'Car seat dermatitis' worsens as weather warms up

Itchy, red rashes flare up when child's skin comes in contact with seat material

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - There's no question car seats save lives, but some parents may have noticed red, itchy rashes on their children after long rides in the car.

According to MyHealthNewsDaily, dermatologists have dubbed it "car seat dermatitis" and while they're unsure of the exact cause, it can be treated quickly and easily.

Anyone with young children knows about the struggle to get them safely buckled in their car seats.

Medina Kuti said her son, Jeremiah, "Doesn't like it."

"I don't think any kid likes the car seat honestly," said Kuti.

What can make matters worse is a condition known as car seat dermatitis: Itchy, red rashes that flare up where the child's skin comes in contact with car seat material.

Mom Prakiti Kc said she's noticed.

"A little bit of rash, especially if it's very hot and humid and we travel a lot in the car because we travel from Atlanta to Houston sometimes," said Kc. "So in long trips, it really bothers him and he wants to get out of the car seat."

Pediatrician Dr. Debra Cutler said she's seen it in her Kelsey-Seybold clinic.

"Usually, we discover it when they come in for their office visit because they didn't have it when they left the house, and it's because they've been sitting on this car seat, and it gets hot and their skin gets moist," said Cutler. "So they come in with rashes on the back of the leg and the back of their arm."

Experts say it could be caused by the foam or nylon material used in car seats and it seems to just get worse as the temperatures and humidity rise.

Dr. Cutler said there is a quick solution.

"Hydrocortisone will help. It's not necessarily an allergic reaction, it's an inflammation, so it could be an irritant reaction," said Cutler. "We usually just recommend over the counter hydrocortisone cream or ointment."

Cutler said parents can also use a car seat cover to protect baby from the material. But, you'll want to check with the manufacturer to make sure it's approved for your particular car seat.

Most importantly, Cutler said as we head into the warmer months, it's always a good time to remind caretakers to never, ever leave children unattended in a car.

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