Finding an angry red rash on your little's one delicate skin while changing his diaper can make you wonder if you've done something wrong.  But experts say that rashes are one of the most common ailments affecting children in their first few years of life-and usually aren't cause for concern.  We have easy tips to help you effectively treat diaper rash and reduce the odds of reoccurrence.

The Cause of Diaper Rash

The skin on your baby's bottom is extremely sensitive. Therefore, when he or she sits in a dirty diaper, the moisture from urine or stools is trapped against the body and can chafe against the skin, causing the all too familiar irritation and redness. Further complicating matters is that this already irritated area can now become more susceptible to having bacteria and yeast set in.

Diaper Rash Treatment

The good news is that most mild rashes can be treated at home without needing a trip to the pediatrician's office. The main thing to remember when it comes to diaper rash treatment is that you want to clean the area and help to keep it dry. 

  • Experts recommend using water to gently rinse off your baby's bottom. If the rash is especially red and raw, you may want to use a bulb syringe or squirt bottle to clean the area without needing to touch it and risk irritating it more. (You'll probably want to avoid using pre-moistened wipes while the area is bothered, since this makes the rash even worse.) Gently pat the area dry.
  • Let the affected area breathe by leaving off the diaper for extended periods of time. This will help the rash to dry out and heal more quickly. (Just be prepared with a towel or pad on hand, since accidents can happen.)
  • Apply a diaper cream to help soothe the area and speed up the healing even more. Some of the popular choices include zinc oxide, butt paste, and hydrocortisone 1 percent and anti-fungal creams. You can find these over-the-counter at most pharmacies and drug stores.
  • Ask the pharmacist for advice on how best to apply the remedy. Depending on the rash, you baby may benefit from layering on more than one type of diaper rash treatment cream before you put the diaper back on.

Prevention is Key

In addition to trying a variety of diaper rash treatments, there are also some simple changes you can do to help prevent this uncomfortable condition from coming back. First, change your baby as often as possible to reduce the amount of time he is dirty and/or wet. If you use disposable diapers, some pediatricians also suggest trying ones that contain a super absorbent gel. In addition, if your baby is prone to rashes, you may want to use a cream like zinc oxide, A & D ointment or petroleum jelly, which can provide a barrier that can help protect the skin from moisture. Also make sure that the diapers aren't too tight, which can further trap moisture inside. Finally, allow your baby to go without a diaper every so often to help the skin breathe and stay dry.

When to See Your Pediatrician

If you baby has a rash that doesn't seem to heal after a few days of treating it on your own or if the area looks particularly raw and painful, has blisters or puss, or seems to be getting worse, always see your pediatrician. Some rashes, particularly those caused by bacteria or fungus, could need more aggressive treatment. In addition, some rashes could be caused by a food allergy. These usually appear as a red ring on your baby's bottom. When this occurs, your doctor can help you to identify the cause.




American Academy of Pediatrics

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