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First Aid: Diaper Rash

First Aid

Diaper rash is a common skin condition in babies. Usually, the rash is due to irritation caused by the diaper and moisture, but it can have other causes not related to diapers.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Diaper Rash?

Irritant rashes are most common and are caused by skin contact with pee, poop, and sweat.

Signs of diaper rash include:

  • soreness
  • red bumps and larger red areas
  • peeling
  • scaly skin
  • fussiness

Rashes also can be caused by a skin infection due to or . If the rash is due to an infection, signs may include:

  • red bumps
  • blisters or open sores
  • pus-filled sores
  • fluid seeping from red areas

What to Do

  • Try to keep the skin dry.
  • Whenever possible, increase the amount of time your baby spends without a diaper.
  • With each diaper change, wash your baby's diaper region gently with warm water. Try to avoid soaps and baby wipes (these can irritate skin).
  • When your baby has diaper rash, use disposable diapers.
  • Use a diaper ointment or paste that contains zinc oxide with each diaper change.

Get Medical Care If:

  • the diaper rash doesn't get better after several days
  • there are pimples, blisters, or open sores in the diaper area
  • your baby has diarrhea with a fever or looks dehydrated

Think Prevention!

The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep your baby's skin as dry and clean as possible. Change diapers often so pee and poop won't irritate the skin.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: May 2018