Diaper Rash



Diaper Rash

Babies have very sensitive skin. The skin is susceptible to many types of irritation, not just diaper rash. Rashes and skin problems common in infancy include prickly heat, hives, eczema, allergic skin reactions and other skin conditions. Diaper rash refers to a number of conditions that cause irritation of the skin around the diaper area.

Diaper rash frequently results from prolonged contact of urine and stools against the baby's skin, especially at night. This type of diaper rash is common and does not necessarily mean you are not keeping your baby clean. Some infants are just more susceptible than others.

When this type of diaper rash develops, be careful about leaving your baby in wet, soiled diapers for extended periods. Don't use rubber pants since they can trap moisture and aggravate the problem.

Gently wash the area thoroughly after each diaper change. You can use disposable baby wipes. This will help prevent infection and remove excess waste material from the skin. Your doctor may recommend a mild skin cream, lotion, baby powder, diaper rash pads or ointment to help protect the irritated skin.

Be aware that another common cause of diaper rash is ammonia in the urine. Sometimes, washing diapers in the home does not remove all the ammonia- producing bacteria.

Your doctor will be able to recommend antiseptic that can be added to the wash to prevent the growth of the bacteria. Adding bleach to the laundry water can also prevent their growth.

The problem can also be eliminated by using disposable diapers or cloth diapers from a diaper service because these cloth diapers are sterilized to kill the bacteria.

If your baby's diaper rash becomes more irritated and infected (and it sometimes can), do not hesitate to contact your doctor for medical advice.

Other Rashes

Two common skin disorders you may encounter are cradle cap and impetigo.

Cradle cap is a common, mild skin disorder among young babies. The skin on the scalp becomes crusty and scaly and looks dirty. The condition usually subsides later in infancy. The best treatment is to wash the scalp regularly with soap and water. Also ask your doctor for advice. He or she may recommend a special shampoo to help treat this skin problem.

Impetigo is a condition that requires medical treatment. It is a bacterial infection of the skin which produces a small blister. When the blister breaks, fluid from the blister can spread the infection.

These skin changes are seen most commonly on the moist areas of the body such as the diaper area, under the arm, or around the groin.

Consult your doctor on how to treat the skin breaks and clean the baby's clothes and bed linens to prevent re-infection.

Which are better: cloth or disposable diapers?

This is largely a matter of personal preference. Improvements in the quality and fit of disposable diapers over the years, as well as their convenience in terms of easy use and disposal, helped make these diapers the overwhelming choice of new mothers. In recent years, however, with mounting awareness of environmental issues and concern about degradability of disposable diapers, cloth diapers have enjoyed renewed popularity. Several approaches to recycling disposable diapers are now being tested.

Are gender-specific diapers effective?

Gender-specific diapers feature a different placement of the more absorbent areas; that is, in the front where the largest amount of urine would be concentrated for boys; in the middle between the legs where the largest amount of urine would be concentrated for girls. This makes these diapers more effective.