Preventing Diaper Rash
All babies will develop a diaper rash at some point in their lives. We hope to provide you with some helpful hints to prevent diaper rashes, to help you recognize when a diaper rash needs to be seen by your pediatrician, and to give you some tips on treating a typical diaper rash.
Rashes are most commonly caused by too much moisture in the diaper area which leads to irritation of the skin. Other causes can include irritation by chemicals in the diapers, wipes, or diaper creams. The following is a list of ways to prevent rashes in the diaper area:
- Change the diaper frequently to keep the area dry.
- Use a barrier cream such as Desitin, A&D, or Balmex to provide protection of the skin against the stool. Always apply the cream to completely dry skin only.
- If a diaper is only wet, clean the baby’s diaper area with a cloth and warm water only. Wipes can often cause irritation to sensitive skin.
- If there is stool present, clean with a cloth and warm water. Sometimes you may need to use a mild soap and be sure to rinse well. Don’t forget to apply the barrier cream after the skin is completely dry
- If using baby powder to create a dry environment, be very careful. Baby powder can cause severe breathing problems if inhaled by a baby. You should always place the powder on the palm of your hand away from the baby and rub a small amount in the diaper area. Use sparingly because too much will just ‘puff’ out of the diaper when you pick the baby up and can be dangerous.
Typical diaper rashes appear as redness of the skin in patches. Sometimes these areas become slightly raised. If there is any skin breakdown, bleeding, pimples, blisters, crusting, or red bumps, please have your pediatrician look at the rash. Sometimes a typical diaper rash can become infected with yeast that lives on the skin and this type of rash will not go away with over the counter creams. A prescription anti-fungal cream or ointment is required. The other major concern is when a rash becomes infected with bacteria that lives on the skin. This can be very serious and requires oral antibiotics. When in doubt, we are always happy to take a look.
Once your baby develops a rash, your best bet is to follow the steps above for preventing a rash and to apply a thick layer of barrier cream to protect the skin and to allow it to heal. From our personal experience, there is a diaper cream called Dr. Smith’s which can be purchased at any pharmacy that is very effective in treating diaper rash. It is more expensive than other brands, but works very well. Ask us for samples next time you are visiting your pediatrician. Whenever possible, allowing the rash to be exposed to air will often help in the healing process. If the rash is not improving with these steps or is getting worse, please bring your baby in for us to take a look at the rash.