A diaper rash is a skin irritation under your baby’s diaper. The rash can be on the abdomen, genitals, and in the folds of the buttocks and thighs. Most babies develop a diaper rash at some time during infancy.
A diaper rash develops when your baby’s skin is irritated. Irritation can be caused by:
Factors that may increase your baby's risk of diaper rash include:
The main symptoms of diaper rash are bumps, redness, and scaly patches on the skin under the diaper. There may also be blister-like spots on the skin. Your baby may also be more fussy and irritable when the diaper is changed.
If the rash is not cared for, then it can become infected. It can become bright red with red bumps and blisters.
Symptoms of an infected rash may include:
Contact your doctor if your child has signs of an infected rash.
Most parents can recognize a diaper rash when they see it. A diaper rash doesn’t normally require a visit to the pediatrician.
Diaper rashes usually clear up in three or four days with the following treatment:
If the rash is severe, see your child's doctor. The doctor may suggest using a mild hydrocortisone cream to calm the skin if it is irritated. If the rash is yeast-related, then the doctor may recommend a medicated cream. Antibiotic ointments may be used for mild bacterial infections. These creams are available without prescription, but your pediatrician may want to discuss these options before starting treatment.
Severe infections may require oral antibiotics.
To help prevent diaper rash:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health
Diaper rash. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydocto... . Updated March 2010. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Diaper rash. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthy... . Updated November 8, 2012. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Diaper rash. Children's Physicians Network website. Available at: http://www.cpnonline.org/CRS/CRS/pa_diaperra_hhg.htm . Updated November 8, 2010. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Diaper rash. Nemours' Kidshealth.org website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/fungal/diaper_rash.html . Updated May 2011. Accessed May 13, 2013.
Kleigman RM, Jensen HB, Behrman RE, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 5/13/2013