Baby Pink and Red Eye: Everything You Need to Know

Baby Pink and Red Eye: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to having a baby, it’s not always plain sailing. There will be plenty of exciting moments, but sometimes there can be moments of panic mixed into that excitement. While this may be the case, we want to help ease your mind when dealing with pink eye in babies or toddlers.

That’s why we’ll be showing you everything there is to know about dealing with pink/red eyes in babies. We know that this can be a scary occurrence, but there is no need to panic.

We’ll be breaking everything down into easy-to-read sections for you to follow, this way you can skip around if you feel you need to. Here is a look at what we’ll be going over today:

  • The different types of pink/red eye
  • What do the symptoms of red/pink eye look like?
  • Treating a baby or toddler with pink/red eye
  • When to call a doctor
  • How to prevent red/pink eye in babies
  • Final thoughts

Now that you know what we’ll be going over, let’s dive right into the facts.

Types of Pink/Red Eye in Babies or Toddlers

When dealing with pink eye in babies and toddlers, it’s definitely important to know what the cause of the condition can be. Therefore, we’ll be breaking down each type of red/pink eye individually. The four types that we’ll be looking at are:

  • Viral
  • Bacterial
  • Allergic
  • Irritation


A virus is hard to treat with antibiotics, and will often require home remedies. Also, it can be quite difficult to determine whether or not you’re dealing with viral pink eye. This is due to the fact that it will usually be caused by a virus like the common cold.

So how does the virus manifest within the baby’s eye?

The virus can reach your infant’s eye in a few different ways. It can either be transmitted from person to person, or it could have reached a baby’s eyes through the mucus membranes.


Bacterial pink/red eye is caused by a type of bacteria, and can usually be treated with targeted antibiotics. Again, it’s not going to be easy to tell the difference, because the symptoms of bacterial pink eye will be very similar to that of viral pink eye.

How does a baby get bacterial pink eye?

A baby can come into contact with the bacteria via another person, or it can travel from another part of their body. By coming into contact with areas that are housing the bacteria by touching them, they can get transfer it to their body through their mouth or eyes. This is why making sure your baby has clean hands is extremely important.


Allergic pink/red eye is another form of pink eye, but this condition is usually caused by something other than a virus or bacteria. In this case, your baby’s immune system could be having a negative response to a foreign object. Some of these foreign objects can include common allergens such as:

  • Pollen
  • A seasonal change
  • Dander
  • Different grass types


Pink/red eye from irritants is more common than the others. This is not a condition persists for a long period of time, as long as the irritant is not continually present.

What causes these irritations?

Pink/red eye from irritants can be caused by a number of things. It can be from allergies, but it can also be caused by foreign objects becoming lodged within a baby’s eye(s). So if you notice that the eye is very red, there is a good chance that some form of debris could be trapped inside.

What Do the Symptoms of Red/Pink Eye Look Like?

Now, before we talk about treatments for pink eye in babies, it’s important that you know the symptoms.

Here is a quick look at some of the symptoms caused by pink eye in babies:

  • Red or pink eyes (naturally!)
  • Crust forming around the eyes
  • Eyelids that appear swollen
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy eyes

These are the primary symptoms to look out for in young babies or toddlers.

Treating a Baby or Toddler With Pink/Red Eye

Now that you know what each type of pink/red eye is in babies or toddlers, it’s time to take a look at how to treat these conditions. There are different ways to tackle each of them.


When it comes to treating viral pink eye, there is not much that you can do. This is due to the fact that viral conjunctivitis is resistant to antibiotics, which means that the best you can do is alleviate the symptoms.

The best way to reduce symptoms are actually quite simple. You can start by making sure you rinse or wash out your baby’s eyes with a damp cloth. Also, if the symptoms are severe, you can use a warm cloth to apply gentle pressure on the eye(s).


If your baby has bacterial conjunctivitis, then a treatment exists. Bacterial infections are susceptible to antibiotics, which means that a topical treatment in the form of eye drops will do the trick. In most cases baby’s eye will tend to clear up within a few days.

How do I apply antibiotics to my baby’s eyes?

We all know that babies can be resistant to treatment. This can make it hard to use eye drops. Although it’s tough, remember that getting a portion of the solution into the corner of your baby’s eye will actually get the job done.


Unfortunately, dealing with allergic pink/red eye can be very tricky. This is due to the fact that it can be hard to determine what the allergen might be, which can make it hard for your doctor to prescribe any type of medication.

What is usually prescribed for allergic red/pink eye?

As we mentioned before, it can be a tricky thing to treat, but most doctors will prescribe a type of antihistamine. This is an anti-allergen that will combat the baby’s immune response.


Irritation based pink/red eye is actually the easiest form of pink eye to treat. This is due to the fact that it’s not an immune based response, which means you can rinse the eye on your own. If the eye begins to clear up after the irritant is gone, then the battle is over.

While most types of pink/red eye will take care of themselves on their own, we always recommend contacting a health care professional before rushing into any treatment.

When to Call a Doctor

While most cases of infant red/pink eye can be taken care of at home, you’ll still need a doctor to finalize a diagnosis. This will be conducted in the way of an eye exam, and should be done as fast as you can.

If you notice that your child has red/pink eyes, and they seem to be irritated, it’s definitely time to call your doctor. From there, you can receive a diagnosis, and you’ll have the guidance you need to treat your child. While you may want to wait, you should never take risks with the health of your baby on the line.

Luckily, most of the time, pink/red eye is not a major cause for concern. A doctor will rarely feel the need to order tests, which means that the issue can be resolved within a very timely manner.

Also, keep in mind that your baby will be contagious for up to 2 weeks if the pink/red eye is caused by a virus or bacteria. Therefore, if you notice that your baby’s eyes are red for an extended period of time, be sure to see a doctor to halt the spread.

How to Prevent Red/Pink Eye in Babies

We’ve gone over most of the facts surrounding pink eye in babies, but prevention is key. Keep in mind that there is actually a good chance that a baby will develop pink eye at some point, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be teaching good prevention practices.

Here is a quick list of some great ways to prevent pink eye in infants and toddlers:

  • Make sure their hands are clean
  • Use clean towels
  • Make sure that bed sheets, blankets, pillows, and other bed essentials are changed frequently
  • Keep your infant or toddler away from other kids that may have the condition

There isn’t that much you can do to prevent pink eye in babies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with pink/red eye in infants can be a frightening experience. Also, with many different types of pink/red eye to deal with, it can be hard to determine what you’re dealing with.

With that being said, if you ever feel a bit nervous or at a loss, please feel free to refer back to this post as a guide. Caring for your baby should be exciting, not scary, and we want to keep it that way for you.

Now that you know the facts, we hope that panic doesn’t set in the next time your baby has red eyes.