It's practically a parental rite of passage: opening your baby's diaper and seeing his sweet little bottom covered in red splotches. Welcome to the world of diaper rash. Before you start questioning your parenting skills (or running to the emergency room), remember that the rash is harmless if treated. Most babies get a diaper rash at some point, but won't continue to get it once they're toilet trained.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
When urine and stool are pressed against the skin, they break down its protective barrier, resulting in an angry-looking rash. Some untreated diaper rashes progress to yeast infections; yeast thrives in warm, moist, dark environments. Fortunately, a diaper rash is usually simple to prevent and treat.
- Change baby's diaper often (eight to 10 times a day is normal).
- Thoroughly clean and air-dry the diaper area at each changing. Sometimes sitting baby in a few inches of lukewarm water does the best job.
- Make sure that diapers aren't fastened too tightly.
- Use a barrier cream on baby's bottom to protect skin from urine and stool.
- Expose baby's bare bottom to air for some naked time whenever you can.
- If the rash is persistent, see your doctor. It could be a stubborn yeast infection that may require a medicated cream.
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