Diaper Rash in Children: Care Instructions
Any rash on the area covered by the diaper is called diaper rash. Most diaper rashes are caused by wearing a wet diaper for too long. This allows urine and stool to irritate the skin. Infection with bacteria or yeast can also cause diaper rash.
Most diaper rashes clear up within 2 to 3 days when treated at home.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
- Change diapers as soon as they are wet or dirty. Before you put a new diaper on your baby, gently wash the diaper area with warm water. Rinse and pat dry. Wash your hands before and after each diaper change.
- Air the diaper area for 5 to 10 minutes before you put on a new diaper.
- Use a diaper cream such as A+D Ointment, Desitin, or zinc oxide with each diaper change.
- Do not use baby wipes that contain alcohol or propylene glycol while your baby has a rash. These may burn the skin.
- Wash cloth diapers with mild detergent. Do not use bleach.
- Do not use plastic pants for a while if your child has a diaper rash. They can trap moisture against the skin.
- Do not use baby powder while your baby has a rash. The powder can build up in the skin folds and hold moisture. This lets bacteria grow.
- If rashes continue, try a different brand of disposable diaper. Some babies react to one brand more than another brand.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your baby has pimples, blisters, open sores, or scabs in the diaper area.
- Your baby has signs of an infection from diaper rash, including:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the rash.
- Pus draining from the rash.
- A fever.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
- Your baby's rash is mainly in the skin folds. This could be a yeast infection.
- Your baby's diaper rash looks like a rash that is on other parts of their body.
- Your baby's rash is not better after 3 days of treatment.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter I429 in the search box to learn more about "Diaper Rash in Children: Care Instructions".
Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine