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.
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Jeri Ford, RN, BSN, CPN