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Newborn Medical Series: Diaper Rash

A diaper rash is a skin rash that happens anywhere in the area that is covered by a diaper. Diaper rashes are very common in newborns and infants and can occur in any child who wears a diaper. Most diaper rashes can be treated at home and go away in a few days.


  • Urine or stool in the diaper- both urine and stool are very irritating to newborn skin. Sitting in a diaper for a long period of time can increase the severity of the rash.

  • Taking antibiotics- antibiotics can cause diarrhea, which will be more likely to cause irritation to the baby’s skin

  • Illness- any sickness that can cause diarrhea will increase a baby’s likelihood of getting diaper rash

  • Perfumes or dyes in a diaper that the baby may be allergic to

  • Skin conditions or infections that happen in the diaper area but are not caused by the diaper


  • Red, painful, or itchy skin in the diaper area

  • Raised, peeling, or scaly areas

  • Yellow blisters filled with fluid

  • Areas of open skin, sometimes bleeding


Most people can treat at home and do not need to see a doctor or nurse. If the rash is not getting better after a couple days of treatment, or your child is showing other symptoms of being sick, please call your pediatrician.

  • Take the diaper off as much as possible to air out the skin.

  • Change the baby’s diaper every 2-3 hours, or more frequently with diarrhea.

  • Gently clean the area- use warm water and a soft cloth. If you use soap, use one that is mild and unscented. If the skin is peeling or sore, you can use a plastic squeeze bottle filled with warm water. Pat the area dry with a soft towel afterwards. This method is strongly preferred for babies with diaper rash over the baby wipes. Wipes can sometimes cause more irritation on already sensitive skin.

  • Put a skin ointment or paste on the area each time you change the diaper- we prefer products with zinc oxide in it. Calmoseptine and A&D ointments are also favorites.

  • Use disposable diapers instead of cloth diapers while your baby has the diaper rash.

  • If the diaper rash is severe enough, your doctor may prescribe a cream with medication in it.

If you think your child is sick, has a fever, has diarrhea, or a diaper rash, please always consult your pediatrician.

As always- like, comment, and share!

Jeri Ford, RN, BSN, CPN


UpToDate, Inc


Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

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