Diaper Rash: The Bottom Line on Baby Bottoms


gloria-verret-author-banner 010215 Any parent will have a pretty good idea about what diaper rash is because it is a very common problem. Up to one third of all diaper wearing babies have a diaper rash at any given time! I found a cutely titled article on diaper rash written by British advanced practice nurses, titled “The Bottom Line on Nappy Rash” and they reported diaper rash statistics from around the world. In the United States, 75 percent of parents reported in a survey that their infant had diaper rash. Diaper rash affects boys, girls and all ethnic groups. Some babies have chronic diaper rash, while some babies have it occasionally. The most common age for diaper rash babies is nine to 12 months of age.

What are the Symptoms of Diaper Rash? (Tweet this)

baby in diaper 2Mild Diaper Rash If your baby has mild diaper rash, you will see small pink or red spots or a rash. Your baby will not show pain or discomfort. Moderate to Severe Diaper Rash Both of  these types of diaper rash can be more painful and your baby may cry and look like they are in distress. The spots will be brighter red or the skin may be cracked and broken or blistered. The rash may spread down to the legs or up the abdomen.

What Causes Diaper Rash?

  • Irritation or chafing of your baby’s diaper
  • Friction
  • Prolonged contact with urine or feces in your baby’s diaper.
  • Babies have many folds and creases around their private parts, which hold moisture and stool.

Triggers of Diaper Rash (Tweet this)

Diaper rash isn’t always caused by unchanged diapers or chafing on your baby’s bottom. Below are some of the most common triggers:

  • Teething can trigger diaper rash. When babies are teething, it causes irritability, increased salivation, runny nose, decreased appetite and loose stools.
  • Diarrhea. Prolonged exposure to moisture, urine and feces causes the skin to break down.
  • Suffering a cold. If your baby has a cold, it may cause loose stools and some parents may tend to bathe the baby less because of the cold symptoms, increasing the chance that a diaper rash may occur.
  • Sleeping through the night. When your baby starts to sleep through the night, many parents may sleep though too. The baby’s skin will be exposed to urine and feces because of the delay in changing diapers.
  • Antibiotics. This disrupts the normal protective barrier of healthy bacteria in the intestine and so diarrhea may occur.
  • Switching from breast milk to formula.
  • Changing laundry detergents.

How to Help Your Baby

Regardless of the cause there are some preventive measures and some treatment measures you can take, as early as today!

  • Decrease exposure to skin irritants.
  • Let your baby go “full monty.” Leave their diapers off as long as practical to let their skin get fresh air. When the skin is covered there is increased hydration, increased skin pH balance and increased friction, all of which can lead to diaper rash.
  • Change the diapers as often as needed.
  • Do not use diaper wipes that have fragrance or alcohol.
  • Use water-based diaper wipes.
  • Pat gently when cleaning. No forceful rubbing.
  • Bathe your baby daily but not more often than that. Do not use soaps, bubble baths, lotions or talcum powder.
  • Use a barrier cream with zinc. Terry Renteria, RN, wound ostomy care nurse (WOCN) specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, points out that those types of barrier creams do not work for every baby, so try petroleum-based barrier ointment if zinc-based ointment doesn’t work. If you’re not sure which to buy, ask the pharmacist or your child’s pediatrician. It may take some time to find the best cream or ointment for your baby.

The bottom line is diaper rash prevention, knowing triggers, being watchful and treating your baby’s diaper rash when it first shows up so that it doesn’t become severe. If any of your friends or family are caring for their baby or expecting a baby, I encourage you to forward this blog post to them to get them off to a great start.