncomfortable for toddlers. Here is a guideline that will help parents understand the causes, signs and treatment of eczema in children.

What causes eczema?

The cause of eczema is indefinite. But many child health experts agree that the following elements can trigger an outbreak of this condition:

  • Stress
  • Extreme Sweating
  • Overheating
  • Food Allergens (cow’s milk, soy, dairy products, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and wheat)
  • Environmental Irritants (pollen, cigarette or tobacco smoke, changes in temperature, animal dander, etc.)
  • Chemicals In Products (soap, lotion, detergent, bubbles and perfumes)
  • Dry Skin
  • Genetics (if a family member has a history of allergies, asthma, hay fever and eczema)

What are the signs and symptoms of eczema?


Extreme itching is the number one symptom of eczema. A toddler will often scratch the affected areas with his hand or anything within reach to ease the itching. However, too much scratching will only worsen the rash and may lead to skin infection.

Thick or Discolored Areas On The Skin

A toddler with eczema will have thick patches of skin all over his body. Generally, these abrasions are dry, flaky, inflamed and appear brown, gray or red in color. These rashes are visible on the face or scalp, nape, hands, elbows and at the back of the ears, knees, wrists and ankles.

Bumpy Skin Lesions

Children with eczema will develop bumpy skin lesions with pus, fluid or blood (similar to a pimple) that will leak out once a toddler excessively rubs them.

How can eczema in children be treated?

Know The Culprits

The first step towards treating your toddler’s eczema is to identify the triggers. Do what you can to help reduce your toddler’s discomfort and keep flare-ups from exacerbating.

Take Short Baths

Daily bathing is helpful for a child with eczema. But, keep it brief and keep the water lukewarm (not hot) since very warm water can rub the skin of its natural moisture. Only use mild, unscented soap cleanser and shampoo or those made for children with sensitive skin. After which, pat (not rub) excess water from his skin using a soft towel.


Moisturize your toddler’s skin after every bath to lock in moisture while pores are still open. Use creams and ointments that contain less water such as Aquaphor, Cetaphil or Eucerin.

Dress Appropriately

To let the skin breathe and stay fresh, dress your toddler in loose-fitting, lightweight clothes made from natural fabrics such as cotton. Also, do not bundle him in layers of clothes to avoid overheating. Wearing a soft jacket over a shirt is enough to keep your toddler warm during cold days.


Make sure your toddler drinks plenty of water throughout the day to keep his skin hydrated. Steer clear of fruit juices, smoothies and sodas as these can dehydrate the body.


You may apply a small amount of topical corticosteroid or cortisone cream to the affected areas as long as your doctor recommends it. Giving your toddler antihistamine also helps control itching.

If your toddler’s eczema continues or he develops a fever, visit your pediatrician at once. The doctor can suggest a more appropriate remedy.

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