Diaper rash is an irritation of the skin normally covered by the diaper. The rash includes reddening, sometimes with small pimple-like dots, and appears most obvious on the lower abdomen, genitals, around the anus, and in the folds of skin in the groin. The buttocks are less often involved. Most babies get diaper rash some time in the first year of life, especially around 9 months to a year.
Diaper Rash Causes
Anything that irritates and has prolonged contact with a baby's skin can bring about diaper rash. Urine and stool are both irritating and can cause a rash when a diaper is left on too long. Allergies to plastic pants, disposable diapers, detergents, and fabric softeners (if you use cloth diapers), lotions, and powders can also cause a rash. Diaper rash is less common in breastfed infants and more common in those who are taking solid foods or who have diarrhea.
Yeast Infections & Diaper Rash
If your baby takes antibiotics, the normal, healthy bacteria in the intestine will reduce and allow the normally present yeast to increase. The increased numbers of yeast in the stool can result in skin infection and irritation, and can cause a persistent diaper rash usually requiring medication. Diaper rashes from yeast infection usually go away quickly after treatment with medication to eliminate the yeast.
Diaper Rash Treatment
Treating the non-yeast diaper rash is simple: eliminate the irritants to the skin. Change diapers frequently and clean your baby carefully each time with a soft cloth, plain water, and a mild soap (after a stool, not after each urination). The more you keep your baby's skin dry, the more likely the rash will go away. If you are using any lotions or powders on your baby's skin, try eliminating them for a few days. Not using fabric softeners or changing detergents also makes a difference in some babies who wear cloth diapers.
If after two days of more frequent diaper changes and skin cleansing the rash is still present, try zinc oxide (a common ingredient in over-the-counter diaper rash creams) or A&D ointment® to protect the skin.
If your baby's diapers are not being changed frequently at a childcare center, it will be hard to get rid of the diaper rash. You should contact the childcare supervisor and explain the situation, possibly even asking them to keep track of how often they change your child's diaper. You might also give the daycare some Desitin® or similar ointment to use with each diaper change.
If the rash does not improve within three days, is spreading, or develops blisters or pustules (pus-filled, raised blisters), you should contact your child's physician.