How to Prevent Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is something that happens from time to time to our little ones. We hope it doesn’t happen to ours, but it’s inevitable. More than likely, at some point your baby will develop one. Whether mild or not, they are bothersome. It can be caused from something as minor as the baby sitting in a wet or dirty diaper too long or from something more complex, such as allergies. Either way, parents will have to be on their toes and do some detective work to figure out why their baby is getting diaper rashes.

Change Dirty Diaper Immediately

First things first, when they have a dirty diaper, it needs to be changed immediately. As we all know, sometimes this isn’t possible, but we have to try our best to change them quickly. Disposable diapers are better for rashes than cloth diapers, as they are more absorbent. If your baby is on an antibiotic, they most certainly will get a diaper rash, so try to be more diligent at this time. Antibiotics make the baby’s stool looser and more irritating to the skin.

Diaper Free Time

Let your baby go without a diaper from time to time. This can be dangerous, but it is good to have fresh air on their skin. You can put a protective cream on their skin to prevent diaper rash. Zinc Oxide and Petroleum jelly are very protective. Using a tool, such as the SwipenSnap Diaper Cream Applicator is helpful since it is gentle on the skin. The less you irritate the area, the better. The protective cream will act as a barrier between the skin and the urine or stool. But it is essential to let the skin dry before applying the diaper cream, using the diaper to fan the skin is a great habit to get into.

Wash Your Hands Before Applying the Diaper Cream

To prevent a worse diaper rash Pediatricians Recommend washing your hands before applying diaper rash cream “clean your hands with a baby wipe or, even better, with soap and water, before applying diaper rash cream.” This is because the bacteria on your fingers get transferred on your babies skin, trapping the germs between the skin and diaper cream causing a worse diaper rash.

And they mean wash your hands RIGHT  after you are done wiping the diaper area. But this is often hard to do because it requires you to either let go of your baby (if you use a baby wipe) putting your baby at risk for falling or is extremely inconvenient to go to the sink in the middle of changing your baby. You can use a tool like a Diaper Rash Cream Applicator to apply the diaper cream.

Allergic Reaction?

If you notice that the diaper rash is extending outside of just the bottom area, it could be an allergic reaction to the diapers themselves or a detergent used on cloth diapers. Usually, the baby will have a rash or irritation elsewhere on the body if this is the case. Diaper wipes are very harsh and sometimes babies with sensitive skin will react to these. Trial and error works here, try a different brand or a sensitive type and see if the diaper rash goes away. Many times, nurses in the hospital will simply use water and a soft cloth instead of diaper wipes.

Heat Rash?

If you notice that your baby has a diaper rash along with a rash in other areas, such as the armpits, neck, etc. It could be a heat rash. If this is the case, watch for overdressing the baby. Many times, as new parents, we are afraid to let the baby outside without layering on all kinds of clothing. This can cause heat rashes and the diaper area is the prime target as there is very little ventilation. It could be that we have layered on clothes since the weather is cold, but when we go into a store, it is nice and warm, and we do not take any clothes off the baby. This could cause a heat rash.

If you feel your baby has sensitive skin, you should watch the soap you use in the bath. Many babies need sensitive skin formulas during their baths. The bottom is a sensitive area that needs to be watched carefully. If you notice reddened spots on the baby’s bottom, try switching your soap to the sensitive version or using just clean water on the bottom.

Yeast Infection?

If your baby has a diaper rash and it has lasted more than a couple of days of applying the ointment with every diaper change, you may suspect a yeast infection. Usually, the infected area is elevated and bright red. Upon close evaluation, you should be able to see raised pustules. This is what the doctor sees in order to diagnose.  A yeast infection can travel down the legs also. It likes to live in the creases between the genital area and legs. Many yeast infections in the diaper region start with thrush. The Pediatrician will more than likely prescribe an anti-fungal ointment for the baby. If there is a bacterial infection, possibly from lower intestines, then antibiotics may be prescribed.

Allergic Reaction?

Food allergies can definitely change the pH of the baby’s stool. This can definitely cause a diaper rash. There should be other signs though, such as wheezing, hives, swollen lips, etc. You should work with your Pediatrician to evaluate what could be causing your baby’s diaper rash. Especially if they are frequent or come with other symptoms, such as fever, blistering or if they are persistent and won’t go away.

Seems like the best piece of advice is to keep the diaper area clean and dry. Applying ointment after a bath is a great idea as it creates a barrier to protect the skin. Allowing your baby to go without a diaper and keep their skin open to air is beneficial for prevention and healing. The key is to simply be aware and act fast if you see one developing. It is easier to put out small fires than big ones.