The term “diaper rash” is used to describe a skin irritation or rash that occurs on your baby’s bottom. It is a common condition that typically affects babies 8-10 months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that more than half of babies between 4 and 15 months will develop diaper rash at least once over a period of two months. Signs of diaper rash include small bumps or redness on the buttocks, genitals, thigh folds, and lower abdomen.
Most instances of diaper rash are caused by leaving a soiled or wet diaper on for too long. The moisture from a soiled diaper can damage your baby’s skin, resulting in chafing and irritation. Diaper rash can also be caused by the introduction of new foods or if your baby is taking antibiotics, because these can cause diarrhea that may irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.
Ensuring that your baby’s diaper area is clean and dry is the most effective treatment method for diaper rash. You can also reduce moisture affecting your baby’s skin by changing a soiled or wet diaper as soon as possible. Other ways you can treat diaper rash include:
- Use a soft cloth and water to clean the diaper area. Mild soap can be used to clean after a bowel movement. You can also use disposable wipes, but make sure they do not contain alcohol or fragrance. These ingredients can cause further irritation.
- Apply a thick layer of a cream or ointment that contains petroleum jelly or zinc oxide. Avoid using cornstarch and talcum powder because these can be dangerous for a baby’s lungs if inhaled.
- Pat the area dry, or better yet, allow it to air dry before putting a diaper on. Never rub the affected area.
- Make sure the diaper is not on too tight. Keep it loose so air can circulate and the soiled and wet parts do not come into contact with skin. When your baby is napping, you can remove the diaper and lay him or her on a towel.
- Try soaking your baby’s bottom in an oatmeal bath. Avoid using baby powder.
Diaper rash can also be caused by a yeast called Candida, a common fungus that likes to grow in warm, moist places. A candidal diaper rash is often beefy red with small red dots, called satellite lesions, along the outer edges of the rash. This type of rash can only be treated by a prescription cream so be sure to have your child seen by the pediatrician if you are concerned.
- Diaper rash is common and usually affects babies 8-10 months old.
- Diaper rash is frequently caused by prolonged exposure to a soiled or wet diaper, but it can also be caused by antibiotics and the introduction of solid foods.
- Keeping the affected area clean and dry is the most effective method of treating diaper rash.
- Other treatment methods include applying creams, ointments, keeping the diaper loose and soaking in an oatmeal bath.