Diaper Rash Information
Definition: Diaper rash is inflamed skin that appears as a patchwork of bright red skin on your baby. This can occur anytime a baby wears diapers (more common in first 15 months) most commonly occurs between 8-10 months of age. There are two basic types of diaper rashes, those related to diaper use and those not related to diaper use. You can’t prevent all rashes, but you can prevent some.
When to go to the doctor: If your baby has signs and symptoms of a diaper rash that doesn’t improve after a few days of treatment at home or anytime symptoms are severe or occur along with a fever.
PREVENT or MINIMIZE DIAPER RASH BY…
- Change diapers often (not matter what type you use). Bacteria starts to multiply after 20 minutes of exposure to your baby’s skin.
- Clean your baby’s bottom with warm water and a mild soap as part of each diaper change. This will remove enzymes, microorganisms and acidic residue. NOTE: Soaps and wet wipes will sting if a rash is present; use a moisturizing non-greasy cream (if the condition is not eczema) or a bath oil instead.
- Gently wipe your baby from front to back (never wipe from back to front, especially on girls or you could spread bacteria into their genitalia). Don’t forget to wipe the creases in the thighs and buttocks!
- Pat your baby dry with clean cotton (no scrubbing) or let them air dry prior to putting clean diaper on.
- Don’t over tighten diapers (tight fitting diapers set up a moist environment).
- Give your baby’s bottom more time without a diaper (drying the skin helps prevent some kinds of rashes).
- If you wash at home, wash cloth diapers carefully (fragrances and fabric softeners can cause some rashes).
- Consider using ointment regularly (use either a petroleum jelly or zinc oxide product) for their skin protection.
- After diaper changes wash your hands well (to prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast to you, your baby, other children).
IF YOUR BABY DEVELOPS A RASH … Identify which type of rash it is
- Irritant - Irritant diaper rash looks like pink or red patches on the skin covered by the diaper. The groin folds are more protected from urine and stool, so this skin usually looks normal.
- Yeast Infection - Clues that the rash might be due to a yeast infection include shiny, bright red or pink patches with sharp edges. This rash may also have little pink bumps or pimples. In severe cases, there may be sores or cracking skin that oozes or bleeds. Unlike with irritant diaper rash, a yeast diaper rash is usually worse in the groin folds.
- Bacterial Infection - Bright red skin around the anus can be a clue to a strep infection. Yellow crusting, weeping, or pimples can be a clue to a staphylococcus or "staph" infection. Any infection in the diaper area needs to be confirmed and treated by your child's doctor.
- Allergy - Clues that might suggest an allergy include a rash that happens after every exposure to that product and a rash that shows up everywhere that product is applied.
- Avoid any products that may trigger a further rash. Avoid using plastic pants or diapers with plastic edges.
- Wash your baby’s bottom with water after each diaper change; AVOID soaps and wipes that contain alcohol or fragrances.
- Give your baby as much diaper-free time as possible so that their skin has a chance to dry and start healing.
- Change your baby more frequently than normal.
- Apply prescription creams according to directions. The doctor may have prescribed a topical steroid and/or antifungal cream. It should be applied once or twice a day. Do not apply it to normal skin. When the rash has cleared up completely, do not continue to apply the topical steroid. The anti-yeast preparation should be applied for a least a week more than it takes to clear the rash. Ask your doctor if you are not sure how, when and where to apply the cream(s).
Websites with Pictures that help you identify which rash your baby may have:
- Desitin’s website – www.desitin.com/how-to-identify-diaper-rash