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Posted by Dr. Monica Wonnacott | January 23, 2016

Beware The Diaper Rash

Nearly every child in diapers will experience a diaper rash at some point. The rash can range from red skin in the diaper area to open and bleeding sores. To fix or prevent the problem, you must first know what causes the problem.


  1. When urine and stool touch the skin for too long (i.e., too much moisture)
  2. Rubbing or chafing
  3. Yeast infection
  4. Bacterial infection
  5. Allergic reaction (esp. to diaper materials)


  1. Frequent diaper changes. Do not allow a child to stay in a wet or soiled diaper.
  2. Gently clean the area with water and a soft cloth. Use soap only if stool will not easily come off. Avoid wipes with alcohol or perfume, they can irritate the skin.
  3. Allow area to dry fully (by air or patting dry). Do not rub irritated skin.
  4. Use a thick protective barrier cream or ointment. I usually recommend ones with zinc oxide or petroleum jelly. Remember, they do not have to be wiped completely off at each diaper change (take off the top layer that may be soiled, careful not to rub the skin, and apply more on top).
  5. Make sure the diaper fits properly. Diapers that are too tight or too small can cause rubbing when soiled (esp. at night).

When to see the pediatrician:

  1. If the diaper rash isn’t improved after 2-3 days of treatment.
  2. There are blisters or sores.
  3. There is associated fever.
  4. The rash is bright red with red spots at the edges (esp. in light of taking an antibiotic).
  5. The rash is very painful.
  6. The rash is getting worse.