Pediatric Erythema Toxicum Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: Amanda Shepard-Hayes, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Erythema toxicum neonatorum (ETN) typically presents in term neonates aged 3 days to 2 weeks. Although erythema toxicum neonatorum can occur in the first 48 hours, approximately 90% of cases occur after 48 hours. The eruption is characteristically evanescent, with lesions appearing and disappearing within minutes to hours.


Physical Examination

Asymptomatic small, yellowish papules or pustules are present on the skin. These are usually seen on dependent areas, generally starting on the trunk. They then tend to spread centripetally. The lesions are surrounded by a distinctive blotchy erythematous halo on the trunk, extremities, and face. They do not occur on the palms and soles.



No complications or sequelae are noted with this eruption. Because of the presence of eosinophils within the lesions, investigators suspect an association with atopic disease; however, studies examining these potential links to atopy have not demonstrated any clear association.