What causes diaper rash? 

    Diaper rash can occur at any age but is most common between 12 and 24 months. Diaper rash may be caused by any of the following:

          Irritated skin from urine and bowel movement

          Not changing his diapers often enough

          Skin sensitivity or allergy to chemicals in soaps, lotions, or fabric softeners

          Hot or humid weather

          Bacteria or yeast


    What are the signs and symptoms of diaper rash? 

    The rash may be located on the skin surface, in the skin folds, or both. Your child may have any of the following:

          Red and shiny skin

          Raw and tender skin

          Raised bumps or scales

          Red spots

    How is diaper rash treated?

          Change your child's diaper often. Change your child's diaper right away if it is wet or soiled from a bowel movement. Check his diaper every hour during the day, and at least once during the night

          Clean your child's diaper area with plain, warm water. Use a squirt bottle, wet cotton balls, or a moist, soft cloth to clean your child's diaper area. Allow the skin to air dry, or gently pat it dry with a clean cloth. Do not use baby wipes or soap during diaper changes. This may cause the rash area to burn or sting. Make sure your child's diaper area is completely dry before you put on a new diaper

          Leave your child's diaper area open to air as much as possible. Take off your child's diaper when you are at home. Place a large towel or waterproof pad underneath your child while he plays or naps. The exposure to air can help heal the rash

          Do not rub the diaper rash. This could make your child's skin worse

          Protect your child's skin with cream or ointment. Make sure his diaper area is clean and dry before you apply cream or ointment. Petroleum jelly or zinc oxide will help heal his rash

          Use extra-absorbent disposable diapers. These pull moisture away from your child's skin so it will not be as irritated. If your child wears cloth diapers, use a stay-dry liner to help pull moisture away from the skin

    What if my child wears cloth diapers?

    Presoak all diapers that have bowel movement on them. Wash diapers in hot water and dye-free or perfume-free laundry soap. Rinse them at least 2 times to get rid of extra laundry soap. Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. Try not to use plastic pants. If you must use plastic pants, attach them loosely around the diaper. This will help air flow in and out of the diaper and keep your child's skin drier.

    When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

          Your child has increased redness, crusting, pus, or large blisters

          Your child's rash gets worse or does not get better in 2 or 3 days

          You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care


    You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. 

    © 2017 Truven Health Analytics LLC All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.  

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