My Baby Has Red Cheeks, What Could It Be?

Rosy Cheeks, Puffy Cheeks, Red Cheeks. Babies have them all at one point in time, one way or another.

We often see our baby's face color change from time to time but seeing the sudden changes from morning to evening or from day one to day two can be alarming, especially for new parents or for parents who just happen to experience such major changes in your recent baby.

Redness of cheeks can both be normal and abnormal. Now, let's see exactly what's okay and what's not.


Babies often get red cheeks at one point in time but knowing whatever it is that's causing the redness of your baby's cheeks will give you a lot of relief. Here are some things that cause your baby's red cheeks.

1. Sunburn

Even adults can get red cheeks when the weather is too hot. Exposure to sunlight can be good but it isn't recommended for your baby to stay under the sun for more than 30 minutes especially during the peak hours of 11 am to 2 pm.

Sunbathing is something that is often debated by many specialists but they do come to a consensus that sunlight can be good for your baby since it is rich in Vitamin D.

Our body needs Vitamin D. To maximize the sunlight best for your baby, expose her at around 7 to 8 in the morning. At these times, you can expose your little one for a maximum of 30 minutes. From 8-11 am, you can still sunbathe your baby for about 5-10 minutes.

What Can I Do?

Your baby's skin is extremely sensitive and overexposing her under the sun will surely cause sunburn. Your little one's skin is not fit to be spread with sunscreen.

If your baby did get a sunburn and her cheeks are flaring red, you can simply put a slightly cold damp cloth on your baby's cheeks or apply natural, water-based lotion or aloe vera gel to ease the pain and the itch. Do not apply any petroleum jelly, and ointments with benzocaine.

2. Teething

When teething, your baby will often have flushed cheeks. Her cheeks could appear rosy or pinkish. This is because your baby's gums and mouth are irritated and swollen because a tooth is about to pop out.

This irritation can cause your baby to have red cheeks. Other teething symptoms would be excessive drooling, finger and object chewing, inconsistent breastfeeding, and irritability.

What Can I Do?

You can help your child in soothing sore gums by giving your child teethers, rubbing her gums with your clean finger or a damp clean cloth, apply teething gels - preferably organic - and give chilled fruits to chew on like bananas and strawberries.

You should always clean off the drool. If your baby's skin is exposed to too much drool, it can cause irritation and may even cause further redder cheeks.

3. Allergies

Allergies often start off with pinkish to red cheeks, and then it bursts into a rash. The rash can be scaly and dry and very itchy. This is commonly called atopic dermatitis or eczema.

Via babycenter.com

Allergies can also appear in other parts of the body like the arms, the feet, and the back. You can help your baby feel more relieved by applying moisturizing lotions, letting her wear pure cotton clothing or breathable clothes that won't chafe the skin any further.

4. Fifth Disease

Odd name, right? Well, it's also called the 'slapped cheeks' disease. It is an infection caused by a virus called parvovirus B19. This is a mild illness that can easily be overcome.

About 80% of us have experienced having the Fifth Disease. Like Chicken Pox, Rubella, Scarlet Fever, Measles, and Roseola, the fifth disease can only be experienced once in a lifetime and you will be immuned to the virus.

Via babycenter.com

What are the symptoms of slapped cheeks disease?

​The fifth disease starts off with mild fever or flu-like symptoms (i.e. a headache, sore throat, runny noses, fatigue, and at times diarrhea). Then your baby's cheeks flash bright red - as if she had been slapped, hence the name. The rash will spread all over the body.

Some children may experience it to be itchy but your little one will feel fine nonetheless. The reality about the fifth disease is that only 2 out of 10 infected children and adults will feel no symptoms at all.

How long is it expected to last?

The fifth disease often affects toddlers and preschoolers, but it can also infect babies and adults as well. The fifth disease often lasts for about a week and up to 10 days, but the rashes may go for months without your child feeling too affected by it. And since this is caused by a virus, it is contagious via exchange of body fluids like saliva and mucus.

How do I know if my child caught the virus?

You won't know that your child is infected until about four to 20 days later when the symptoms begin to show. However, in this incubation period, your child is also contagious in spreading the virus. By the time the rash appears, your child is already healing from the virus and is no longer contagious.

However, your child needs to be closely watched if she has chronic anemia since her weakened immune system may lead to complications.

Should I send my child to the doctor?

As a viral infection, there isn't much you can do but go to the doctor to rule out other illnesses and complications. If you do notice that your little one's fever goes beyond 5 days and more, or the fever goes as high as 103. 5 degrees Fahrenheit, this may be another form of disease.

What else can I do to help my child?

​You can only help your child deal with the virus by giving her lots of fluids and plenty of rest. The doctor may give some medication like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol for the fever. Other than what the doctor has prescribed, never give other medication to your child.

5. In conclusion...

​Your baby having red cheeks may be a result of many other things like:

  • sunburn
  • fever
  • allergies
  • fifth disease
  • teething
  • others

But when your child is feeling fine and absolutely well, still feeding well and have no other symptoms that may cause a lot of worries, then your little one is absolutely fine.

Red cheeks can simply be a result of the hot weather or just a few illnesses that you do not need to panic about. But if you are really in doubt, seek help of the doctor immediately. This is to avoid any worries that you have at that very moment. Because as parents, we only want what’s best for our kids.

Stacy Belk

My name is Stacy Belk, I am a nurse, midwife and mother of two children. I would like to share my experiences in taking care of children including activities to do together, recipes to cook, good products to buy and health protection to your family. Do a search now if you like, all you need is here.

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