How to Treat Your Baby’s Diaper Rash

Ask any new mom or dad what their least favorite part about becoming a parent is and the answer you will most often get is changing their baby’s diaper. It is a task that no one loves, but it is important because parents must be aware of the development of diaper rash.

Diaper rash occurs when the skin on your baby’s bottom, thighs, or genital area becomes inflamed. The result is the appearance of a patchwork of bright red skin or scales. While diaper rash can be alarming to parents, it is actually fairly common among babies.

In addition to the physical signs of diaper rash, your baby may also display a change in their disposition. Babies with diaper rash are uncomfortable and will generally seem fussier. They will also most likely cry more during diaper changes.

Diaper rash grows in warm, moist places and the most common cause for its development is when a baby’s diaper isn’t changed frequently enough. When a diaper isn’t changed often, the exposure to stool or urine can cause irritation.

Other causes of diaper rash can include:

  • Sensitive skin
  • Allergic reaction to the diaper
  • Introduction of new foods
  • Diaper being placed on too tight, resulting in chaffing
  • Bacterial or yeast infection

Diaper rash is more likely to develop when babies get older (9-12 months old) and are more mobile and begin a diet of solid foods. Sleeping in dirty diapers can increase your baby’s chances of developing diaper rash.  Taking antibiotics and having diarrhea can also be contributing factors.

If your baby develops diaper rash, be sure to change their diaper frequently. Try dressing them in loose, breathable clothing and even allow them go diaper free for as long as possible.  When cleaning your child, gently pat the infected area and avoid wiping or rubbing. Use water when changing, but if a more thorough cleaning is required, only use mild soaps and avoid any products with fragrances or alcohol.  Parents can also use paste or barrier creams that contain zinc to soothe the skin and prevent contact with feces or other irritants. Avoid using baby powder as it can harm a baby’s lungs.

In most cases diaper rash will clear up on its own when the above techniques are followed, but you should contact your pediatrician if the rash fails to improve or gets worse within 2-3 days, if you notice yellow, fluid-filled bumps, or your baby develops a fever. These may be signs of an infection.

To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.