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Diaper Rash


Diaper rash can occur at any age but is most common between 12 and 24 months.


Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has increased redness, crusting, pus, or large blisters.
  • Your child's rash gets worse or does not get better in 2 or 3 days.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

What causes diaper rash:

  • Irritated skin from urine and bowel movement
  • Not changing his diapers often enough
  • Skin sensitivity or allergy to chemicals in soaps, lotions, or fabric softeners
  • Hot or humid weather
  • Bacteria or yeast
  • Eczema

Signs and symptoms of diaper rash:

The rash may be located on the skin surface, in the skin folds, or both. Your child may have any of the following:

  • Red and shiny skin
  • Raw and tender skin
  • Raised bumps or scales
  • Red spots

How to treat diaper rash:

  • Change your child's diaper often. Change your child's diaper right away if it is wet or soiled from a bowel movement. Check his diaper every hour during the day, and at least once during the night.
  • Clean your child's diaper area with plain, warm water. Use a squirt bottle, wet cotton balls, or a moist, soft cloth to clean your child's diaper area. Allow the skin to air dry, or gently pat it dry with a clean cloth. Do not use baby wipes or soap during diaper changes. This may cause the rash area to burn or sting. Make sure your child's diaper area is completely dry before you put on a new diaper.
  • Leave your child's diaper area open to air as much as possible. Take off your child's diaper when you are at home. Place a large towel or waterproof pad underneath your child while he plays or naps. The exposure to air can help heal the rash.
  • Do not rub the diaper rash. This could make your child's skin worse.
  • Protect your child's skin with cream or ointment. Make sure his diaper area is clean and dry before you apply cream or ointment. Petroleum jelly or zinc oxide will help heal his rash.
  • Use extra-absorbent disposable diapers. These pull moisture away from your child's skin so it will not be as irritated. If your child wears cloth diapers, use a stay-dry liner to help pull moisture away from the skin.

If your child wears cloth diapers:

Presoak all diapers that have bowel movement on them. Wash diapers in hot water and dye-free or perfume-free laundry soap. Rinse them at least 2 times to get rid of extra laundry soap. Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. Try not to use plastic pants. If you must use plastic pants, attach them loosely around the diaper. This will help air flow in and out of the diaper and keep your child's skin drier.

Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Diaper Rash (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptom checker

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.