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Diaper Rash

Brief Version

What is diaper rash?

Diaper rash is any rash on the skin area covered by a diaper.

Almost every child gets diaper rashes. The mixture of bacteria from bowel movements (BMs) and urine irritates the skin. Diarrhea causes rashes in most children, too. If rashes do not get better, your child may get a yeast infection. You will know your baby has a yeast infection when the rash becomes bright red and raw, covers a large area, and is surrounded by red dots.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Change diapers frequently. Keep the area dry and clean. BMs cause most of the skin damage.
  • Let your baby's bottom get more air. Leave your baby's bottom exposed to the air as much as possible each day. When the diaper is on, fasten it loosely so that air can get between the diaper and the skin.
  • Rinse the skin with warm water. Don't use soap.
  • Use creams and ointments. Most babies don't need any diaper cream unless the skin is dry and cracked. An ointment is also needed whenever your child has diarrhea. Your baby's ointment is __________________.
  • Use bleach on cloth diapers. If you use cloth diapers and wash them yourself, use bleach to clean them. During the regular cycle, use any detergent. Then run a second cycle with warm water and 1 cup of bleach.

Call your child's doctor right away if:

  • The rash looks infected (pimples, blisters, boils, sores).
  • Your child starts acting very sick.

Call your child's doctor within 24 hours if:

  • The rash isn't much better in 3 days.
  • The diaper rash becomes bright red or raw.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2002-09-25
Last reviewed: 2006-03-01
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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