- Any rash on the skin covered by a diaper
- Limited to diaper-wearing age group (birth to 3 years)
- Secondary infection by yeast or bacteria
- A chemical irritation of the skin from a mixture of stool and urine being left on it
- Worse during bouts of diarrhea
When to call your doctor
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Bright red skin that peels off in sheets
- Large red area with a fever
- Age under 1 month old with tiny water blisters or pimples (like chickenpox) in a cluster
- Age under 1 month old and infection suspected (yellow crusts, spreading redness)
- Age under 1 month old and looks or acts abnormal in any way
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Pimples, blisters, open weeping sores, boils, yellow crusts, red streaks
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Rash is very raw or bleeds
- Has spread beyond the diaper area
- Rash is not improved after 3 days of treatment for yeast
Parent Care at Home If
- Mild diaper rash and you don't think your child needs to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR DIAPER RASH
Change Frequently: Change diapers frequently to prevent skin contact with stool. It may be necessary to get up once during the night to change the diaper.
- Rinse with Warm Water:
- Rinse the baby's skin with lots of warm water during each diaper change.
- Wash with a mild soap (such as Dove) only after stools. (Reason: Frequent use of soap can interfere with healing).
- Avoid diaper wipes. (Reason: They leave a film of bacteria on the skin).
- Increase Air Exposure:
- Expose the bottom to air as much as possible.
- Attach the diaper loosely at the waist to help with air circulation.
- When napping, take the diaper off and lay your child on a towel. (Reason: Dryness reduces the risk of yeast infections).
- Anti-Yeast Cream: If the rash is bright red or does not respond to 3 days of warm water cleansing and air exposure, suspect a yeast infection. Apply Lotrimin cream (no prescription needed) 3 times per day.
- Raw Skin: If the bottom is very raw, soak in warm water for 10 minutes 3 times per day. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of baking soda to the tub of warm water. Then apply Lotrimin cream.
- Sore or Scab on End of the Penis: Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin (no prescription needed) 3 times per day. (Reason: a bacterial infection that can cause painful urination).
- Diarrhea Rash: If your child has diarrhea and a severe rash around the anus, use a protective ointment (barrier ointment) such as petroleum jelly, A&D or Desitin. Otherwise these are not needed. Caution: Wash off the skin before applying.
- Expected Course: With proper treatment these rashes are usually better in 3 days. If they do not respond, a yeast infection has probably occurred.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Rash isn't much better in 3 days on treatment for yeast
- Your child becomes worse
Author: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last reviewed: 9/15/2011
Last revised: 8/1/2011 2:56:01 PM