Diaper Rash | Treatment

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How can I prevent and treat diaper rashes?

The key to preventing and treating diaper rash is to keep your baby's diaper area clean, cool and dry.

Change your baby's diaper often, and let him or her go without a diaper when possible to let the air dry his or her skin.

Try placing your baby on an open cloth diaper during nap time. Check the diaper shortly after your baby falls asleep and replace it if it's wet. Babies often urinate right after falling asleep.

Don't use creams that contain boric acid, camphor, phenol, methyl salicylate or compound of benzoin tincture. These things can be harmful.

Tips on preventing and treating diaper rash

  • Check your baby's diaper often and change it as soon as it's wet or soiled.
  • Carefully clean your baby's bottom between diaper changes. Use plain warm (not hot) water with or without a very mild soap.
  • Allow your baby's skin to dry completely before putting on another diaper.
  • Avoid baby wipes and soaps that are scented. The alcohol or fragrance can make skin irritation worse.
  • Use products that contain zinc oxide ointment (such as Desitin Ointment) or petroleum (such as Vaseline) to protect your baby's skin from moisture.
  • Avoid using plastic pants or diapers with plastic edges.
  • After bathing, pat your baby's bottom dry with a towel rather than scrubbing it. Scrubbing can irritate your baby's sensitive skin.
  • If diaper rash persists, change the type of wipes, diapers or soap you're using.

If these things don't work, talk to your doctor.

What about powder?

Doctors don’t recommend using talcum powder or cornstarch. Talcum powder can get in your baby's lungs. Cornstarch may make a diaper rash caused by a yeast infection worse.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 07/13
Created: 01/96

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