Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Everyone wants a happy, healthy baby, however, babies often experience discomfort from diaper rash – a condition that causes skin underneath the diaper to become red and tender. If your baby’s diaper rash is not going away, or if you have questions or concerns about caring for your baby’s skin, always consult a healthcare professional for advice.
Is diaper rash a sign of neglectful care?
Parents often feel that the rash is a visual representation of poor care taking skills. Skin irritations causes can be due to many reasons and not necessarily neglectful care. Babies have very delicate skin, and sometimes despite a parent’s best effort, diaper rash still occurs.
Diaper rashes grow in warm, moist places. They are particularly at home in your baby’s diaper. These rashes can look like red splotches on your baby’s bottom, or red scales in the genital area.
Diaper rash can result from:
1. irritation by stool and urine
2. new foods or products
3. sensitive skin
4. a too-tight diaper
Help your baby by following tips below to prevent and treat diaper rash at home:
1. Keep it clean and dry. When your baby has a diaper rash, you must be vigilant about diaper changing. Change dirty diapers as soon as possible.
The most important tip for treating and preventing diaper rash is to change all dirty diapers – even if they are just wet – as soon as possible. This reduces moisture on the skin that can inflame a rash.
Make sure the diaper is not wrapped too tightly.
Whenever your baby is not wearing a diaper, lay them down on a towel. Also, give them some time without a diaper during the day. This may help keep the diaper area dry.
Rinse cloth diapers two to three times to remove all soap after you’ve cleaned them, as some babies may be sensitive to detergents or their fragrances. Also, super absorbent disposable diapers can help keep your baby’s skin dry.
2. Be gentle when cleaning the diaper area. Use water and a soft washcloth or baby wipes that are alcohol free. Clean the area gently with a soft cloth or a squirt of water from a bottle. Wipes are fine, just be gentle. Do not rub the skin too hard and avoid wipes with alcohol. Use mild soap or a soap-free cleanser when you give your baby a bath. Be sure to pat — not scrub and allow the area to air dry. Let your child go diaper-free as long as possible to let the skin dry and heal.
3. Apply pastes or diaper creams that contain zinc oxide to soothe the skin and prevent direct contact with stools, urine and other irritants. This is especially important if the skin stays red between diaper changes. If your baby has severe diaper rash, layer it on like you are frosting a cake. There is no need to remove the cream with each diaper change. It can be fully removed at the end of the day.
4. Select the appropriate laundry detergent. When it comes to preventing and treating diaper rash, less is more. Avoid using highly fragrance containing products, including fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free are much less irritating for many babies.
5. Use clothes that are breathable for your baby. Rubber pants or tight plastic covers over a diaper can promote a moist, hot environment.
6. Seek physician advice if your baby develops signs of a skin infection or conditions persists beyond 3 days. Signs of a skin infection may include a fever, blisters, pus that drains from the rash, and a rash that does not go away after treatment or worsens. Another sign of a skin infection is if the baby is in pain or is hard to console.
Zohra Ashpari and Rachel Nail. Tips for Treating Diaper Rash. Healthline . 2 December 2018.
Diaper rash: How to treat. The American Academy of Dermatology Website.