Diaper rash can be caused by anything from your child’s own urine to a new food. Here are the main causes:
CAUSES OF DIAPER RASH
- Wetness: Even the most absorbent diaper leaves some moisture on your child’s skin. And when your child’s urine mixes with bacteria from his stool, it breaks down into ammonia, which can be very harsh on the skin. That’s why children with frequent bowel movements or diarrhea are more prone to diaper rash.
- Sensitivity: Your child’s diaper rash may be the result of his diaper rubbing against his skin, especially if he’s sensitive to chemicals, like the fragrances in a disposable diaper or the laundry detergent used to wash a cloth diaper. It could also be that a product you’re using during diaper changes irritates your child’s skin.
- New foods: Diaper rash is also common when your child first starts eating solid foods or tries a new food. Any new food changes the composition of the stool, but the acids in certain foods (such as strawberries and fruit juices) can be especially troublesome for some kids.
- Bacterial or yeast infection. When the diaper area is warm and moist, it’s easy for a bacterial or yeast infection to flourish there and cause a rash, especially in the cracks and folds of your child’s skin. (Thrush is a type of oral yeast infection. Some children with thrush develop a yeast infection in their diaper area, too.)Antibiotics. Children taking antibiotics (or children whose breastfeeding mothers are on antibiotics) sometimes get yeast infections because these drugs kill the healthy bacteria that keep yeast in check as well as the harmful bacteria that’s causing the illness. Antibiotics can also cause diarrhea, which can contribute to diaper rash.
WAYS TO TREAT DIAPER RASH
Take these steps to heal your child’s skin:
- Keep your child clean and dry by changing his diaper frequently. That may mean getting him up at night for a diaper change
- Rinse his diaper area well at each diaper change. Don’t use wipes that contain alcohol or fragrance.
- Pat your child’s skin dry. Don’t rub!
- Use Shea Butter (Ori),Vaseline(Blue Seal) that forms a barrier on the skin to protect your child’s irritated skin from stool and urine. Apply a layer that’s thick enough to last through a couple diaper changes.
- Put your child’s diaper on loosely, or use a diaper that’s a little big on him to allow for better air circulation. If you buy disposables, try a different brand to see if that helps.
- When the weather is warm and your child can play outside, leave his diaper off for as long as possible every day. Exposure to the air will speed healing.
- Consider letting your child sleep with a bare bottom whenever he has a rash. A plastic sheet under the cloth one helps protect the mattress.
- Clean your child’s genital area thoroughly with each diaper change.
- When your child starts eating solid foods, introduce one item at a time. Waiting a few days between each new food makes it easier to determine whether a sensitivity to a new food is causing diaper rash. If it is, eliminate that food for the time being.
- Breastfeed your child for as long as you can because diaper rash occurs less often in breastfed babies, although it isn’t completely clear why.
- If your child goes to daycare or preschool, make sure that her caregivers understand the importance of taking these precautions.