Diaper rash is a common problem for babies and toddlers who are not yet toilet trained. Diaper rash is defined as any red rash appearing on the area of skin normally covered by a diaper. If you notice that your baby is fussier than usual or crying at diaper changes, a rash may be the cause.
There is a myriad of reasons a diaper rash might occur and many of them look similar. Babies have sensitive skin that sometimes doesn't take well to scented diapers or wet wipes. This can be remedied by changing brands or asking your provider for a gentler suggestion. Excess moisture in the diaper from too infrequent changes can wreak havoc on a baby's skin, causing red, uncomfortable rashes. Sometimes rashes occur because of bacteria or fungus in the diaper area, most likely due to left behind fecal particles.
Treating diaper rash is usually fairly easy and most rashes should clear up in a matter of days. Once treated, it is recommended that caregivers help prevent future rashes by keeping the area dry and clean as much as possible.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the use of warm water to clean the diaper area during changes, should wet wipes not be enough. Creams or emollients can serve as a barrier between the skin and the diaper to prevent further chafing and to keep the skin dry in between changes.
Diapers should be changed every few hours and whenever they become soiled. Your child's provider will be able to tell you more if you notice a diaper rash that is persistent or not responding to frequent changes, good hygiene, and diaper creams. Oral medicines or medicated creams may be prescribed on a case-by-case basis. These steps should prevent more discomfort and make diaper changing time a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.