BACKGROUND Collodion baby syndrome (CBS) is a pathological cutaneous condition present at birth and is due to the presence of a thick horny layer of the skin. Exfoliation begins early with drying and cracking of the collodion membrane. The cracks may either remain superficial or they may be deeper and affect the superficial dermis, in which case, fissures form. This study of CBS provides information on the clinical aspect of fissures, their incidence, their pathological consequences and therapeutic approaches. PATIENTS AND METHODS In our study, diagnosis of CBS was made clinically based on the presence of neonatal collodion membrane. Identification of typical cracks and fissures was made on clinical examination and their site, chronology and consequences were assessed. Routine bacteriological examination of fissures was performed twice weekly on a clinically infected specimen taken from an inguinal fissure. The therapeutic protocol for CBS has been validated and involved use of sterile vaseline oil. Fissures were disinfected. RESULTS Cracks are a constant feature. Fissures were seen in 20 of the 33 cases of CBS with the site of predilection being large skinfolds. Morphine was necessary for pain relief in three cases. Pathogenic organisms were isolated in all cases of inflammatory fissures. Dissemination of septicaemia was confirmed in four cases and the offending organism was isolated from the inflammatory fissures in all cases. Candida albicans was present in all cases of fissures in the inguinal folds or between the buttocks. Keratotic adhesions occurred after healing of digital fissures and a surgical procedure was required in this event. DISCUSSION Fissures are lesions occurring secondarily to cracks and they were seen in 20 of the 33 cases of CBS. These secondary lesions are rarely mentioned in the literature and the reasons for this oversight are discussed. Fissures are potential complications in all states of CBS, particularly where the collodion is thick. Topical treatment does not prevent transformation of cracks to fissures in all cases. Where fissures are not inflammatory, routine prescription of oral antibiotics is not always necessary. Regular bacteriological monitoring at several different fissure sites allows selection of appropriate antibiotic therapy. The main therapeutic goal in CBS is to treat painful fissures and superinfection.