Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Skip Navigation LinksBoys Town Pediatrics > Knowledge Center > Health Articles > Diaper Rash

Diaper Rash

A diaper rash is a common infant skin irritation that can cause extreme discomfort in areas covered by the diaper. Typically caused by prolonged contact with irritants on the skin from bacteria reactions from stools, almost every baby will experience a diaper rash at some point. 

Symptoms

  • Red, tender skin in the diaper area
  • Baby cries or gets fussy when the diaper area is being cleaned or touched

Prevention

Changing the diaper immediately after your baby has a bowel movement and rinsing the skin with warm water is the most effective method of preventing diaper rash. Make sure your baby's bottom is completely dry before closing the diaper.

Below are additional prevention tips from Boys Town Pediatrics.

  • Diaper wipes. If you prefer to use wipes, try to use fragrance- and preservative-free products.
  • Cloth diaper care. If you use cloth diapers, clean in a manner that removes all bacteria and soap. Follow our cloth diaper hygiene tips.

Treatment

With proper treatment, rashes typically heal after about three days.

  • Change diapers frequently. The key to successful treatment is keeping the area dry and clean so it can heal itself. Check diapers about every hour and if contaminated, change immediately to avoid any further irritations.
  • Keep the skin clean. If the diaper rash is raw, try using warm water and do not wash with soap after every diaper change because it may interfere with healing. Use mild soap (like Dove) only after stools. This helps remove any bacteria left on the skin.
  • Room to breathe. Give your baby’s bottom some air without the diaper each day during naps or after stools. Place a towel or unclosed diaper underneath you baby’s bottom to prevent messes. When wearing a diaper, keep it loose enough so air can circulate.
  • Nighttime care. Try using disposable diapers that can help lock moisture inside the diaper, keeping it away from the skin. Be sure to change the diaper at least once a night until the rash heals.
  • Cream and ointment. If your baby's skin is dry and cracked, applying cream and ointment can help to protect skin after washing off stool. Applying a thick layer creates a barrier between stool and your baby’s skin. Consult with your doctor to learn more about the right cream and ointment for your baby.

When to See a Doctor

If your baby’s rash isn’t getting any better after three days, it may be a yeast infection. Yeast infections can cause the area to become bright red, raw and surrounded by red dots. Non-prescription cream treatments are available, but you may benefit from a visit with your pediatrician.

If the rash becomes bright red or raw, contact your pediatrician right away. 

If bleeding occurs, the rash looks infected (blisters or sores) or your baby starts getting very sick, seek immediate attention.